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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    10

    The Time I Fell Off My Bike And Almost Died (Six Weeks Later)

    (disclaimer: I'm fine now! No lasting damage except a hella sweet scar on my knee)

    This is the story of the worst bike accident I've ever had. I really did nearly die, and/or lose my leg. It's honestly one of my favorite stories to tell, because I feel it sums my life up very well.

    The scene: Beautiful spring day, that first really nice day of Spring weather. Iíd come home from school to let my dog out, and my bike had just gotten tuned up at the shop, so I decided I will be healthy! Do an exercise! And I would bike back to school instead of driving.

    This would prove to be a near-fatal error.

    Now, at the time I lived at the top of a very large hill. College was right at the bottom of it, and Iíd gone up and down this hill literally hundreds of times because I used to bike to work on the other side of town. For a long time I didnít have my license, so I biked every where. I was pretty good at riding a bike.

    But sometimes, even when youíre pretty good at something, you fall for no discernible reason.

    Just one second, biking down a very large hill, and the next second, sliding down it. Did I mention this was the main highway that went through town? Itís kind of a busy road.

    Okay so, I sit up and take stock: not dead, not run over, nothing broken, not really even bleeding. So Iím getting ready to stand up and collect my bike and continue going to school. Well one of the drivers who saw me fall had called an ambulance and frankly this was not a wrong choice on his part.

    So the ambulance comes and thereís a cop and Iím laying on a gurney being put into an ambulance and I have to fight with this cop about no donít just hide my bike in a bush my house is like 500 feet away, also please donít leave cryptic voicemails for my aunt that Iím being put in an ambulance while leaving out the part where I am ok! and talking to you! about not hiding my bike in a bush! But I am literally having ambulance doors shut on my protests, so I kind of lost that battle.

    So thatís the story of how the police department got my bike stolen

    So I go to the hospital and they basically just spray me with bactine and let me go

    I just kind of walk through the halls because I donít have a bike and I donít have a car and I canít get a hold of my aunt. However, conveniently, this hospital is part of the complex where my grandmother lives so I figure Iíll wander over there and at least one member of my family will know I am not dead and maybe we can get a hold of my aunt.

    I find her playing bridge with three nuns in a kitchen. Thereís cake.

    Finally I get a hold of one of my friends and get someone to come pick me up. Still no word from my aunt. Turns out she was at a funeral and had turned off her phone. Missed all of this.

    So okay, thatís the fall. Next couple of weeks most of my road rash is healing up. Iím really not that badly injured, considering a very real possibility was being run over by a semitruck. My right knee is just a littleÖ offÖ but itís the end of the year and finals are coming up and ignoring things is a thing, so I ignore it. We get an MRI done of my knee, but nothing shows up.

    Now, at this same time my aunt (who I live with, and is generally the failsafe in ďis Rachel dyingĒ) isnít at home much because my grandma is in a lot of pain and canít walk/stand up. She comes home one day and Iíve asked her to bring me some gatorade because my throat really hurts. Iím also trying to do a take home exam except I have to go lay down for a couple hours after about twenty minutes. She comes home and sees this and decides maybe some kind of medical professional should be involved.

    (turns out my grandma has fractured her hip and is admitted to the hospital the same day I am)

    So we go get a strep test done.

    I donít have strep.

    Except I also canít sit up on the exam table for the five minutes it takes for the test to come back, so clearly Something is Wrong.

    So we go to the walk in clinic.

    Now, I donít really know how blood pressure works, but I do know when the nurse took my blood pressure she got kind of alarmed and asked me if I had driven myself here.

    So we go to the ER.

    And the guyís talking to me, did you do any drugs, are you pregnant, have you had any unprotected sex recently

    No, but I fell off my bike about a month ago

    Ö Are you SURE youíre not pregnant?

