Summer Vacation in the North Woods goes South
Sometimes the simplest turns are not.
by Susan Jacobson — Summer vacation: going to a Northern Minnesota lake to enjoy family, water sports and a little cycling. A great way to relax. It takes me back to summers growing up in Minnesota. As we arrive with our quality folding Bike Fridays we are off for a jaunt. Leaving brother in law Tony’s home, we are off! Dropping down a slight hill, I pass a new home nearing completion:
Rounding the corner to the right suddenly, without warning, I am skidding and flying. I scrape the right side of my body on the ground, feel the light tap of my helmet on the ground, and somehow come to a stop, on my stomach. I seem to be lying in some gravel in the middle of the road. I scream for help. Soon Tony is back checking on where I was, although he hadn’t heard the yelling.
I knew I had a broken bone: likely the right arm. A broken bone has a distinct kind of pain, which I have learned over the last 20 years of bike riding. The trip to the nearby ER, x-rays, consultation from a local orthopedist specializing in shoulders gave me critical information. I needed surgery, and a CT scan to better find the bony fragments of my arm and help direct surgery. Either I would get a plate and screws, or a shoulder replacement (ouch)! I also had some time: it could be done within 1-2 weeks, back at home.
The following day, with a quality sling, and pain meds I explored the accident scene. There, behind tall uncut grass on the corner of the lot, there was a lot of dry gravel loosely extending towards the middle of the road.
We later learn that the gravel had not come from the new home construction site, but from the hill above it. There had been some recent road work, and the gravel came down with occasional rain.
Soon enough, I had returned to CA and had CT and surgery. In less than one week my arm was repaired. Now I have a piece of titanium and a dozen screws in my upper arm. Recovery is going well. I still need the brace and the pain meds, but the arm is healing and stable. I’m looking forward to being on my bike again: likely not till next year.
Is there a moral to this tale? I’m not sure.
Some options: Beware the gravel? Of course.
Pay attention? Of course (and I was).
Things happen? Yes they do, and we can’t always prevent them.