Last week I saw an email from Ralph, a long-time running friend, briefly describing a bike accident. He was on a less traveled road approaching the Charlotte Town Beach. The scenery approaching Lake Champlain on this downhill stretch is beautiful. In its infinite wisdom, the Town of Charlotte decided this was a good place for a pronounced speed bump, just on the downhill side, with the aim of slowing traffic approaching the beach parking lot. Good idea? Maybe. But for Ralph it proved otherwise.
Ralph’s front tire hit the bump at a slight angle, twisting the tire and sending him flying over the handlebars. He spread eagled on the pavement, landing hard on his arm and side. As he slid along, gathering road rash, he had a rush of thoughts and questions, foremost being “what just happened.” In any event, the result was a fractured pelvic bone, determined later at the ER, and an arm that looked like Popeye’s. Fortunately, four people on a bike tour happened to be there (in fact it was noticing the parked bikes as well as the vista that distracted his attention from the road) and came to the rescue. The tour leader bandaged his arm and Ralph called his wife to pick him up. He could not put weight on his leg and shortly after returning home, it was clear something was wrong and he should go to the hospital. After extended time in the ER, including multiple x-rays and a CT scan, the damaged was assessed. Ralph was issued crutches with express instructions not to put weight on that leg, and to return to speak with an orthopedic doc to discuss options.
I called Ralph and spoke with him at length about the incident. His command of the details was impressive. Obviously, he is off his feet for a while. Ideally, he fully heals and is back in the game before too long. He’s been told to expect a 12-week recovery. Ouch!! As we age, time off is the worst thing possible in our quest to ward off Father Time.
I reflect upon my own experience of falling down a flight of stairs in 2017 and breaking eight ribs in multiple places. I vividly recall the plethora of thoughts rushing through my mind as I was falling and then the ensuing ambulance ride to the ER, five days in the ICU and rib-plating surgery (see February 25, 2017: Surprise #1 – The Fall).
Ralph’s tumble reminded me we live in the moment and that is the only place we live. Those moments become memories, with some more momentous than others. If only we could relive a few of them – ah, how things might have been different! But it doesn’t work that way, and if we fixate on the past, we are likely to miss the precious moment that is here now, good or bad. This is existential stuff for sure, but certainly relevant to our daily lives.
Today, I will go for a run and do my best to be in the moment, feeling the passion of being able to move freely and nimbly! It won’t always be that way, age will eventually subsume all of us, and perhaps I will have my own bike mishap to recover from. Meanwhile, I’ll support Ralph in any way useful as he works his way back.