The bravest thing I’ve ever done is…get back on my bicycle.
Let me set the scene for you.
It was a dark, autumnal night and I was cycling home from work. There’s a long, slow, fun hill on that route, which you can pick up some speed on, and freewheel down. It’s a busy road, and there are lots of cars which zip past, though the speed limit’s only 30mph. There are houses and businesses, and at the point in question, an industrial park, with large stores and a big gym.
In front of the industrial park are a number of car-parks for the patrons of the stores. The access and egress points to those car-parks are from the busy road (do you have an inkling where this is going?)
It being a Dark Night, I had my bike lights on; at the time, I even had funky blue LED tyre-cap cappers. I was wearing a light coloured coat. I had my cycle helmet on.
And I was zooming down the road, giving it some welly, because I wanted to be HOME!
A car up ahead was driving through the car-park towards the road. It got to the part across the pavement, about to join the road (any ideas now?)
A car was behind me on my right, in my blind spot (on the right, cos I’m English, and that’s how we drive).
I was lit up like a Christmas tree, on a road with plentya street lights and other cars around.
The car kept coming. The car in my blind spot prevented me from swerving out.
The car kept coming, I had no time to brake.
The car kept coming.
I couldn’t stop.
The car drove forward, and I hit the side of the bonnet and flew over the top of it, landing head-first in the road on the other side.
I saw the bonnet of the car underneath me; then nothing. I felt the crack and bounce as my helmet hit the floor. I then felt the almost cartoon-like, slow-motion impacts as my left shoulder then my left hip, then my left knee, and finally my right foot, hit the ground. Hit heavy.
I came to on my side, aching. The road was next to my face. I was cold and uncomfortable and lying in the dirt. My foot hurt like a bitch. People were shouting and blurs were moving towards me.
My first reaction was absolute outrage and indignation “He HIT ME! He actually KNOCKED ME OFF MY BIKE!!!!!”
I tried to get up, and was pressed back down by the hands and voices which belonged to the blurs. People were all round me, on phones, calling the police, the ambulance, telling me to lie still – not to move my neck.
My adrenaline was pumping. “What happened? What happened to me?” I kept asking. And then, after they told me, my next most important question; “Where’s my shoe? I need my shoe back! My foot hurts…where’s my shoe?”
One of the blurs found my phone and dialed my Mum’s number – “Mum – it’s me – can you come to the hospital? I’ve been hit by a car. I think I’m okay – can you meet me there?”
The ambulance were quick, and everyone joked about how great it was to get hit by a car only five minutes from the hospital. Someone put my sorry, mangled excuse for a bike propped up by the signpost to the gym. I was strapped into a neck brace and back-board and carried onto the ambulance (with my shoe tucked kindly under the gurney).
The ambulance ride is a blur, but it was quick, and on the way into the hospital, I mentioned that the ceiling tiles along the corridor were pretty boring. The paramedic was bemused, “Most patients have more important things on their minds than the ceiling.” he told me.
I was put in a cubicle and waited while Mum arrived.
The adrenaline was wearing off, and I was starting to really, really hurt.
When she arrived, I told her of my adventures and how I still couldn’t believe it really happened. And then I cried – in shock, in pain, and because she was there, and she had been frightened, and because I wanted desperately to be at home, not in hospital, not Hit By Car.
But I was Hit By Car. And I needed painkillers (paracetamol – two – tablets – to try to swallow whilst strapped horizontally to a backboard, in a neck-brace, with water fed to me through a straw – thanks SO MUCH!) and an X-ray.
Once the x-ray was done, the doctors came back. They wore amazed expressions.
“You’re bumped and bruised, and you’re going to be sore for a while…but you’re fine. There are no broken bones – no broken anything – no internal bleeding – nothing. We were told that you were doing about 25mph when the car pulled out in front of you – we would normally expect far worse injuries than this – you’ve been incredibly lucky!”
For the next two days while the lump on the side of my head went down from half-grapefruit to half-orange to half-egg to half-lump to sore patch, and every muscle in my body gradually un-wrenched itself, I didn’t feel too lucky.
But when I came to throw away my broken helmet, and realised that without it, my brains would probably have been smashed all over the pavement – 25mph over the bonnet of a car, then head-first into the road – I realised how incredibly lucky and protected I had been.
Once I was well, I took several deep breaths and took my bike back out there. On the roads. Terrified-ly at first, but gradually increasing in confidence, until now, when I ride, I rarely think “I might die on the road today.”
But I do always, always, always wear my new helmet.
And so should every cyclist.
My first week of work has gone absolutely marvellously, superbly, brilliantly wonderfully well. More on that tomorrow, in Ten Things of Thankful – the EMPLOYED version.
I was pleased to be featured over at ScaryMommy.com with my post The Invisible Moms’ Club – written for every woman who has lost a child. The response I received in terms of number of shares, and (more wonderfully) the volume of beautiful, heartbreaking, gorgeous comments full of hurt and Truth and understanding and the desire not to feel Alone, was utterly humbling, staggering, and inspiring. I LOVE that through writing, I am able to (somehow) make a small difference to others.
I had an EPIC (and totally shallow, I know) fangirl moment today, when Glennon Melton (of the ever-awesome and wonderful Momastery) followed me back on Twitter. It’s a little pathetic, but this made my evening – I have SO MUCH time for this wonderful lady and the way she writes and the things she says. There are relatively few people (other than Kristi) whose writing gets under my skin in quite the same way…
The Blogger Idol Final 13 were shared today. A few bloggers I know are in the final line-up, but none of my personal faves, which sucked. I really thought the judges would have a *little* more discretion, and that actually, I could’ve done a better job myself, but I’ll save my grousing.
Come and show a little commiseratory love to MY BLOGGER IDOLS:
At the moment, I ADORE this song. Just do. It has nothing to do with me, or my situation, or even my viewpoint – I just love it and can’t hear it enough.
This week we heard from Zoe, of Rewritten, in our FINAL co-host interview. Come back on Saturday or Sunday to join in your list of Ten Things of Thankful, to read everyone else’s and to join our lovely community of Thankful People.
And watch this space for what’s afoot for next Thursday! I got plans!
Take care, yo!
For more Quick Takes, probably less fan-girl, and (I suspect) less car crash, visit Conversion Diary!