Saturday, July 4, 2009
In some respects it wasn't as fabulous as the crashes some of my friends have experienced. I didn't fracture my pelvis, I didn't hop back up and win a race, I didn't end up with a broken collar bone or severe facial laceration, I don't have tons of painful road rash (all badges of honor once you've been there). I hadn't actually had a crash since 1995.
This one WAS a good one in it's own way, though.
We were about 30 miles in. It was around 12:30. We'd come from Maplewood, through Kirkwood, up Ballas to Clayton, to 109.
I remember crossing the tracks at Long Road, just off Wild Horse Creek. Tim was in front of me. Todd and Phil were further ahead, nearing the light to head into Ghisallo. I noticed a car, truck I think, behind me. Then I lost control, swerved like Joseba Beloki and POW, my rear tire blew off the rim. I vaguely remember a thought, "I'm gonna go down." I think I relaxed a little.
The next clear memory I have is in the ER at St Johns. A nurse is x-raying my wrist. I remember feeling really well rested, like I'd just taken a good nap. I don't remember too much pain.
There are pieces of memory....Asking Tim to look for my sunglasses lens (which likely cut me on my forehead), the blood running down the side of my face, a nice man talking to me, what I think was the EMT's strapping me into the gurney to go in the Ambulance.
I pieced together some more information later:
Apparently (according to Tim), I was able to get up after the crash. The man who was talking to me was a veterinarian, who was in a truck behind me. He stopped traffic, helped me up and I sat on the tailgate of his truck. He and Tim stopped the blood with Tim's glove and then some gauze he had in his truck. A women behind them called 911 - twice (I am not sure why she called twice). The ambulance arrived, while Tim was calling Michelle to have her meet us. I answered all the questions clearly, gave my name, spelled it and told them what happened. The EMTs were ready to let me go, to get to the Hospital with Michelle/Tim, until they asked me one more time..."What happened?" and I suddenly had no idea....
At this point, they loaded me up in the ambulance. Tim headed down to Ghisallo to tell Phil what happened. He tried to get Phil and Todd's attention after the accident but the traffic, wind and distance prevented them from hearing Tim's yells. Tim caught up with them and Phil came out to the road, just in time to see the ambulance going by. He attempted to flag them down but they were already taking me away and didn't stop for him. He ended up getting a ride to St. John's from Jim Valentine. Meanwhile, the nice Veterinarian had brought my bike to Ghisallo. Tim and Michelle took Todd and our bikes to St John's, got the key to our house, dropped off bikes, Todd and picked up clothing and Phil's car. They even moved my car around in the driveway. Tim and Michelle drove back to St. John's.
During that time, I was starting to become more alert, aware. Starting to realize how little I remembered up to that point. Apparently, I was asking a lot of questions, repeatedly. "Did I hit a bump?" "Is my bike ok?" "Is my helmet ok?" "Was I being nice to everyone?" Phil later told me how concerned he was by the repeated questions, but the Doc wasn't so concerned. Turns out this is common for a concussion.
I do remember having to pee and using the pop out toilet in the room. I also kind of remember getting an IV, but totally not being concerned about it (but thinking I SHOULD BE, as I am quite afraid of needles).
I had a Head CT (I remember going into the machine) and it was fine. The xray of my wrist was fine. They stitched up my head laceration, with only three (big, ugly, black) stitches. After monitoring me for a while, I was released around 4:30 or 5pm.
It amazes me how long it took for me to clear. I continue to ask Phil some of the same questions, but am remembering better when I last asked it and what his response was.
My hand/wrist is very sore and a large ugly bruise is forming. I have a small wound on the bottom of my palm. I have road rash in strange places - the TOPS of my knees, My Right Hip and waist and the inside of my right arm (crook of my elbow). My left arm is sore, apparently from the Tetanus shot I don't remember getting (but Phil assures me that I did).
I had a lot of dried blood in my hair. It was difficult to tell where the stitches were at first. My head is pretty sore, just above the laceration and my neck is very stiff and sore on the left side. My Hub Bib shorts were fine - just a little bit of scuff from the road but no holes or anything. My jersey has just a couple of spots of blood on it. My gloves are intact but have some tears and blood. My (BRAND NEW) Catlike helmet did it's job. It has a small area where the Styrofoam is smashed, right were my head hit the pavement. There's a good amount of blood on the straps near there and on the padding inside. The bike has a blown tube, which blew the tire off the rim, but otherwise it's fine. The hoods were pushed inward on both sides (?) but easily straightened out.
All in all, I am pretty lucky. It could have been much worse. The helmet I waited so long for was there to do what I needed it to do.
It's still a little frightening for me, when I think about how much stuff happened, that I was present and conscious for but don't remember at all. Phil has been so very patient and loving with me, allowing me to process in my own way and own time. He's encouraged me to get on the spin bike/trainer and been a little parental with me when I tried to say that I thought I could ride again before the Doc cleared me to (I can ride again on Wednesday, at the earliest).
I owe a HUGE amount of thanks to Tim, Michelle, Todd, the Vet, Jim Valentine, The EMT's, and all of the others who were there to help, call 911 or say silent prayers. And of course to Phil, for his continued love, support and nurturance, both when I am injured and well.