emergency weblog; or: epersonae; or: elaine nelson

in which I write about stuff

Our weekend

Wear your helmet.

Categories: bicycling, General

Friday afternoon I got an impromptu haircut appointment at Jamie Lee. C decided to come with me, but I had my bike ready first, and since I was already running late, I went on ahead.

What happened next, from my point of view: I got downtown, locked up my bike, and said hi to Jason. I mentioned that C was coming and that he wanted to share an idea he had for my hair. I suck at explaining hair stuff — which explains some of the goofy cuts I’ve had over the years — and my hair as of yesterday was short, but huge & fluffy in the front. It drove me nuts during the heat wave — I was on vacation, too, so no hiding from the heat in an office building. But even after Jason and I chatted for a bit about how my hair was making me crazy, C hadn’t shown up. So we went & got my hair washed. Which was delightful, getting my head massaged: I had an all day stabbed-in-the-face headache.

C still hadn’t arrived when we came out, so we just started at it, or rather, I made some aimless gestures, and Jason did the cutting. And he still wasn’t there. I figured in the back of my mind that he’d met up with a friend, or got distracted at the coffeeshop, although admittedly neither of these things are very much like him.

When I was done, I took a look at my phone and saw that I’d missed a call from “Private” — 99% of the time, that’s Mom’s phone, and on a Friday afternoon, that’s likely to be Elizabeth calling to chat, or ask if the scrapbook arrived (yes, it did). But there was a voicemail, so I checked it while unlocking my bike.

“This is Officer [X] from OPD, calling about your husband. Please call me right away at [phone].”

I had to listen to it three times before I got the number right; I even called a wrong number after the first time I wrote it down. But I finally got in touch: he’d been in an accident, was at the hospital, was ok. Something about sutures. At which point things went a little blurry: I asked if he could take me to the house so I could drive to the hospital. I asked the folks at Jamie Lee if I could stow my bike there. (Yes and yes.)

When I got to the hospital, he was in a hallway, laying on a gurney (?) with gauze wrapped around his head.

So, from his point of view, it went something like this:

He was a few blocks behind me, coming down the hill fast, and was behind a truck. It turned without signaling, and after that it was a blur. The next thing he remembered was sitting up against a tree, holding his shirt to the back of his head. Someone brought him a washcloth. Then more blur, then the EMTs arrived to put him on the backboard & take him to the ER. Somebody wrapped his head, maybe a little too tight, and then he was left in the hallway.

He was not wearing his helmet.

[stifled cursing here]

He did get all cleaned up and examined pretty quickly after I arrived. Eventually they worked out that he had basically roadrash on the back of his head, less of a cut than a collection of little divots. Probably hit some gravel. The doc put four staples in to close up what he could; the nurse gave him a lot of ibuprofen and a tetanus shot.

And then we went home. Somewhat to my surprise, he wanted to go to a party we’d been invited to downtown. We walked down, and on the way, stopped at the intersection where the crash had happened. I found a couple of pieces of his sunglasses and the washcloth.
His blood was still on the roadway.

The whole thing makes me a little dizzy to think about, honestly. He was ::this:: close to something really genuinely horrible.

Today he’s in crazy pain — in addition to the head wound, he’s got a couple of massive bruises and some other roadrash. Plus of course everything is stiff and sore. But the ibuprofen seems to help, as does entertaining videos.

I’ve got some photos — the back of his head, the blood-soaked shirt, the pavement — which I may or may not post. But basically, you get the idea: wear your fucking helmet when you’re on the road. Both cyclists and motorists are traveling too fast, and there aren’t enough shared facilities, for us to be acting like Europeans, no matter how much we want to.

PS: the bike was fine. As in, you’d never know anything had happened. It’s kind of freaky, actually: was he teleported off of the bike?!

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6 Responses to “Our weekend”

  1. agathafrye says:

    Damn, I’m so glad he’s relatively okay in the grand scheme of things. Bet he’ll be wearing his helmet from now on! I’m sending mental waves so that he feels better real soon.

  2. Stephanie says:

    Holy Cow! I saw him! Didn’t know it was him but I was just telling Lloyd about it earlier today. I’m so glad he is okay.

  3. OUCH!!! Wear helmet, wear helmet, wear helmet . . . SO glad he’s just bruised and battered.

    Love and healing vibes — Paula

  4. Elaine says:

    Thanks y’all, the good thoughts are greatly appreciated.

  5. CHAD!! Wear a Helmet!

    Any word about the truck? Did he stop?

  6. Elaine says:

    Yes, the truck stopped, although I don’t know any more about that part than that.