Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Incident of Dec 25, 2008


It has been a month and ten days passed since the accident and I have not been recuperating that well. At my age I should expect the bones would heal a bit slower and longer still it has been a bit frustrating. The joke among my close friends is after years of crunching tackles and mauling (of course they are talking about rugby) I had to break my clavicle falling off a bicycle. They insisted they would pass the hat around to pay for my third wheels. But I told them it would be even worse going downhill with a third wheel. I have no regret as it could be something worse. Since then I have been a one-finger kung fu typist and typing a long blog about the accident was out of the question. But I have a persistent follower, my dear wife, and she has been bugging me to write this. I said to her, ‘I am in front of you now and will be at home for the next one month why would you want to read about it. In fact I have told you everything?’ She simply said ‘It is not the same as reading your thoughts’. So here it is.

Dec. 25 - FRIM, Kepong

I slept a bit late then the usual the night before but pretty sure I would be ok for the ride. I can’t remember the last time I was at FRIM at least 10 years. After loading the bike around 0715 I sped along the empty Seremban KL plus highway. I was driving really fast indicating that I was excited about the ride as it would be my first time there and I have been waiting for a long time for the day to come. At the same time a glimpse of jitter enveloped me for awhile only to be immediately opened by my eagerness to get there. I did not think much about it as I contributed it to just a small thing. Tracing back the day I realized now that was the first signal that I ignored.

Dr Taufik, Dr Azmi and Dr Azmi's son

Dr Tengku Mohammad with is son and daugther

I memorized the route the night before to enable my natural GPS to guide me through effortlessly to the gate of FRIM. I knew I was early, paid RM 6 at the gate and drive through. Remembering the instruction in the email I turned at the first left where the car park was. Although the car park was almost empty I was pretty sure that was the place. I started straight away to gear myself properly and unloaded the Trek (bike). Dr Azmi was the first to arrived after me followed by Dr Taufik and eventually our group started to materialize. All together, including two of our guides who came late, there were 17 of us.

The inadequate ride for the day

The starting point

At around 0845 after the usual photography session we rolled off with a stretch of a small climb on a tarmac. There was a bit of discussion before we rolled off. We were told we would be riding about 6.5 km before we reached the base of Steroid Hill. The track to Steroid Hill would be a clear path with a decent climb and downhill that everyone should not have problem with. At Steroid Hill which is a steep climb those that would not want to tackle it can wait at the base to wait for the rest to come around. I was game for anything at the time after being told my tyre would do fine. The first phase was actually a nice easy riding in FRIM itself to the Tea House. The second phase is off road just after the tea house which was a wonderful narrow land rover track. This is where we met with several other groups. It was really enjoyable cycling under the canopy of the forest. Although not that virgin anymore it was still nice. Furthermore cycling with a lot of oxygen around you would make enjoy it a little bit more. I thought we should do more of this cycling in the future. I nailed the climb quiet easily, despite an insistence cyclist behind me yelling I had a flat which I was not, and just let go going downhill. I was a kid again for a moment. That was why when we reached the base of the Steroid Hill I was raring to go. Which was another big mistake of the day for me. I ignored all the signals.

Bicycle talk before roll off. Col Azudin, Dr Azmi, Won and Dr Azmi's son hidden at the back

Abedib getting ready

The Happy Bunch

Looking at it from the base I was confident that I could do it even with my road tyres. It was there in front of me to be conquered and I was not about to leave without at least having a go at it. My ego took over and off I went following the rest up Steroid Hill. Halfway through I knew my tyres could not take it so I pushed the bike up at certain places especially at the slippery area. That was another signal that I ignored. I was with the last group going up that include Col Azudin, Dr Tengku Mohammad and his daughter. I paced myself so that I was not that far from others. The rest waited for us at the peak and we had a short rest. I was sweating a lot at that point and eager to move on going down. At that point I realized Dr Tengku and his daughter were not in the group. They may have decided not to continue with the climb. Had I have my rational brain that day I would do the same. But I was stubborn.

