Well, it’s been a bit of a busy summer. So much so, that I’ve been neglecting my space here for a bit. I’ve been keeping up with MarcEdit updates and primarily notify folks of updates through the new auto update tool, but other than that – I’ve gotten behind. Lots of reasons. Some of it work (a little grant work, etc.), some of it travel (ALA and MarcEdit workshops) and some of it personal. I’ve been meaning to write something about the SkyRiver/OCLC business but haven’t had an opportunity to put the fingers to the keyboard. I’ve also been meaning to post some MarcEdit content (because of some installer changes), as well as start fleshing out an idea for a paper I’m writing. But it has all languished.
So what’s been up with me. Well, let’s start with the biggie since many, most may have heard about it. May 28th (memorial day weekend no less), I was involved in a car versus bike accident near the OSU campus. The driver, a student, misjudged how fast I ride through town and cut across the road trying to make a corner. My riding partner and I saw the car wasn’t going to clear the turn without running us over, so we did the one thing cyclist hate to do, and that’s bail off the bike. Now, bailing off of one’s bike at 20+ mph is never desirable except in the most dire of circumstances, and in this case, it was dire. Had we not gotten off our bikes, I’m certain we would have been creamed by the car. As it was, bailing off the bikes allowed the car to pass inches in front of us.
Now, I’d like to say that we walked away unscathed, however, that wasn’t the case. My riding partner’s bike got a bit trashed, broke one of his toes, but otherwise, came out dandy. I on the other hand, got pitched forward so I came off the front of my bike. I landed on my right side, knocking me unconscious (I’m told because I don’t remember) for ~5 minutes and causing me to land awkwardly on my right arm. When I came to, I was in the middle of the road and knew that I had to get out of it, so I dragged myself off the street. Honestly, I didn’t know that I’d broken my arm. The first thing I did was flex it. It didn’t hurt, but felt a bit gravelly and asleep. I on the other hand, was a bit woozy with very blurry vision so I went to the side of the road and had a seat. My riding partner and the student that cut us off was having an animated discussion somewhere nearby me (though I honestly don’t remember much of that) and I noticed my arm getting stiff.
While there wasn’t any witnesses to the accident, a number of people saw me in the road and called 911. Within a few minutes, paramedics arrived and started checking me out. I have nothing but good things to say about the Corvallis fire department and ambulance service. They were great, made me feel at ease and even helped to brunt the pain of having my nice, New Zealand wool bike jersey cut off of my so that they could see the bone sticking out of my arm (and the blood, lots of it).
At the hospital, I saw lots of doctors, had lots of shots and antibiotics and had my first surgery. It was a simple one (as those things go) – to clean out the debris and make sure I didn’t get an infection. They wanted to set the bone, but I’d done such a thorough job breaking it that only two orthopedic surgeons, trauma surgeons, were capable of doing the work at the hospital. (I was fortune though that they could do it in Corvallis. There are really only a handful of surgeons in the state that could have done the reconstruction).
My surgeon is a young guy, funny and easy to talk to. He’s also a bit of a fibber. Somehow, my 3 hr surgery ballooned to 6 hrs in real time, though, truth be told, I was glad I didn’t know I’d have to be under so long. I wasn’t thrilled about the 3 hr surgery. I kept having nightmares of waking up without my right arm. That, and the nagging feeling that once this was done, I’d be slightly disabled…unable to be active in the same way as before.
Anyway, all said and done, I had 4 titanium rods, ~25-30 screws, some wire and one drill bit (which broke off during surgery). They had to surgically break my elbow in one more place (4 breaks in all) to fit the rods into my arm.
Because they had to use so much titanium, I was fortunate never to have to be in a hard caste (which I was expecting). This meant that I was able to start physical therapy 4 days after surgery and enjoy a long (somewhat uncomfortable) vacation from work while I took some time to heal. However, got some great pictures. This one is probably the most expensive picture now in my scrapbook (and lord, is it expensive. Thank goodness for insurance.)
It will be 3 months from my surgery on Sept. 4th, though I have a set of x-rays coming up in late August to make sure things are healing well. Personally, I’d like to believe that they are. I’ve never felt any pain (a blessing) and have regained almost all of my range of motion. Now, I’m just waiting for my doctor to release me to ride my bike again and start light weight training to rebuild the mangled muscles in my right arm (primarily my triceps).
In the middle of this, I found time to attend ALA and give 3 talks in DC, take my wife on a well deserved trip to New York and do lots, and lots of hiking. Actually, I should step back. The accident will likely end up being a good thing for me. I’ve never had to depend on someone else to do things for me. I’m an active guy, in relatively good shape – so the past 3 months have been a very humbling experience while I’ve had to step back and face my physical limits while I let these bones reset and heal. My wife has been my rock through this. She has been patient when I maybe haven’t been, she’s been understanding when I’ve sometimes gotten down because I wasn’t healing as fast I’d like to and she’s stepped up and with a quiet grace and made sure that everything in the house has gotten taken care of. I certainly owe her big time. Hopefully, in the grand scheme of things, the scales will balance, but she’s made the last 3 months fun. In fact, while on the one hand I wasn’t thrilled with my extended vacation from work, on the other, it was some of the best times I’ve ever had. I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with my sons (just out of school) and my wife and enjoy family time together. Because of this (my inability to go riding), I’ve taken to hiking every weekend, which has meant that we have been travelling the state as a family finding new trails to hike and new sites to see. So, while I would have loved to have not gotten hurt this summer, its also been an odd sort of blessing in disguise.
So what else have I been up to? Well, there has been a good deal of travel. As I mentioned, I travelled to ALA in DC to give a few talks, then took a train to New York with my wife to spend a few days checking out the city. Got to watch a Yankee’s game, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, etc. It was a lot of fun…and hot. Oh, and saw the Broadway production Memphis. It was a surprise, but it was fantastic. As a family, we’ve travelled all over Oregon. I’ve been to Seattle and Los Angeles and have trips coming up to Texas (twice), Boston and Chicago in the coming months.
Additionally, I’ve been working on a few projects at work. The library currently has two LSTA funded projects that are making use of LibraryFind. This means that I have been working on both changes to the project for the grant, as well as trying to integrate some changes and move the project to GitHub for a community forming around the application in France (I believe). Likewise, I’ve been spending time evaluating data preservation solutions for the library and hope to officially have the Libraries involved in the MetaArchive Cooperative. There are a few other things percolating, but those are the biggies. Well, that and MarcEdit which I continue to develop in my off hours. Obviously, my time spent on the program has been somewhat limited while I’ve been healing, but I have been able to institute some significant changes over the summer. Some of the biggest being around Unicode processing (which I need to mention in a later post) as well as the installer (making it more enterprise friendly).
Well, that’s it. I’m thinking that over the next few weeks, I’m going to try and start getting into the habit of getting something posted at least once a week. It will be good for me – especially as I’m working out a few paper ideas, but I guess we’ll see how much time I have.