"The Triumph of Hope Over Experience"
Samuel Johnson once said a second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience. The same could be said about cyclists who get back on the bike after major accidents.
I suffered a serious biking injury in April 2011. I was about 100 feet from my house beginning a short commute to work when a neighbor's pit bull spotted me. Bella and I were on friendly terms, so I didn't think much of it when I saw her running toward me from a side street. I got ready for the customary dog chase out of my neighborhood.
Bella didn't want to chase that morning, though. She charged at me from the side and just kept coming, straight into my path. I t-boned her at 14 mph. I hit the pavement hard on my right side.
After I hit the deck, I tried to get up but couldn't. I was splayed on the pavement in the middle of my street within sight of my house. After all those rides to the 'back of beyond', my first serious accident took place just out my front door.
I fumbled around and dug out my cell phone. I called my wife and told her I had been a bike bump up and needed "a little help." I called my office and told them I'd be late. I had no clue how hurt I was.
Meanwhile, Bella stood over me barking to beat the band. Soon several other neighborhood dogs joined in. A neighbor walking his dog came up, dispersed the rabble of dogs and waited with me until my wife arrived. She took one look at me and said, "You have won yourself an ambulance ride to Wilkes Regional Medical Center."
After several scans, I learned there was more to my mishap than a broken clavicle and a little road rash. I had broken my acetabulum, the pelvic socket. It's a rare injury, and it takes a rare surgeon to repair it. Dr. Steven Anderson, our local orthopedist, sent me on to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
Baptist has a ton of accomplished orthopedists, but none of them wanted to touch my case either. "You need Dr. Carroll," they all said. I didn't know this Dr. Carroll, but quickly decided to put all my faith in him.
Unfortunately, Dr. Eben Carroll was on vacation in the Turks and Caicos when I got hurt. I spent the better part of a week doped up in a hospital bed waiting for him to return.
The wait was worth it. Dr. Carroll is a brilliant surgeon and the reconstructive surgery was successful.
After three months in a wheelchair, I graduated to a walker, then a cane, before starting to hobble around unsupported. I will never take my mobility for granted again.
During my convalesence, a lot of people visited and called, offering unsolicited advice with their well wishes. "You won't be back on a bike again, will you?" the sensible folks who didn't know me well opined.
Those who knew me best asked the question a different way. "You will be able to ride again, won't you?" My sister Chris gave me a book written by the first woman to ride her bike up the Amazon valley, and my biking buddy Steve Britton lent me Barbara Savage's tale of her adventuresome round-the-world bike tour.
By Labor Day, I was back on the bike, playing in the street again. Riding a stationary bike had been part of my rehab, and regaining what little cycling form I had before the accident was surprisingly easy.
Now I'm riding regularly and dreaming of epic cycling treks. I'm sure I'd be "safer" if I had decided to stay off the bike, but a life worth living entails risk. Sometimes hope has to triumph over experience.
Posted by blueridgebiking
at 11:58 AM EST