A Bump In The Road
It happened suddenly. It happened on a beautiful day. It happened while I had a fabulous tailwind. It happened while I was singing loudly. I crashed on my road bike during a lunchtime training ride. I don’t remember the crash and I hope I never do. The result was a broken collarbone and a concussion. From the witnesses that pulled over, I’m told I flew over my handlebars but stayed in my clips the entire time. I broke my fall with my elbow and my head. With barely any scrapes or bruises I checked each body part. I lifted each leg, rotated each foot, moved my head up and down and side to side. First I moved my left arm, internal and external rotation, supination, pronation.. then my right arm. The internal and external rotation was ok I lifted my arm and couldn’t move it. F*%!!!!! I knew I had broken my collarbone. I remember the good samaritans who stopped and my riding partner caring for me. I wanted to get back on my bike. I wanted to finish this glorious ride. A stranger, Anthony Mitchell, put my bike in his truck and drove me to the emergency room. My riding partner booked it to the ER on her bike and we both arrived at the same time.
I went from relatively no pain to excruciating pain, shaking, and nausea within minutes of being taken to the hospital. My examination wasn’t that detailed, I suspect it was because I had an obvious broken bone. Soon I was given warm blankets and even warmer narcotics via IV. I remember vacillating back and forth from funny jokes and crying. Being a divorced, 41 year old, single mother, my parents are my “in case of emergency”. My riding partner and dear friend (#lifepartner) was there with me and my parents were on the way. An intense dichotomy of emotion consumed me. I was all alone, no one to care for me, yet here was my support system, ready and happily coming to my aid. I was given more pain medicine, a sling, and an ortho consult. My mom and dad put me in the car and took me home. There I was, broken clavicle, head throbbing, smelling very homeless from the work out prior to the fall, alone. Pain comes in physical and emotional states and I couldn’t do anything for mine. My ex-husband brought over ice packs and milk when he dropped off the kids. I laid on the couch, arm in a sling, trying not to vomit as the world kept moving regardless of my misery. Then I thought of the movie Misery, and I drifted off to sleep.
The Little Things
I am 11 days post break and I am healing. The first few days were very rough, Physically, I was dealing with a concussion, extreme pain, nausea, and constipation. Every move had to be mentally planned out, decided upon, courage mustered, and activated. Just to pee, get more ice, rinse a cup, seemed to take a Roman Gladiator-like amount of energy and will. I have graduated to regular daily showers this week, but I can’t reach my right armpit with deodorant. Each day I examine my body. My belly is swollen and I’m still very puffy. New aches and pains surfaced the second and third day. It’s clear I hit my pubic bone very hard on the stem of my bike. My knees remain swollen and sore but I know know why. My right hamstring is black and very tender. I’ve been healing quickly over the last 11 days. I can feel my collarbone grind and shift when I move too quickly. These are the little things. I can count on my break healing. I can count on my bruises fading. I can count on my fear of riding a bike again easing.
Since this event, my village has helped me whether I want it or not. Good friends and acquaintances have brought over groceries, taken me on field trips, treated me to a pedicure, to lunch, to rides. Countless people check in on me daily. My clients have been great and helped me raise a month’s worth of expenses in just 48 hours. My teammates have reached out with stories of their war wounds and encouragement. My children have been amazing. They are doing the laundry, walking the dog, cooking food and even fluffing my pillows and covering my feet when they get cold. I cannot change the the timeline. This will take 6 weeks to heal. I have all the time in the world right now to be mindful and thankful. I only broke one bone. I can still walk, talk, and think. My greater goal, the Leadville race, is still there. This is just a break.