    No, but I fell off my bike about a month ago

    So finally this guy deigns to look at my knee AND THEN RECOILS IN HORROR and is suddenly taking this a lot more seriously

    Here my memory gets a little fuzzy, being somewhat involved with the business of actively trying not to die, but in the end I spent nine days in the ICU, two and a half weeks in the hospital, my other aunt flew in from Connecticut and spent the entire time stroking my brow, I had at least two but possibly three surgeries on my knee, was intubated over night, had an EKG and an ultrasound of my kidneys, and a wound vac attached to my leg for about three months. Some staph bacteria got into a scrape on my knee. I'd had an MRI just previous to this and there's nothing on it; a second MRI a few days later is LOADED with infection. I also had a skin graft made from baby foreskin (which was later accidentally removed by the ER) and spent two weeks in an assisted living facility for nuns.

    My orthopedist told me if we had waited any longer to go to the ER, or if I had been much younger or older, we would have been talking about taking the leg. For a long time in the ICU I wasnít responding to the antibiotics, but once I did I got better extremely quickly.

    And that is the story of the time I fell off my bike and almost died (six weeks later).

    Today I am fine! No pain, full range of motion, still able to ride as well as ever. It hurts a little to kneel on the scar, but even that has gotten better with time. The biggest consequence was I lost so much muscle tone while hospitalized, and I've never really gotten it back. And a super cool scar and an awesome story

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,854
    Holy cow. I'm glad it all worked out okay. Except for the part about the police getting your bike stolen.

    p.s. The best parts of the story are the cameo appearances by nuns. Totally unexpected.

    p.p.s. Best wishes to your grandmother.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    Yikes. So glad it all worked out!

    I've heard many times about emergency personnel leaving people's bikes on the scene, only to be stolen. Don't really know what the solution is.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    2,560
    Wow! What a story. Glad you are okay now.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    West MI
    Posts
    4,308
    OMG...and maybe they need to put bicycle racks on ambulances. Seriously, it doesn't seem like a bad idea. My MIL suffered a concussion a year or two ago when she tipped-over at a stop. Fortunately a kind motorist witnessed everything and volunteered to collect her bike and hang onto it until she could retrieve it. The paramedics were otherwise going to just leave it on the side of the road. A custom Seven, at that. The motorist wasn't a cyclist, but suspected that it wasn't just a cheap department store bike.
    Kirsten
    run/bike log
    zoomylicious


    '11 Cannondale SuperSix 4 Rival
    '12 Salsa Mukluk 3
    '14 Seven Mudhoney S Ti/disc/Di2

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
    Posts
    6,662
    Quote Originally Posted by OakLeaf View Post
    Yikes. So glad it all worked out!

    I've heard many times about emergency personnel leaving people's bikes on the scene, only to be stolen. Don't really know what the solution is.
    Yes, I wonder what would happen if I'd had my serious bike wreck when biking alone and not with DH. Since I was taken from the scene in an ambulance, would my beautiful carbon bike just been left there? Fortunately, a good samaritan in a pickup truck happened by while I was lying in the road and took my DH and both our bikes to our house about six miles away.

    Laurentide, WOW. So glad you are okay. You do have an awesome but scary story. I had no idea where you were going with it as I read along. Shee-it!
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    10
    Quote Originally Posted by OakLeaf View Post
    Yikes. So glad it all worked out!

    I've heard many times about emergency personnel leaving people's bikes on the scene, only to be stolen. Don't really know what the solution is.
    I wonder how the police move bikes around? Supposedly they always have a ton at the station that they auction off occasionally, I went to the station a couple times afterwards and was supposed to be able to pick one out since they got mine stolen. But every time I went they had "just had the auction." It was registered with the city, I told all the bike shops in town it was stolen. I still eye any white Trek I see suspiciously. The real kicker was my house was literally around the corner! In winter, with leaves off the trees, I would have been able to see my garage from where I fell!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    1,352
    OMG! Now that's a story! So glad you survived what appeared to be a relatively minor fall that turned out to be life threatening. Wow!
    2012 Jamis Quest Brooks B17 Blue
    2012 Jamis Dakar XC Comp SI Ldy Gel
    2013 Electra Verse

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    ... Does anyone know what the police do with the keys to a driveable car that has to be left at a scene?
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Posts
    6,982
    Last year, the fire dept. took my damaged bike when I had my crash. They answered the 911 call first. But in the end the ambulance paramedics were better equipped to transport me to emergency services. (I was unconscious temporarily.)

    My partner who was with me when it happened, recovered the bike at the local fire station which was only a 15 min. walk away from home.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

 

 

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