Saturday, November 21, 2009

Wear your helmet EVERY TIME YOU RIDE

On Tuesday afternoon I went for a refreshing bike ride near my house. Somehow or another, I got clotheslined on a dog's leash as I rode down a dirt path. I flew off my bike at a high rate of speed, landing square on my head. Several hours later, I came to in the ER of the local hospital babbling and repeatedly asking my wife Liz the same handful of questions over and over. Angela was at horseback riding during my misadventure, and ended up staying the night at our neighbor's house and we're tapping our network of friends to get her delivered to and from her many activities.

Physically, I'm kind of a wreck, my head, knee, shoulders, elbow and neck hurt. Mentally, I'm foggy, talking slow, tired, unable to focus on much, can't take much screen time, and overall kind of slow.

Years ago I decided to always wear a bike helmet. I had a bunch of bad spills as a teenager, but that seemed to stop around the time I started wearing a helmet. This was my first big spill since my reckless youth, and probably worse than any I had as a kid.

On Tuesday, I hopped on my bike, helmet on, probably with music going through my headphones, wearing a favorite hoodie and red jacket. Behind the seat I've got a blinky LED array to help my rearward visibility.

Through (probably) no fault of my own, I hit the dog's leash at full speed down hill. The bike stopped, but my body took flight. I ragdolled on the trail where I was peeled off the ground by my neighbor, the EMT. I assume the other end of the leash held the woman who called 911. I bet her arm hurts pretty bad.

Most of the whole day of Tuesday is gone from my memory. Wednesday was a wash, as we waited until after 6pm for the last consult. Thursday went to three doctors' visits that I couldn't drive myself to. Friday held only one dr visit, but I needed rides to and from. This week I missed three days of work, and next week looks like a washout as well. Substitute plans just aren't the same for the students as having me in the classroom.

This has been an enormous disruption, and there is plenty left on the plate. What I would ask of you, my bike riding friends, is to keep this in mind every time you get on a bike, skateboard, set of skis, snowboard or experimental homebrew vehicle. You don't know what will happen to you as you ride, and you cannot control how you will land. Even with a helmet, your life can become amazingly complex in less time than you an say 'look out!'

At the risk of coming off preachy, let me just say:

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