After the Salt to Saint Bike Relay, Marjorie and I vowed that our next sister adventure would not involve pain. “What is next?” we asked as we pondered painless plans. When we set out last Saturday for a casual bike ride along the Weber River in Riverdale, we did not anticipate that our next sister adventure would, in Marjorie’s words “go the the extreme wrong end of that plan.”
The day was overcast but beautiful, the kind of crisp, autumn afternoon one fantasizes for during July’s brutal 100 degree weather. The trail was beautiful too, winding as it did along the river. It has several downhills and several series of S curves and some downhills followed by S curves. I was riding down one such hill with reckless abandon whenI made the first curve but not the second. My back tire slid off the trail. My left foot hit the ground and stopped but the rest of my body did not I watched my knee bend the wrong way and thought “This is going to hurt.” Yep.
I found myself off the trail, head slightly downhill, knee twisted, in incredible pain. Somewhere between seeing my knee bend wrong and finding myself flat on my back, I heard a huge CRASH. Noting the significance of the sound and knowing that nothing small makes such a BIG noise, I thought maybe my wreck had startled a moose from the underbrush. We were beside a river….
Turns out the large noise was not made by a large animal after all. It was made by a large crash though. My sweet sister, behind me on her bike, saw my crash and, knowing she could not brake in time to avoid hitting me, rode off the path…..and into a tree. The huge sound I heard was her head connecting solidly with a tree trunk. OUCH! Thank God for helmets.
And thank God for sisters! Unaware that she had crashed and in great pain, I called for help. “Call someone” I begged her. Dazed by her impact she crawled toward me until her head cleared enough to stand. “Do I call 911 or Lanae (her daughter)?” she asked.
I prayed quickly and vocally. Calling 911 meant helplessness--I’d be carried out, and expense--ambulance rides are very costly. Nope. She called Lanae.
Now aware that Marjorie had also crashed, I looked into her eyes. Dilating normally. Pumped with adrenaline she also seemed to be walking and talking normally. I was talking normally but not walking normally. In fact, not walking at all.
The initial, grass-ripping, scream eliciting pain had subsided but seemed to be returning and I knew that lying there was not in my best interest. Plus there was no immediate road access; we would have to move ourselves if we were ever going to get home.
With Marjorie’s help we lifted the compromised leg and twisted my torso. With Marjorie’s help, we scooted me onto the trail. With Marjorie’s help I stood on one foot. With Marjorie’s help we put my left foot on my bike pedal and, after prying Marjorie’s bike loose from the tree to which it had become lodged upon impact, we began what I affectionately call “The Long Hop”. Using my bike as a sort of skateboard, I glided my left leg and hopped on my right leg all the way to the car…..wherever that was.
Oh that it were as simple as hopping to the car! Car access to the river trail is very limited and communicating one’s location on the trail is tricky. Lanae and Marjorie were on the phone, using Google maps, and dropping pins to each other trying to get us together. Grace, Aliza, and Jacob (who’d been shopping with Lanae when she got the call) got on the trail south of us and ran north, hoping to find us. Lanae drove north, hoping to find a way to access the trail. Tanah brought the truck and joined the hunt. In the meantime the gentle drizzle turned into a pouring rain.
Hop. Glide. Hop. Glide. Hop. Glide.
Marjorie and I crossed under a railroad bridge, wading through mid-calf deep water, and hopped up a beaten path at its side, only to find there were railroad ties but no vehicle access. Hop, glide, hop, glide back down.
We found a gravel road, “Kingfisher Loop Trail” and Grace, Aliza, and Jacob found us. Hop, glide, hop, glide down Kingfisher Loop Trail. Dead end. Hop, glide, hop, glide back.
Jacob prayed the rain would stop. It did.
I prayed we would find the vehicles and we did…..eventually. Hop, glide, hop, glide up a hill, across a vacant lot, and onto the south end of A Avenue in West Ogden where the van was waiting. I went to the Urgent Care (only a $25 co-pay!) where it was determined that no bones were broken and that the knee was too swollen for an MRI.
Bless my sister! In my pain, in my view, it was all about me. She too had a significant crash, very significant, but in her view it was all about me too. I could not have made it out without her help and she was totally selfless in helping me. She has a sore shoulder, tender ribs, a purple knee of her own, road rash on her leg but, miraculously, no head injury. I spent Sunday and Monday on crutches. I have been walking, slowly--oh so slowly--since Tuesday; my knee supports weight but any lateral movement puts me on the floor in a whimpering puddle.
At the beginning of summer I told Lance that if he lost 30 pounds I would see a specialist about my knees in October. He has lost 40+ pounds. I guess it is time to see someone about my knees...specifically my left one.
In the meantime, Marjorie and I are accepting suggestions for our next sister adventure...