Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Series of Unfortunate Firsts

Yesterday's trip home was a series of firsts which I wish I had never had to experience.

The first was pretty decent - I was averaging over 16 miles an hour on my bicycle, riding home from the shuttle stop to my apartment - about 12-14 miles depending on the route I take. In fact I was feeling so good I decided to take the longer route.

Then the bad stuff started happening.

Due to some miscalculation - a moment of distraction, whatever it was, my bar ends on my handlebars just clipped one of those (silly my thinking goes right now) metal bars that they put on bicycle lanes to stop cars driving down them (is this *really* a problem?). Anyway, combined with a pretty high speed (above the 16 mph I was averaging - at least that's my guess), I went down fast and hard.

Then another first, I have been winded before, but not like this. I could feel my heart pounding but was totally unable to draw breath, I remember being quite calm wondering what would happen next since I couldn't draw breath.

What happened next was that I passed out. This truly is a first - I have never passed out before - I thought there might have been a couple of times I had, but nope - this was definitely something new.

Waking up (or coming to) was actually quite a nice experience. At first I was just in bed, all comfy, thinking I could sleep for a bit longer, but then it occurred to me that something was wrong. For one thing, my bed doesn't have grass or asphalt in it, then I realized that some things were hurting pretty bad - mainly my shoulder and my side.

I called Jackie to come and meet me, and with a combination of walking and cycling, made it to the road. On the way, I had what I thought was the worst attack of hay fever ever (certainly it felt like hay fever times 10). I think it must have been something else because by the time Jackie reached me, my eyes (and much of my face) had swollen to the point where I could only barely see out of one eye.

Then another first - I voluntarily went to the ER. I don't like hospitals much, and I have never been for an ER visit (at least not as an adult - I think there might have been a couple of times as a kid with my parents). In fact, if Jackie hadn't of suggested it, I would have, because on top of the allergic reaction which was causing me to have trouble seeing, my shoulder and side were really hurting.

Another first - we always make a point to scope out the local hospitals when we go and live in a new place, but for some reason we hadn't done it yet since our move to California. Finding the closest hospital was a bit interesting.

When we got to the ER, they saw us pretty much immediately. I think it was the allergic reaction that did it (it's such an obviously visible thing). This was followed by my first CT scan (My head had some scratches, and when they learned I had passed out, they just did it). I then had 14 X-rays as well - by this time the doc had told me I had almost certainly fractured a rib or two - he had felt it in his examination.

So - I guess after years of paying (or at least part-paying) medical insurance and being pretty healthy - yesterday I cashed in a lot of those chips.

I was counting myself lucky it wasn't much worse. The diagnosis was 2 fractured ribs and a separated shoulder, plus numerous abrasions and a head hematoma (fancy word for bruise). No casts, and the bike is actually in pretty decent shape too. My laptop made it, the laptop bag is another matter though - it's a little the worse for wear.

Anyway - the Doc said no work for a day, and no driving for the rest of the week, longer if my arm gives any pain when I try to drive. I have so much medication in my body right now that I don't even feel like myself - I rarely even take aspirin, right now I am on stuff to prevent swelling and muscle relaxants, high powered pain killers and strong anti-histamines (my eyes are still a little swollen even 24 hours later). No one seemed able to come up with a reason why I got the allergic reaction but speculated that I may have been bitten or stung while passed out.

Upshot is I am a little wiser today - getting the average speed up above 16mph (on a mountain bike mind :-) ) seems a lot less important than 24 hours ago. I can live with being slow and together rather than fast and broken. Ahh well - no real harm done. I will have a reminder for a few weeks about what happens when you are stupid on a bicycle, and then hopefully will be back to normal. That will give me enough time to fix the few things wrong with the bike now, and maybe take it in for an overdue tuneup.

And does anyone know if those damn metal posts really are necessary?


Jeremy Norris said...

Sorry to hear about your accident. Please get well soon!

- happy JavaPosse listener.

Aspi said...

Hi Dick.

Really sorry to hear about your accident but glad to hear that you'll be OK. Hope you feel better soon!

Craig Aspinall.
(Another happy JavaPosse listener!)

ElmerFud said...

Wow Dick!

Glad you're ok. Yea, I'm wondering if those metal posts are really needed.

Ron Dupree

M Easter said...

That's a rough Java headline:

public void bicycle() throws RiderException;

Just curious: were you wearing a helmet? It is hard to tell from the text.

As yet another JavaPosse fan, I certainly hope so. If not, we are going to take up a collection and buy you one.

Get better soon...
Michael Easter

Dianne Marsh said...

Yowza, Dick! That's terrible.

I'm glad you're OK.

Allergic reaction, eh? Weird! Bitten or stung while passed out? Do you have any idea how long you were out?

Get a new helmet if you haven't already. Once you "deploy" it, you need to replace it, even if there's no visible damage, and even if you don't think you hit your head.


Alex X Zhang said...

Glad you are OK, Dick.

About those metal posts, I do think they are needed. At least they keep cars out. You cannot rely on regulations all the time.

I am working in Buckhead Atlanta, I wish I can bike to work too.

Get well soon and keep spining.

Todd Costella said...

Glad to hear you're ok Dick. Having woken up in the hospital after a fall from my bike, I can relate. Funny you made out like a champ snowboarding in CB and were taken out on your bike.

Take care and I hope the convalescing goes well.