Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Biff

Scuff from impact
"The Biff" happened August 18th, 2013...I've written about it in small detail here: Night Riders Biffing It Vol. 2

It was a Sunday evening and I was feeling antsy; looking out the window at work and seeing the sunlight of the day drift away. I was feeling frustrated, I wanted to go out and ride a bit after work, however it would be dark soon and Travis didn’t want me out on the loop alone.

 I had sent him a couple text messages lamenting my lack of ride opportunity. Eventually Travis mentioned that a mutual friend of ours wanted to go out and do some street riding-I could come along if I wished.

I hurried home to feed my cats and change my clothes, I would have to ride to the shop and then to Travis’ where the bike I’d ride was kept. I was excited! I was pretty much fully recovered from my bike accident two weeks prior, my ribs weren’t hurting so much, so I felt like poking around on the city streets wouldn’t bother a bit. Plus? I’d get a bonus night at Travis’ place and that was always a treat (we were living at our own apartments at the time.)

I remember leaving Travis’ apartment and following the two over to the basketball court.  There is an angled lip to the court as it’s filled with water during the winter to make an ice skating rink. The lip (if you go fast) can launch you up vs. just straight out. You want to pull up on your handlebars so you land on both tires equally or back tire first. I usually went at this lip very slowly when riding my commuter bike and simply “bump bumped” it. This night I was on an adrenaline high, feeling excited and jubilant over my outing. Travis and our friend rode at the lip hard and fast, launching themselves off and landing perfectly on the other side. I wanted to feel that rush, have that small “air” and feeling of success. I was laughing as I rode behind them, I came to the lip of the court and my launch soon turned into calamity.

So many flesh wounds. I have a strong chin.
I do not remember much other than a feeling of my front tire hitting the pavement hard, I think I flew-but all I can remember is a thud of sorts. A feeling of my body hitting concrete, hearing Travis yell out my name in panic, and vaguely getting to my knees. “Is she bleeding?” “Yup.” “Hold your chin here.” 

Our friend stayed with me while Travis got on his bike and rode as fast as he could to the shop. I remember asking our friend if my teeth were okay.
(That was also the first question I asked after my first bike accident.)
I remember my gloved hand holding my chin, I remember various other details but they are completely foggy and surreal. Two women had been sitting at a park bench (I think) and had come over to see if I was okay. I remember Travis’ truck tires squealing on the pavement of the basketball court, I somewhat remember getting into the truck. After that it’s all a blur.

We were going to go to Urgent Care, under other circumstances I would’ve been in a panic over how much this trip would cost. (I'd get an X-ray, various shots, CAT scan, stitches, etc.)
Travis stopped by my apartment to get my insurance card (which I could, apparently, tell him where it was.)

Type O-...wasted.
I do not remember entering the hospital. I do not remember signing papers. I do not remember sitting on a hospital bed or being asked questions. Thank goodness I do not remember being stitched up-because I know I would’ve had a numbing shot in the wound and that is never fun. (I’ve had stitches once before, with much less trauma.) I don't remember sending a text to my co-worker, informing that we'd visit so he could see I was alive, and I don't remember going home. 

I woke up in bed feeling sore, stiff, and achy; mass confusion swirling in my head. I remember asking Travis if I had been in an accident, he said “Yes.” I asked “Another one?!” and again “Yes.” Then my brain started acting funny. I kept thinking that this was the aftermath of my first accident; I couldn’t have possibly biffed it again.



It turned out that I had a concussion, tho I’ve never experienced a concussion before in my life-it was enough to freak me out. I started doing things very repetitively, like looking at my phone. While in bed I kept flipping my phone open to read the text messages that had been sent, shutting it, putting it down, and then picking it up to read the text messages again. I was trying to get pathways to reconnect. To remember. It was futile.
I eventually went to sleep, after answering questions Travis asked (who I was, who he was, where I was at, names of people, the president, and the year.)

I had to come to terms with my face.
Healing process sucked sometimes.
The next day I was still in shock over my face and how ugly I felt I was. My wounds were shiny and I looked like I had been in one hell of a fight. You can’t win against concrete. At one point during the day, before we went out into the “real world” to get me adapted to having people see me, I bawled. Tears pooled in the pocket that my bandage made on my chin. It was humbling to be out in public looking that way-I’m not completely stuck on my looks, but I felt very self-conscious.

It was hard for me to maintain conversation; as soon as I spoke I’d forget almost instantly what I just said. I could feel my brain trying so hard to not repeat and keep a flow going, which was impossible the first few days. A concussion also makes you feel exhausted a lot easier than normal, for someone who rarely naps-I took a lot of naps.

Eventually I got to go to work for two hours later in the week, and I worried that I forgot everything. Thankfully I hadn’t and I was happy to stop after my allotted time, knowing that when I came back for my shift that Sunday I would be okay.

When you have a concussion it’s recommended to not ride a bike for two weeks. I’ll say that the first week went by quickly, how could it not? I was in a haze for at least 3 days of that week, but the second week had me feeling frustrated. I went out a few hours early and rode on Saturday rather than waiting to ride to work that Sunday. I was excited, I felt liberated, and it was probably the most bike drunk I felt in months. Never take for granted your ability to ride.

Happy Day! No more stitches!
What exactly happened with my accident-no one really knows. Travis looked back in time to see my chin hit the pavement, so it’s all educated guesses. I will say that I do not ride without a helmet, and that I feel that helmets are a good thing. I biffed it on something I had ridden before, but my lack of attention and poor timing with bike handling resulted in my accident. The helmet had a visor screwed in, so it wouldn’t easily pop off. That likely helped me keep my teeth, tho it’s surprising I didn’t break my jaw. All I can say is that I’m really lucky-it could’ve been so much worse.

Give yourself enough time to heal; looking back I could’ve taken a few more days off work (besides my week) as I had to battle exhaustion for awhile after. When you can…get back on the bike. I felt nervous when I first started to pedal away, but a few moments later I felt comfortable again. It gave me the boost and reassurance I needed-I can do this!

I love riding my bike(s) too much to let an accident take it away from me. A huge thank you to my friends and loved ones for helping me out during those weeks, for lifting my spirits and keeping me motivated to keep riding!

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