Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Lights out

When really weird, sudden shit happens one quite often is left piecing it together after the fact. Such was the case last night. It was a regular commute home. Andy and I planned to stop off for some conversation over a coffee. Wrex and Johnny happened to be leaving at the same time. We all rode together alternately pushing the pace and making good time. Wrex peeled off to make a date for a ride to Matt's at 35th and Cedar with some other friends for a Jucy Lucy. The three of us kept riding toward Minnehaha Pkwy. At this point I knew Andy and I were heading to Bryant Ave and intended to go west on Minne to Lake Harriet. As we shouted goodbye to Johnny, Andy thought we were heading east. When I glanced back left (and was on an imminent crash course with Andy's rear wheel) I knew it was too late to avert disaster. The last thing I uttered was 'Uh oh' as I catapulted over the left side of my bike. I tucked for a roll and then I was out.

Apparently I was out for about 4 minutes. Andy and Johnny told me I had a seizure -- jerking arms and legs and frothing at the mouth. A bystander called 911. The sound of the siren woke me as the wagon pulled up to do the things that emergency personnel do so well. I don't think I have ever taken a ride in an ambulance. That all changed as they raced me toward HCMC trauma center in downtown Mpls. On the way they asked me ridiculously absurb questions, e.g. "Do you know where you live?" Of course I do, you dumbshits. But I couldn't remember my address and the more I tried the more it hurt like trying to neatly slide a knife into a belt sheath but instead repeatedly shoving it into your surrounding flesh and thinking somehow that's where it must belong.

At the hospital the biggest disappointment of the evening came as they told me they'd have to cut my new Dirt Rag wool jersey off of me. Before I could even argue the eager tech had mutilated it in jagged patterns a punk rocker couldn't emulate. A CT scan, 5 x-rays and multiple needle sticks later (including a fresh tetanus shot) I would be told I was basically okay. I was admitted around 7:30 and discharged at 11:30. My fear was that I'd re-herniate my C5/C6 disc injury from several years ago, but that didn't happen. I did however sustain a serious concussion. I also appear to have landed on my lumbar as the pain from that area and the already huge hematoma above my butt crack were the worst bodily complaints I had. I had escaped any lacerations or rash but still clocked my noggin pretty darned good.

Johnny and Andy ghost rode my bike home the remaining three miles. Now those are friends for you. When I got back and surveyed the damage I was expecting the worst. My bike looked basically untouched. My helmet however showed evidence of a pile driver into the pavement with the back of my skull. The stabilizer strap across the back base of the skull exploded and the helmet split right up the middle nearly to its halfway point. Helmet #2 for the year.

Today sucked. I got plenty of supportive calls from friends and a basket of flowers from Q. But all day I slept and hobbled around for snacks and slept some more. My brains felt like a consumme this morning; they're more like chowder this evening but I'm still addled. I couldn't remember the dial number for the Current radio station just 20 minutes ago. So a couple days off are in order. Let's hope my professors understand.

A stupid accident? Maybe. But to people who fancy themselves capable, seasoned riders aren't most accidents stupid? Wear a helmet, seriously. Maybe you are just the sort who never hits your head. Well, if you're able to retain perfect technique through every spill, more power to you. But chances are sooner or later physics will get the better of your ego and a caretaker might be wiping your ass for the rest of your life.


Snakebite said...

Wow, bummer. Are you going to post and pics of the carnaged helmet?

cvo said...

man, that totaly sucks, but I'm glad your ok.

it could have been way worse, snapped wrist, broken collerbone.

hell I broke my leg last year just walking along and fallin on my bike..

and I gotta agree with ya. I wear my helmet all the time.. ( I've slipped a few times riding to work at the bar ... 7 blocks away...

get yourself a nice lid, and you'll always wana wear it.

see ya in shit... 16 days dude

Andy said...