Small issue with bike during phase 2

Down there, where a lot of cyclist waiting, is the base of Steroid Hill

Almost at the peak of Steroid Hill

The view at the peak

One of our guides went first followed by Dr Taufik and I was third. Behind me were Won and Alif. The moment we went down we knew it was slippery and because I did not know the terrain I chose a wrong path and could not get out of it. It became really slippery and Dr Taufik in front of me decided to get down and push the bike. Seeing that I did the same and we got on the bike again after that. I realized too late that it was a wrong decision for me and I glided down in the middle of the path with a lot of pot holes. In trying to maneuver myself down and thinking whether my tyres would hold or not. I suddenly skidded into a short drain like holes and I reacted by jamming my brakes which was a mistake. I knew then I would roll downhill. In order to avoid that, with the awareness of my camera in my rucksack on my back, I decided to flip and roll of my bike so ha I would not smash my back on my camera but I was too late. I also misjudged the terrain of the ground where I was supposed to fall. I fell on my left side of my upper body. All I could remember was having difficulty breathing and got up so that I could release the tension on my left rib. Immediately my brain was saying that I have broken few of my rib bones. I was standing when I called for my friends to assist me and Col Azudin was the first to arrive and asked me to lie down. Eventually my breathing came back to normal and I did not feel that I had broken anything. So I was relaxed a bit and not worried. Amazingly while laying down my thought went to my conversation with Dr Tengku Mohammad before we rolled off. He asked me, looking I have my Nikon slung around my shoulder, if anything happened what would you save first – yourself, camera or bicycle. I smiled for a while thinking about it. I actually wanted to save all the three but succeeded in the other two. At this point Col Azudin started to check my joints and declared that nothing has broken and I agreed with him as I did not feel any pain, accept for my bruised rib, at all. Obviously the team did a quick thinking on how to get me down but I was one lucky guy. Among our group I have three medical doctors and they came ready with the necessary medicines and stuff. Secondly, at that point in time a FRIM land rover came along. The driver agreed to take me down firstly to the base of Steroid Hill for me to be looked at by Dr Tengku Mohammad and then down to where we parked. When we reached at the base when he looked at me straight away Dr Tengku said I broke my left clavicle. Of course I did not know what clavicle was so I took it as my collar bone. Dr Tengku gave me three small pain killers, courtesy of Dr Azmi, to ease the pain. Yes by then it was painful to move my left arm. Alone in the land rover with my Trek at the back the driver drove me down.

At the parking lot Dr Tengku checked on me again and asked me where I wanted to go. He was sure I broke my clavicle but would want to find out whether I broke my rib as well. The first thing we need to do is to get to the hospital with x-ray facility. The nearest was Sg Buloh or if I could hold on Putrajaya Hospital. Or any of my panel hospitals. Dr Tengku asked me to think and decide. By that time the pain killers I took started to kick in and feeling I could stand it and for the obvious reason I decided to go to Putrajaya Hospital. My friends packed my Trek in the Ranger and Dr Tengku took the helm of the Ranger to drive me to Putrajaya Hospital.

Dr Taufik arrived shortly after we arrived at the Emergency Clinic of Putrajaya Hospital. He helped me down and wheeled me in to register. Having two medical doctors with me, one a very experience GP, made things really easy at the hospital. Even in emergency getting a fast service at Putrajaya Hospital could be a challenge but not that day. In fact later on I really felt embarrassed having two doctors pushing me around in a wheel chair. The first stop is the doctor’s room and as usual the young doctor asked me the usual questions. Then Dr Tengku cut sort the proceeding by informing the young doctor that I broke my left clavicle. With that the doctor sent me out to the x-ray theater. Both Dr Taufik and Dr Tengku accompanied me through out the process. Of course the x-ray showed a broken clavicle and it was a clean break. The doctor then contacted the orthopedic on duty to have further check if I need anything special attention. Two of them, young as well, came down to look at me. After prodding and asking for a while they satisfied that it was only my left clavicle needed mending. They explained to me what I already knew, prescribed me panadol, pain killers and asked me to come back on Jan 21, 2009 for check-up. A while before this Col Azudin came to join us at Hospital Putrajaya and he told me that he was left behind by everyone at FRIM because his car battery was drained as he forgot to turn off his fog light. Lucky for him somebody there helped to jumpstart his car.

Dr Tengku taking for x-ray

Ready to go home. Thanks to the pain killers I was standing and walking. Dr Taufik, me, my son Ghazi and Col Azudin

That was about it and I was given an MC until Jan 21, 2009 to stay at home to recuperate. What have I learned from this mishap?

1. Don’t be a fool
2. Don’t’ be stupid
3. Make sure my bike is suitable for the terrain and condition
4. Listen and take notice of all the signals around me.

So, 80 % of this mishap was due to my stupidity.

So, now should I,

1. Buy an entirely new Trek or Bianchi, or
2. Upgrade my Trek?

Hey! I heard that! No, not a road bike.


Anonymous said...

So, now should I,

1. Buy an entirely new Trek or Bianchi, or
2. Upgrade my Trek?

Hey! I heard that! No, not a road bike..."

Oish!! As if you heard me!! LOL!!

Ghaz said...

i did I did LOL