The accident (2)
The impact when I hit the ground was like nothing I've ever felt before. And I took the whole impact on the edge of my right hand and the top of my head. The last metacarpal bone (those are the long thin bones extending from the knuckles to the wrist -- in this case, from the little finger to the wrist) snapped in the middle. If I hadn't been wearing a helmet, I'd undoubtedly have had a skull fracture as well, and perhaps worse.
The funny thing is, I didn't realize right away how bad it was. I simply got up, got back on the bike, and rode the rest of the way to work -- almost four miles. The doctor told me the pain from a broken bone often doesn't really start up for several hours. Only later, when I realized how swollen and painful the hand was, did I go to the emergency room and learn that the bone was broken.
As it was, last Wednesday (eight days after the accident), I woke up at 3:00 AM with a severe headache. It later receded enough for me to post in honor of the only religious holiday I could ever recognize, but came back in full force after I got to work. Recalling the blow to the head, I went back to the emergency room, in case there was some damage that hadn't previously been apparent. The doctors did a CT scan (yep, that's me up at the top of this posting) and pronounced me free from any brain or skull damage -- so in a way the headache was a blessing in disguise, since I now know for sure that there is no such injury. They said that the headache was "post-concussion syndrome", which basically means I'm likely to get headaches like that occasionally for the next six months or so. Unpleasant, but not dangerous.
The headache took over a day to go away. Typing is still slow and laborious and often needs to be done with the left hand alone, and you wouldn't believe how many everyday things are maddeningly difficult to do one-handed. They told me it takes six weeks for this type of hand injury to recover completely. Four weeks to go.
But the important thing is, if you ride a bike, wear a helmet. This would have been far, far worse if I'd been without one.