Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Another head-banger….

…only this was harder than the last one. No cars in sight, I managed to wipe out all by myself at a speed of about three miles an hour. I was turning onto a curb cut at the end of a cul-de-sac along my very regular route to the gym. The only thing different was a patch of mud, or rotted leaves there, that my front tire slipped on. My head hit the slope of the concrete so hard, and made such a loud whack, that a passerby said she was about to call 911 the minute she heard it, she was so sure I wouldn’t be getting up.

Fortunately, these super nice people happened to be walking by just then and saw the whole thing. It helps so much to have another human being around when you’re a wreck. Mary and Laurel with two little girls Katerina and Elena walking home from school in their school uniforms just like the one I used to wear. They stood around with me for a good ten minutes offering all kinds of help – could they call someone for me, could they lend me their cell phone, could they walk me to where I was going, would I like some water, etc etc.

Like last time when I fell, people are very kind and concerned. And everybody seems to realize that just because a hurt person looks ok and says they are ok, it doesn’t necessarily mean they really are ok. Mary and Laurel really wanted to make sure. I appreciated that so much. It makes me feel like I live in a kind world -- which is a hopeful feeling given how much evidence there is to the contrary. I hope those kids will remember seeing this and always take care of their heads.

Yes, this is another commercial for helmets. Don’t think that just because you’re avoiding the busy streets you’re fine. Since 5:30 yesterday afternoon when this happened, I am periodically visited by the thought that I could very well be dead now. That smack was so hard that I couldn’t stop crying for about ten minutes. Way harder than the time I fell over from a standing position last year. I think it’s very possible that without the helmet it would have killed me. At least it would have seriously injured me, possibly to the point where Lindi might not have had the same Kate that she had before.

And let me just add this note to you people who are too footloose and fancyfree to be bothered by the possibility of an accident – and excuse me, I don’t usually sermonize, but -- If you can’t be sensible enough to think of your own life, think of the people that love you. Think about your partner, your mother or your sister your brother, etc ---which one of those people would you like to stick with the job of taking care of a head-injury victim for the rest of your days? If you can’t put a shell on your head for yourself, do it for them.

Grrrr. I’m starting to feel angry at people I see without helmets. And aside from the emotional toll, head injuries are very expensive financially to the whole community. Even people you don’t know pick up part of the tab in one way or another.

Today I have a slight recurring headache. I think I bruised my brain. It seems to be working properly, however. This is how it felt last time, and it went away after a few days. Ow. I hope nothing’s wrong. I need every single brain cell I have.

Tomorrow I will resume my report on Saturday’s cycling tour of Portland’s wells.



At 9:24 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

I've seen helmets save lives a few times. Look what's left of this helmet! My buddy still required surgery, but I think he may have died without his helmet. My wife knocked herself out last year, but again, it would have been a lot worse without the helmet.

I ran into a guy out riding a few weeks ago without a helmet. I suggested that he get a helmet if he was going to continue to ride the trails. He told me that no, you just needed to learn how to fall...use some judo moves. Argh! Fool... There have been very few times that I've crashed where I've had time to think about how I'd like to fall. I usually just lay there for a second and think, What the heck just happened?!? One second I'm riding, the next I'm on the ground looking up at the sky.

At 12:19 PM, Blogger kate gawf said...

Wow. Fool is the word. I'm so sure I had time to think "Uh-oh, I'm falling, quick, jump off the bike, get into a fetal position,and roll!"
In reality (where that guy obviously doesn't live), it's just as you described: Smack! followed by "How did THAT happen?"

I looked at your amazing pictures. Do they all go together? That must've been SOME accident! The one of the helmet in the grass? It reminds me of one of those shrines people set up at the site of a fatal crash. I hope that wasn't the case.
That one of the helmet in a million pieces is scaring me.

At 1:19 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

Those are all different accidents!

The helmet in the grass was a joke memorial my friends put up for me. I was adjusting my helmet with one hand off the bars, hit a rock, endo'd into a sticker bush. Sadly, I wasn't able to execute any judo moves. Thankfully I was traveling at under 10 mph... Man that hurt.

My other pictures on Flickr of people NOT crashing are better (in my opinion...)!


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