The last blog post was dated July 4, 2014, and the ensuing hiatus in blog posts resulted from summer 2014, when I crashed my racing bike at 28-mph and suffered fractured clavicle, eight fractured ribs, a hairline pelvic fracture and a partially deflated R-lung.
The accident occurred while ridding my vintage Cannondale that should have been replaced. I had just shaved five minutes off my best time ever and headed downhill toward home when the derailleur slipped. I could have dismounted and repaired the problem. However in distress and annoyance, I slammed the derailleur with the palm of my hand. This catapulted the bicycle chain into the rear tire hub and froze the rear tire at twenty-eight miles-an-hour.
It’s incredible how disaster occurs in slow motion. Attempts to break forward speed on the front tire destroyed steering control. There was no doubt I would go down.
Fortunately, the desert at the edge of the blacktop was free of cholla cactus. Quickly, I considered putting out my arm to lessen the shock of hitting the desert but realized that would only break my arm. My next thought was to tuck and roll on my right shoulder. I landed very hard. I waited for a moment, then stood and started laughing: I had survived. I was also in mild shock from the trauma of the collision.
Behind me a voice said, “You’ve been hurt, there’s blood on your jersey. What are you going to do?”
“I’ll fix my bike and ride home.”
Chelseo from the Saguaro National Park picked up my bike and placed it in his truck. “I will take you to the hospital or I will take you home.” I opted for home where Chelseo and my wife, Helen, overruled my intention to stay there. Helen drove me to the Tucson Medical Center, where I was later transferred to The University of Arizona Medical Trauma Center, for a fascinating experience. A team of specialists examined my injuries with specific attention to my partially deflated lung and the possibility of a concussion. This is the famous center that treated Gabrielle Gifford.
The intensive examination process continued for quite a while until the team left while Helen and I waited alone in the examination room. Soon a tall man in a white doctor’s smock entered, and asked me if I would like the good news or the bad news. I opted for the good, and he explained I was in awfully good shape for a man of my age. The bad news was a litany of injuries that didn’t require surgery but would need painful time to heal.
Then I was returned to the Tucson Medical Center room where my twenty-year-old hospital roommate suffered from metastatic colon cancer. He had never returned for follow-ups after completing chemotherapy, and he was now pacing with fear and confusion. In the morning, he entered my side of the partition, “I suppose you heard.”
I acknowledged I had. He was unsure of what to do. He admitted to wanting to get away, maybe heading out on a long road trip. He had hated chemotherapy and he wondered what I thought.
I replied, “I hope you believe in Devine Intervention. It’s no accident you are here with me since I have survived colon cancer. Go see the oncologist immediately. That’s your very best hope to survive.”
I am again ridding my bici and admittedly, the first few trips past the scene of my accident were fearful. Also, I have a nearly completed young adult fiction novel. It was written during my recuperation and recovery. The narrative is about Ralph’s adventures. The stories that were created nightly for my first son, Alex, until he succumbed to cancer at six-years-old. Later, the Ralph stories continued with my second son, Daniel, until he was twelve. The novel is called Ralph’s Place.
My three published novels are available for 99 cents on Amazon.com, in Kindle Countdown beginning Dec. 16, 2015 @ 8:00 a.m. PST and ending Dec. 23 @ 12:00 a.m. PST!