Monday, September 8, 2008

More progress: imagine the excitement

Last night, after a month of sleeping on my back, I discovered that I am again able to roll onto my sides, either side, without serious discomfort.

Soon, said the blooger as he knocked on the compressed sawdust of his $40 American Furniture Warehouse desk, I'll be able to sleep as I always have. Tamar will be able to return to what we call "our" bed.

Think of it. Well, don't, but imagine me thinking of it.

I walked with the crutches again yesterday, maybe almost a half-mile. The rubber pads at the tops of the crutches chafe my rib cage on both sides, just below my armpits. I'm sharing this intimate detail with you because I know you care. You do care, right?

My hands get tired from the crutch handles, which as I did not know, support your weight as you move from place to place at dizzying speeds. While I am speeding down the sidewalks and across the ped-Xings, I am afraid of everything: passersby, dogs, traffic, uneven sidewalk slabs, sandy patches...

Every short walk is an adventure.

My left leg is still swollen but you can see a knee there. My left foot is fat, fat. My physical therapist says the swelling will remain until I can walk on the leg. It's the last to go, she says.

Thanks to a phone alert from my friend Aaron in Boulder, I watched the last miles of the US Pro Cycling Championships from Greenville, SC, yesterday. Tyler Hamilton won. I like and admire Tyler, who has probably strayed from what we'll call the Straight and Narrow and paid the price. He's back, entitled to race, and he's still the prince-of-a-guy he's always been. Bravo, Tyler!

During that race, one of the guys in the break crashed suddenly for no apparent reason. Perhaps he rolled a glued-on tubular tire off his rim. I couldn't watch the result. Too real. Too close.

I also watched the Superbike races (motorcycle road races) from Donington in England. The track was drenched by heavy rains all through practice and qualifying; many riders fell, one guy (a great rider) six times.

During the event, a racer's engine blew. The exhaust spewed oil mist all the way around the track. Lots of guys fell off on that oil. I had to look away from the screen.

I've never liked watching crashes but I just can't do it now. When I fell, I wasn't going 28mph like the poor guy who fell at the Pro Championships - or 80mph like the guys who fell at Donington. I hope the cyclist jumped right back up, sore but uninjured. The Superbike riders wear armor and leather; the slickness of the track and its design mitigate against serious injury.

You don't have to look deep between the lines here to realize that I'm good-'n'-spooked. When I ride in a car in city traffic I feel I'm in Hyperspace with Han and Chewbaca.

Just human nature, right? I'll get over it soon enough, right? If you have been in this fearful state of mind, please contribute a comment or send me an email. Your blogger, never brave, hates to feel he's the scared-iest cat ever...


Jon said...

Back in 1981, I crashed my motorcycle on the way to a weekend home from college. I had been riding, at that time, for 6 years and used my motorbike as my main transport (more easily done, year-round, in Tennessee than here in Denver).

I put the bike in the shed, at home, and didn't even drag it out to get it repaired until 6 months later.

I'm still riding, 28 years later, and took the Trident to Tennessee and back, a couple of months ago.

Give yourself some time to recover emotionally and psychologically, as well as physically. You'll be fine, I trust, before too long.

Anonymous said...

I swear we must be joined at the hip or some other appendage. I to have had a broken leg, among other injuries, and now, if I happen to watch any AFV of people doing stupid crashes, my whole body reacts at the moment of IMPACT. And I too just happened to catch the last two laps of the Pro race and saw that guy fall off of his bike for no apparent reason.

Weird eh?

Gross is when the cast comes off. You betcha.

bobby wally

B, J & Q said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B, J and Q said...

The scary thing is that you do lose the fear. I was sure after I crashed on my MTB at 30 plus and my friends found me wandering aimlessly in the woods I would never ride like that again. No such luck. That was before the time that I flew headfirst into a tree and suffered another concussion. I remember coming back from the hospital after being whacked on my motorcycle by a guy who ran a stop sign. I thought I would never again be able to ride. Each time I got back in the saddle. When you ride bikes and motos you will crash. It's just part of it. The good part of the whole gig is being able to get back out and remember why we do it in the first place. Simply because it makes us feel good. I don't know of one thing that makes us feel good that doesn't have its drawbacks. If you look at it over the long run it is a very big net positive. I know there is a ride in your future that will make you feel like you are on top of the world, if just for a fleeting moment.

September 9, 2008 6:09 AM

Nick said...

You are NOT the scarediest cat ever, really. I was in a train crash back in the 1970s and STILL, when I'm in a train and it jolts unexpectedly, I jump a mile high. (I did manage to get over my reluctance, post-crash, to get on a train at all after a couple of years though.)

Anonymous said...

Dear Maynard,
After I crashed/flipped/slid on W. Colfax going 20+ mph past Elway Toyota amidst 50+ mph traffic, it took months before I dared go down a hill faster than that. Used to love see how high I could get the numbers on my cycle computer, esp. on that steep descent on Rooney Rd. toward Colfax, and still slow down in time to make the turn at the bottom. But the next time I went down that hill, I clung to the brake levers, scanning the pavement for every little crack, pebble, or bit of debris that might trip me up. Don't give up. And don't kick yourself for being naturally cautious. The psyche wants us to live long enough to get back up and fly again. It'll come.

p.s. Glad your Bike Friday survived as well as it did! Mine says hi.


Will Handsfield said...

Nice to hear you are coming along. Take care of that leg, and thanks for the thoughtful post.