Nothing is a Given (*)

(*)  Guest post written by Friar’s Mom (who I’m pleased to say is recovering quite nicely after a serious accident a month ago)

***********************************

We go through the daily routines of our lives and take so many things for granted.

I left my home on June 13, at 8:30, on a warm sunny Saturday. I put my bike and cycling gear in the back of my CRV. I drove about 40k to a remote start where I met up with 18 friends for a 120k bike ride. The group was quite large so we split into two packs–the fast guys and the lesser fast guys. After 70 kilometers, both groups stopped for lunch at a small-town restaurant.

We refueled with country food, had a pit stop, refilled our water bottles, and headed back to where we parked our cars. Two cyclists ventured off in another direction, so we decided to amalgamate the two groups into one pack. The stronger cyclists could pull us back. I looked forward to a social evening with friends at the annual K of C (Knights of Columbus) Steak BarBQ.

Twenty kilometers from the finish, we came to a stop sign. The stronger cyclists accelerated to cross the highway. I was towards the back of the pack and pedaled hard to catch up to them. Phew, I made it, we were together once again.

I saw the grey rear wheel of the bike ahead of me. I didn’t want to put my brakes on because the person behind could cycle into me and I would cause a crash. I made a conscious effort to stop pedaling and steered my bike slightly to the left of the wheel ahead of me.

That’s the last I remember until I came to in the Trauma Ward of the hospital, and the nurse asked me what drugs I was allergic to.

I had not caused a bike pile up. Those behind me said I suddenly fell off my bike and lay on my left side across the yellow line of the highway. I must have hit a pot hole. I was unconscious. I was bleeding severely from my nose into my mouth. I had numerous scraped bloody areas on my face, nose, knees.

My friends called 911. Deadly silence spread over my cycling buddies who thought I might die. The local fire department and ambulance appeared quickly. Since I was unconscious, the medics called a helicopter to get me to Emerge ASAP. There was concern about a possible neck injury.

Info about the accident spread like wildfire. The entire farm community came out in droves to gawk at the accident, take photos, and watch the helicopter take off.

I needed stitches in my left eyebrow. I had broken my left pelvis in three places, fractured the base of my right thumb. I did not fracture my skull although my helmet was cracked in 11 places, but I had bleeding in three areas of my brain.

Nothing is a given.  My summer plans are put on hold.

No more cycling, no Time Trials, no trip to Lake Placid to watch the Ironman, no 10-day cycling holiday in Vermont, no gardening, no busy days playing with my grandchildren, no family dinners, no fishing with Friar.

I’m presently in a wheelchair at a Neurological Rehab Centre.  My brain and body are mending slowly. My broken pelvis needs to heal before I can weight bare on my left leg.

***********************************

Post-Scritpt (by Friar)

Back on the May long weekend, Friar’s Mom asked me at the last minute to come visit.   Maybe we could go fishing.

I said:  “Why not?  Who knows when we’ll both be available next?”

Mom came over, and we had a great time.

Looking back now, I’m so glad we went when we did.

Nothing is given.   Indeed.

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13 Comments on “Nothing is a Given (*)”


  1. I’m so glad you’re healing. Take advantage of being off your feet for awhile and get caught up with all those letters and phone calls you’ve been meaning to get at.

    This sounds very familiar. My hubby was hit by another cyclist on a designated bike path in Montreal last summer. He broke his shoulder and had several places with pretty bad road rash. His shoulder required 2 surgeries to put back into shape. The bike needed $300 of repairs and a new helmet was purchased. His summer was mostly spent on painkillers.

    Now he’s telling me he wants to go to parachute school. I might tie him to the house. Nothing is a given.

  2. steph Says:

    Friar’s mom: Phew, am I happy to read you here! I admit I was thinking, okay, she sounds coherent and lucid and she’s doing okay! My worst fears were your head injuries, and I’m so glad you sound very much on the mend. I feel how impatient you must be, but I just read today about finding the bliss in every situation. Perhaps this situation teaches you more than simply (though importantly) that nothing is a given, or that every moment is precious, but also that rebuilding, reflecting, repairing, rethinking, and rejuvenating are crucial. In a way, you’ve been given more than the obvious gift!

  3. Brett Legree Says:

    Friar mentioned to me last night that you had written a guest post.

    The way you tell your story is very powerful.

    Indeed, nothing is a given.

    So we should probably make sure that whatever we are doing at any given moment will benefit those we love and care about deeply, or that there is something in it for us.

    What I mean to say by example is, have a look at so many people giving their lives to corporations while neglecting their families and themselves.

    My boss passed away suddenly a few months ago. He had been talking fondly about taking a month’s vacation, to visit friends and see his daughter graduate from university.

    The day he was to leave for his trip, he came into work anyway (one more meeting to sneak in!), and then left complaining of heartburn.

    He didn’t make it through the night.

    Fast forward to today, and it’s like he was never here.

    No one talks about him, no one asks how his widow is doing or his daughter.

    Oh, and he didn’t have to be here. He was old enough to have taken early retirement, but figured he’d go at 55 because that was only two years away.

