Serious Mishap in Mallorca (Part Two)
The story continues of Sophie's latest trip away to Mallorca
I always find it hard getting started again after a pit stop, but I drink in the views across the mountains for some motivation.
We're not far on our descent from the cliff tops when we reach a tunnel. I've already ridden through it on my way up, and found it a huge adrenaline rush. It's 300m long and there's no lights. You can see the end throughout passing through it until you get right in the middle, where it becomes pretty much pitch black. I'm descending this time and picking up speed easily. That rush comes back and as I enter I'm looking forward to the sunlight streaming out onto me at the other end. Then I lose control and I'm on the floor. There's no slow-moving, there's no grapple. I'm down. I absolutely **** myself. I'm in the middle of a black tunnel lying on the floor. I can't see my bike. I can't see my arms.
I push myself up and start shouting for help, I can't see if anyone is there but I need to let them know I'm hurt, in the middle of the tunnel.
I back up against the wall in case a car is behind me, still shouting, now through thick tears. Out of nowhere a woman shouts back "We can see you, we saw the crash. We're coming." there's three female riders, one walks me out of the tunnel, one stops the traffic from ploughing into all of us and one picks up my bike.
There's blood now on my jersey and dripping from my right hand which is really painful, my Physio instinct has kicked in and I'm supporting my left arm at the elbow with my hand across my chest. I remember thinking that I'd probably broken my left clavicle. These girls walk me out of the tunnel and prop me up lying on the road side. Just as I explain I'm with a group, the tail rider; Bruce stops and rushes to help. There's a few jokes in between tears as I get them to pause my Strava recording, and then arrangements are made between all the riders to send for help as there's no signal on mine or Bruce's phone.
And then there's the wait, more than a dozen riders and cars stop to see if we need help, jackets are donated and one driver pulls over to give me a foil blanket. I'm grateful for anything for the long, cold, anxious wait for the ambulance.
I'm taken to a private hospital on Alcudia, and after much too-ing and frowing with my travel insurance details (being relaid by boyfriend who got the shock of his life back in the UK mid Tesco shop!).
The two nurses caring for me decide to remove the ring on my right ring finger which is swollen up and now more painful than my clavicle. The nurses tell me if they can't take it off they will cut it off. There's huge sentimental attachment associated with this ring, and I have to say the next 10 minutes are some of the most painful I thought I'd ever experienced.
X-rays and a chest CT confirm a fractured clavicle and fracture along the Base of my right ring finger (thank you nurses!)
The wounds on my right hand needs sutures and this part is without doubt the worst pain I have experienced. It feels like the procedure takes forever and I go from strong deep breaths, tight lipped to unashamedly curling tight up into a ball crying for my mum as they finish the last stitches. The only relief is that one nurse who is with me starts to cry too halfway through the stitching.
The doctors suggestion is to stay for clavicle repair surgery over the next 2 days - problem is I am due back home on a flight the following day. I mull it over lying on a gurney in the corridor. I know some top shoulder surgeons in the UK and despite having a brilliant translator (once the hospital knew I was insured I'll add!) I didn't feel safe in another country and knowing I'd be left alone as the rest of the team fly back to the UK. I eventually sign a self Self Discharge form and hobble out of the hospital wearing a pair of slippers, tri suit shorts (they cut the top part off for investigations) and a hospital gown wrapped tightly around me. What a state!
I need help with everything for the next 24 hours as my left arm is in a sling, and my right is in a cast, leaving only my thumb free. The team are superb throughout check-in, sadly our plane is delayed and once we finally board I think there may be a small miracle when I'm given an emergency exit seat with a lot of space. The stewardess looks me up and down and says "You need to be able to open that door to sit here, so we need to find you and other seat."
I can't wait to get back to the UK and a few days later I'm in front of a consultant discussing surgery vs conservatory management - being a physio I'm trialling rehab first, and if not enough improvement in 4 weeks will have the clavicle surgery.
I'm lucky the accident wasn't worse, particularly with the location and speed I was going. It's given me a good level of perspective, and a respect for my job, and every medical professionals who has helped me on the road to recovery. Here's to some good rehab!