Monday, June 25, 2007

Metacarpal Contusion Syndrome

So I went mountain biking for the second time this year at Crop Circles, a fun little network of trails south of Seattle. It was raining hard. One of the great things about mountain biking in the Northwest is that mud doesn't stick to your tires and gum up your bike. The one problem with rain on this particular trail is that the bush branches get wet and sag out over the trail, so I was drenched within the first ten minutes of the ride. Still, riding in the slick conditions makes the trail more challenging and lets me work on one of my favorite moves -- the Root Slide Out (RSO). When you're riding up and around a tree in the rain, you know that a slanted root is going to cause your bike wheel to slide, but if you anticipate it and have faith in Newtonian physics, you can shift your weight and pedal hard as your bike seems to whip around magically.

About halfway through the ride, I lifted my front wheel over a root while riding up a hill, but the wheel got stuck between two roots, causing me to do an quick endo over the handlebars. My hands hurt afterwards, but I thought little of it and kept riding. A couple hours later, when I was in the grocery store buying all the things that Wendy didn't want me to buy, I noticed that my left hand was suddenly throbbing with pain. (I know "throbbing with pain" is hackneyed, but you can't just say "throbbing" because that's too harlequin. In fact, my hand throbbed so much that my breast was heaving.) When I tried to pick up a grocery bag, it felt like something snapped in my hand, and I got nauseous. Oh no. I've had a broken hand before, and I quickly did the math. A broken hand takes 6 weeks to heal . . . Leadville is, let's see, 7 weeks away . . . carry the 1 . . . I can still do it.

I dropped off the groceries at home and headed over to the emergency room, where they took x-rays. There were two problems with my emergency room experience: (1) they began treatment immediately, leaving me no time to watch videos on my iPod, and (2) they told me that my hand was not in fact broken. Insult to non-injury, they gave me a handout that told me how to treat my contusion, which can be summarized as "Shake it off." I left the hospital as quickly as I could, holding on to my hand tenderly, as if it had been insulted, and called Wendy.

"What did the doctor say?" she asked.

"It looks like I have Metacarpal Contusion Syndrome. The good news is that for MCS, I don't even need a cast."