Waiting around

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Bike Accident

Well, for the second time since being a medical student, I have become a patient. I decided that I should go out for a bike ride this afternoon. The weather wasn't all that great, that is to say, it pretty much rained all day. But some rain usually doesn't stop me from heading out to put some miles down. I headed out on these trails Custis and the W&OD.

I should have known that I should have stayed in for the day, as within the first couple of miles, I ended up flatting twice. I have not gotten a flat tire in awhile, and then I got 2 just as I was starting out. Luckily, I was right by a bike store. So I stopped in there, got a new tire and was on my way. I biked for awhile -- went about 45 minutes out (somewhere around 15 miles) and turned around. I always bike with glasses on -- days like today, they are used more for protection as I had my clear lenses in.

I was roughly 2-4 miles from my house and my glasses had just gotten too foggy and too wet so I couldn't see out of them. So I took them off and put them in my jersey pocket. At some point during this process (this is where it starts to get hazy) I realized that I was going too fast for the hairpin turn that was coming up. I put on my brakes as fast as would safely allow -- so I would not skid and would not endo (fly over my handlebars). However, because it was wet, the brakes had some trouble catching and I could not stop. Normally, this wouldn't be too much trouble as I would just end up in some bushes or whatever. However, this curve had a nice concrete wall around the outside.

This is where it all gets really fuzzy. What I remember is hitting the wall and have the stars show (you know, like from cartoons) and I also kind of remember being up against the wall letting out a groan or two. Not really sure. Along with my forehead, my nose hit and I think I tried to catch it a little with my left hand. I say this, because those are the parts of my body that hurt now. I do remember one of the lenses from my glasses popping out and I remember hearing it bounce on the pavement. I very vaguely remember checking my front tire to make sure it was ok. And then the scary part. I definitely biked the rest of the way home. And I do not remember this at all. Like. At. All. Nothing.

I eventually made it back to my place and stopped in the middle of the road where I started fumbling with my phone. From here, there is a lot of hearsay. I called Tim, and he said that I left him a message and he could tell something was wrong (Tim: "You said something like 'Hey Tim, what's going on. Call me back. I don't know what day it is or what time it is' "). I then called Brian (Brian: "You said 'Hey, it's Wait, give me a call back' ")). A woman from my complex came up to as she was walking her dog and asked if I needed some help. I'm not sure what I said. But she could tell that I was in some sort of distress. I gave her my phone and told her to try Tim and she got a hold of him. Unfortunately Tim was in Denver (as opposed to around the corner... which is where he lives here.) He ended up getting in touch with Brian, who then came over and helped me through the rest of the afternoon. Michelle was nice enough to sit with me in my apartment as I tried to sort through everything. She asked me questions that I really didn't know the answer to "What'd you do yesterday? What time did you leave on your ride? What did you eat this morning?" And I am sure lots more questions. When Brian came, he did a quick neuro check (good thing we are med students) and I didn't have a blown pupil and the pupillary reflexes were normal.

We went first to the urgent care facility. (I was pretty out of it at this point, but my memory has started to return). The doctor there told me that because I lost consciousness and had short term memory loss, that I needed to go to the hospital to get a CT scan. We then went off to the ER where I got a CT of my head, and an X-Ray of my hand (that hurt a lot too). Long story short is that I had a concussion and a couple cuts on my face, one of the bones in my wrist hurts really bad, and as of now, I just have a pretty bad headache, and my nose hurts.

As for the bike, it seems ok -- I can't really see anything wrong with it. My helmet on the other hand, well I can say with about 95% certainty that it saved my life. I can't ever wear it again as it is now cracked in 3 different places (see picture... red lines indicate where all of the cracks are. The two in the front of the helmet actually connect and it's a loose piece), but I am very happy that I wear a helmet whenever I ride. This hopefully goes to show how important helmets are while biking (especially when it's raining, you're going around a curve too fast, and there's a concrete wall in front of you).

So just a thanks to Giro for making a helmet that can withstand a head on collision with a concrete wall. And to Michelle and her dog Agnus who called Tim and then stayed with me until Brian came. And to Tim for getting in touch with Brian. And last, but certainly not least, Brian and Ronit who took me off to the Urgent Care Center and the ER after that.

still waiting,
-wait

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