I woke up Sunday to a beautiful autumn morning. The SuperWife was sleeping in after working the 11 PM - 7 AM shift, so I decided to go out for a bike ride. I was only a mile out of town when the front tire started to go flat. I was just passing the town’s airport (which services mainly private planes and crop dusters), so I pulled into their driveway, and made a U-turn so I could see any cars pulling off the road while I changed the tube.
Just as I made my turn, the front tire started to roll off the rim, and SMACK! I hit the pavement. In the past, when I’ve fallen, I’ve had a little notice; time to clip out, prepare to land, or at least think “this is going to hurt.” Not this time. I didn’t even get my hands clear of the handlebars, so I landed on my left knuckles, left shoulder, and left hip.
So I lay there, bike between my legs, collecting myself. At the time, it seemed like just a few seconds, but come to think of it, I did watch someone pull out of their parking space and drive over to ask if I was OK. If that sounds like a dumb question, I had a dumb answer to match: “Sure, I’m fine. Just catching my breath.” They drove off, and it was time to get up. As I stood up (using my left leg, mind you), my left hip really started to hurt.
I walked the bike over to the edge of the pavement, and decided to call off the ride. I called the SuperWife (who was just waking up when I left), and asked her to come get me. By the time I had told her where I was, the pain had started to kick in. “Umm… Hon? I think I may have hurt myself here.” By the time she got there, I was thinking about the hospital. After trying to climb up in the truck, the hospital went from merely a good Idea to an obvious necessity.
It’s a rural hospital, and they don’t usually have a doctor in the building on Sunday morning, so I gave them a call to let them know I was on the way, and we stopped by the house to pick up a few things. Shoes, wallet, a pair of shorts, and, oh yes, round up the cats and put them inside. The two older cats came right in, but the kitten had other ideas. She invented a game that involved running back and forth in the hedges, just out of reach of an increasingly angry SuperWife, who finally grabbed a spray bottle and flushed her into the yard. By this time, the pain was starting to bug me, but my wife and kitten took my mind off it by demonstrating their respective tree climbing skills.
Cats and clothing collected, we went to the hospital, and got there about the same time as the doctor. After an examination and X-Rays, he told me I had fractured my pelvis, and probably a couple of ribs. The good news it’s a stable fracture, which means I don’t need surgery or a hospital stay. The bad news is that it’s going to hurt for quite a while, so Tylenol 3 will be my friend. It kind of sucks to hobble on crutches with damaged ribs, and the marathon in January is definitely out. There is some good news: I was in and out of the emergency room in less than an hour; my wife’s a Registered Nurse, and can keep an eye on me; and I don’t need to feel guilty about blowing off my ab crunches for the next several weeks.
I’d like to think there’s always something to be learned from a misadventure. So far, I’ve learned not to screw around with a flat front tire. I’ve realized it’s been years since I was proud of myself for putting on socks. And I’ve been reminded that gravity always wins.