Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Blogging hurts

Cycling is an inherently dangerous activity.  Unless, of course, you elect to ride a recumbent tricycle - but that too comes with certain risks, like being on the receiving end of so much scorn and ridicule.  Alas, if you decide to perch your ass atop two skinny wheels and pedal around long enough, Newtonian physics will eventually make an example of you, or so I've been told by many a friend recently in various conciliatory tones.  And for whatever reason, whenever life wants to make an example out of me, it seems to be a requirement that it happen in front of as large a crowd as possible.  Such was the case last week as I was trying to ride to work.  Early Monday morning I was standing on the pedals darting across a busy intersection on my bike when fate played its fickle card and I suddenly ended up on my head and shoulder in the midst of rush-hour traffic.  My bike was inexplicably jerked out from underneath me, and both inertia and centripetal acceleration had their way with my body, and like an upside down catapult, I was slung onto the asphalt so fast that I didn't  realize what had happened.  Luckily, the woman driving the SUV behind me decided not to run over me, but rather got out of her car when she saw that I was not moving, and unceremoniously dragged me over to the sidewalk.  I looked up at her and said, "What happened?"  She replied, "You went over the handlebars - and we need to get you out of the intersection."  I tried to sit up by extending my arm to lift myself and felt my right shoulder crumple beneath me with an audible creak and a scraping sound I could feel more than hear.  I then became acutely aware that the dull numb feeling that had overtaken it was being replaced with a searing, hot pain.  I removed my helmet and noticed that it was dented on the outside, and cracked on the inside.  The woman in the business suit asked me if I needed for her to call 911 and must have interpreted my dry heaving as a "yes".  Just about that time, another SUV passed by the scene and honked its horn.  A pleasant looking older woman leaned out the window and yelled something to the effect of "It serves you right!"

Two hours, a trip to the ER in an ambulance on a backboard and some X-rays later, I had a diagnosis:
You see that space between those two bones?  That's not supposed to be there.

After reviewing my films, the ER doc came into my room and said "Good news - nothing is broken!"  Still flat on my back with a neck brace on, my teeth gnashed together with pain, I whispered, "I beg to differ."  He ignored me.  "We'll get you in a sling and you can get out of here!"  Hang on, I thought.  There is the small matter of me getting to wallow in my misery a bit longer, and also - shouldn't an orthopedist probably review these films?  "Do you want something for the pain?" he asked as he removed my neck brace and propped up the hospital bed, a little quicker than I would have preferred, which caused my shoulder to erupt in pain that flowed like molten lava from a crack in the earth across my chest and down my arm.  "Does the Pope shit in the woods?" I thought (I was still a little dazed).  But, in reality, all I could get out was a pathetic "Uh-huh."

I one-handed a text to a friend a little later in the day and told him of my official diagnosis; an AC separation.  He replied "Hey - you're just like Steve Tilford!"  Actually, I'm the very antithesis of Steve-effing-Tilford, I thought.  Yes, I too am old - but I'm slow, don't own a hippy van and cannot see myself racing my bike in three weeks.  Honestly, I'd be happy if I could just start wiping my ass again by then.  By the way, who knew that a task like that required so much skill and dexterity - but I promise you it does.  Go home tonight and try it with your non-dominant hand - I dare you. 

And just as the Tour de France is underway, and I should be at the pinnacle of cycling inspiration, I find myself riding the proverbial bench with a lot more comfort than my bike.  And there are lots of other things that hurt like hell as well.  Like blogging.  I cannot seem to position this arm in any possible way that affords any comfort - especially while trying to type.  And making my arms into little wings and trying to flap them back and forth would be completely out of the question:
Peter Sagan winning Sunday's Stage 1.  What the hell was this move, some kind of Slovakian chicken dance?  Cavendouche has got more than just losing sprint stages to worry about - I think someone is about to upstage him in the victory salute category as well.

I know what you are thinking and you are right.  It could have been a lot worse - and I am very lucky to be otherwise OK.  Cycling is inherently dangerous - and we take risks both riding and watching apparently, as I just read an incredibly well-reported story that a Tour de France spectator was hit by a publicity caravan car today, fracturing his leg:

"A spectator has been hit by a vehicle in the Tour de France publicity caravan, leaving him with a fractured leg...the spectator was taken to a hospital and has "one or several fractures."  The vehicle driver was not injured."

One or several fractures.  Could be just the one....or it could be a shit ton....or maybe it's just singular in nature....but then again, it could be a bunch.  Who the hell cares? I bet it hurts all the same.  Also important to note is that the driver is OK.  Isn't it amazing when a car runs over somebody how rarely the driver is hurt?  You'd think that in at least a handful of cases, if a 4000 pound car runs into a soft squishy human, that sometimes the car would suddenly ignite into flames and explode - right?  That certainly would have seemed fitting for the guy who hit Johnny Hoogerland in last year's Tour, anyway.

Before I sign off today to go take my afternoon dosage of legally prescribed narcotics and vodka chaser, I wanted to give a shout-out to a couple of COMO kids who raced well this past weekend in the Tour of Lawrence.  Big Tree Cycling's Edward Kim who won the Cat 4 circuit race on Saturday and Walt's Cycling's Lawrence Simonson who had a 13th place finish in Sunday's Pro/1/2 crit.  Good on ya' boys. 

Also - if the sweet lady who rescued me from the intersection last Monday morning, or any of the EMTs or hospital staff who took good care of me read this, thank you sincerely.  It's the first and only time I've ever had a shirt ripped (OK - maybe 'cut' with bandage scissors is more accurate) from my chest by a woman - and even though I wouldn't trade that part of the experience for the world, I hope I don't see any of you again anytime soon.


  1. Crazy stuff. Glad you're okay.

  2. Glad you are OK & back to the blorging. I thought the exact same thing re: the victory salute, btw.

  3. Dude! You have wires and shit in your chest. Are you bionic? Are those for a continous drip of Poe?

  4. Thanks kids....I'm not normal yet, but then again - never was.