    Nothing is a given.

  4. Kelly Says:

    Friar’s Mom,

    Wow, I feel for you all over again. You wrote this very powerfully. I never get a tissue alert when I need one here!

    I am so glad that you are getting there, slowly but surely, and this post reminds me of something else—I’m a huge admirer of yours because I get the feeling you’ve known all along that nothing is a given.

    It seems this couldn’t be a wake-up call—more like a reminder—for someone who already lives boldly.

    I wish you strength and the best of luck in your recovery.

    Regards,

    Kelly

  5. Tipper-Dawg Says:

    Friar’s Mom, now I know why you’re not at home these days! Thanks for writing your post. I like to follow Friar’s post. He sure sounds a lot like my favourite person in the world.

    I like visiting you in the rehab center. When I go with Jebber, I show her how to get to your room. I pull her through the front door, then into the magic box with a sliding door that takes us to a different place. Then I pull her straight to your room. I get so excited to see you that I can’t help wiggle and squirm with delight. That’s a pretty cool chair you have with black disks that you can roll around on. That other contraption with a platform for your arms and wheels at the bottom puzzles me though. You are so nice to it … you take it out for walks but it seems completely thankless. I like it when you walk with me.

    15-2, 15-4, 15-6 and 2 is 8. I haven’t figured out what kind of nonsense you and Jebber are into. I don’t bother with you two at that point, I just lie down and dream of big green fields, balls, and chasing squirels. Sometimes, I dream of Jasper … he’s a very handsome yellow lab. My favourite friend these days is Nike. We chase balls together and he’s also pretty cute and his bum smells oh so nice!

    Next time I visit, I’ll bring you a little treat. My favourites are shaped like beef bones, but taste like chicken. I’ll pretty well do anything for them. I’m a treat ho.

    Lots of love, Tipper Dawg

  6. Mer Says:

    YAY, it’s Friar’s Mom!! I missed you.

    Boy, for someone who got in such a big bike crash, you sound pretty good. I’ve known of women incurring similar injuries in bike accidents who have had major personality or mood changes, but you seem so much yourself. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me! 😀

    I have to admit the pelvis thing is freaking me out a bit, though. I’m full of questions about your bones that are probably inappropriate to ask in this sort of venue, so I’ll leave you with my good wishes for the best outcome ever and the quickest recovery on record.

    ::gentlest hugs::

    Mer

  7. Patricia Says:

    I am so glad to read this post before I leave for my walking trip to Scotland. I have been thinking about Friar’s Mother every since he reported on the accident and my prayer group has been including her in their healing meditations.
    I am so glad to hear that you are making a recovery and I will keep hoping for sooner and quicker success.

    It is hard to be sidelined in the summer, but recovering to health will give you more days of adventure.
    Thank you for sharing this post

  8. Captain Push Says:

    Friar’s Mom,

    I won’t quote myself as to what I told Friar but suffice it to say that I predicted you’d recover fully, however slowly.

    I may not always be right, but I’m never wrong. You will be just fine because you don’t know any other way. You are brave and courageous and a great Mom too!

    Much Love from Nevada!

  9. Karen JL Says:

    So great to see Friar’s Mom here!

    Very powerful story and a helluva scary experience. But you are one tough cookie and I just know will make a full recovery. Sending you tons of healing vibes to help you along.

    You are an inspiration. We missed ya. 🙂

  10. Tom Says:

    Mary, Your story reminds me of two major accidents and many minor ones I have had over my years of biking. One was before the days of bicycle helmets. I was going down a steep hill in San Francisco, got a tire caught in a trolly car track and went flying over the handlebars face first sliding down hill on concrete. I was alone and had no helmet. It did take me a summer to recover from that, but I was young then. Anyway give some time! Let everyone wait on you, it can be wonderful! I have a hard time being away from my bike for any length of time, so I know your frustration. But take your time and enjoy the moments now.
    I have just finished the STP, Seattle to Portland, ride last weekend. Its 204 miles (about 300km) in one day. I preceded it with a 65 mi (100km) ride from home to Seattle on the day before. I final got my fill of biking for one weekend! I’m now looking forward to a 1000 mile trip in 2 weeks in September. So I will think of you on my journeys and wish you swift healing. You will be back to your activities in good time! And you will be a wiser rider too!

  11. XUP Says:

    I’ve been wondering how you’re doing. Glad you’re on the mend, though is sounds like a bit of a tough road ahead. Here’s to a speedier than anticipated recovery!

  12. Eyeteaguy Says:

    You got to ride in a helicopter! Way cool!

    Oh, and I’m glad you are on the mend.

    Take care, and if you need anything, call Friar. He needs something to do.

    Eyeteaguy

  13. Davina Says:

    Hi Friar’s Mom.
    I’m very sorry to hear of your accident. I wish you a speedy recovery so that you and Friar can go fishing again and you can get back up on that bike. A 120k bike ride — wow! I understand our natural tendency to be curious, but I would have been annoyed by the gawkers. Maybe it was a good thing for them you were unconscious? At any rate, I’m glad to hear you are recovering well.


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