Sunday, September 5, 2021

Gino Was In A Cycling Accident.. Again!

ECG in progress
This was yesterday. Gino needed an echocardiogram done after his accident. Let's rewind to the start of 4th September 2021.

Gino went for his usual Saturday bike ride with the CycleWorx group. They had completed about 60km when they were cycling along Nicholl Highway towards the city. The roads were empty and they were cycling on the left most lane. So it came as a shock when a motorcyclist rear ended him. Gino recalls that it all happened so quickly. He flew backwards and landed on his back. He got up to see his bicycle on top of the motorcycle and the motorcycle on top of the motorcyclist. His friends called for the ambulance and police.

I received a call from Gino at about 8am. It was words I'm not fond of hearing, "I've been in an accident." I've since learnt from his last cycling accident in 2013 that Gino has a high pain threshold and always says he's ok. When I asked him where it hurt and he said his upper back, I thought, "Oh man! Not his spine again!" He had sustained a fracture in his skull and lower back in 2013.

My dad drove me to the scene of the accident and I was relieved that the ambulance was still there. Gino was on his right side, strapped onto the gurney. He was inhaling painkillers and complaining of upper back pain. He also asked for his muesli bar that was squashed from the impact of the accident in the pocket of his jersey, which was ripped to shreds by the accident. We had to be transported to Tan Tock Seng Hospital. 

It was not a good experience there. Most of the nurses were great but the doctor who received us at Accident & Emergency was less than impressive. To cut a long story short, even after we repeatedly told her that Gino's pain was between thoracic spinal levels 3 to 6, the X-rays were done for the lower thoracic and lumbar spine. We were elated when the doctor reported that there were no fractures, and took her word for it. In hindsight, I'm questioning myself why I did not check the films! We were discharged from A&E and told we could go home. Gino was feeling less pain as he had been given meds.

I am grateful that our friend who I had called after the accident, who's a spine surgeon, called us as we were waiting for our Grab ride home. He was appalled that we had been discharged so quickly after a road traffic accident. He asked to see the X-rays again and only then did we realize that the upper thoracic spine levels had not been captured. We changed our destination to Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre.

As the effects of the meds started wearing off and after the thorough assessment done by Prof Hee, Gino stood up and exclaimed," Oh no! This feels like the same pain I had when I fractured my low back." I know Gino knows his body really well so we proceeded to get him admitted to be assessed more thoroughly with MRI and to be monitored. 

His MRI films showed a wedge compression fracture at thoracic spine level 4. Since it was at that level,  he had to have his heart assessed with an ECG and blood tests plus a CT scan to ensure that all his organs and vessels were not injured and also check that his ribs are intact.

Arrow shows the location of the fracture
CT scans of his thorax turned out to be clear. Phew! There were some abnormalities with his ECG readings so we have to follow up with a cardiologist. We are hoping that it was just the stress from the accident and that it will settle, but we will get his heart checked. 

The fracture in his spine will be treated conservatively, meaning no surgery as that particular thoracic level is well supported by his ribs and connective tissue. We will let the body heal itself. Gino cannot work and cycle for a few months. His surgeon advised him to maybe to stick to the park connectors or the gym when he can start cycling again. I don't know about that!

His ripped jersey

Happy after being told he can go home

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