Monday, September 18, 2006

Good Bike Karma. Bad Mike Karma

As soon as I manualed up onto the rock and it tipped, I knew I was going to put that first dinger in my new bike. Having no place to put my foot down, I tumbled 8 feet onto exposed rocks. My helmet went "Thwack" and a searing pain shot up my left leg as the sharp granite tore my knee open.

All I could do was lay there in agony and scream, "Fuck" as loud as I could. Apparently loud enough that the hikers up on "Indian's Last Leap" came scurrying down to check out the ruckus. As I struggled to my feet, two concerned citizens closed in. I turned and both of them looked at me and then at my knee. Their eyes grew big and one good samaritan offered immediate help via his damn cell phone and 911.

I hadn't looked at my knee yet. I was still trying to shake the cobwebs back into place and get through that first intense flash of pain. I hobbled away from my bike and the two good citizens. Trying to somehow walk it off and hide the tear-wrenching pain I was experiencing. Oddly the time I caught a soccer ball in the nads and both of the boys were driven up into my throat came into my mind then. This was that kind of pain. And I remembered the soccer coach saying, "Walk it off Crum." It took almost a week for the boys to find their way home again. It was a week of testicular torture. "Walk it off?" Yeah right. That never works. To all the coaches in all the world, why do you say that? Useless as medical advice and it certainly does not convince the pain to go away.

The pain subsided from intense to almost tolerable and I turned back towards my bike expecting the worst. I was sure my brand new, only been ridden twice, "Slayer 50" was as crumpled as I felt. But no. It lay there almost serenely, patiently reposed. Like I had set it down carefully in the pine needles just shy of the rocks. Ah Hah. Those rocks were meant for me, not my bike. Good bike karma, bad Mike karma.

I still had not looked at my knee. I would like to say it was a macho thing. Tough guy and all that. But the reality is I was afraid of what it was going to look like. As bad as it hurt, I was sure I had an emergency room visit in my immediate future. The less than impressed reaction from my wife and the loss of the rest of the day while I was prodded, poked, and stitched up became a distinct possiblity.

Instead of looking at the carnage I picked up my bike and leaned on it. Jeez, seemed okay. Spun the wheels and grabbed the brake levers. Everything was a go. And I could not find one dinger anywhere. Good bike karma, bad Mike karma.

I looked up at the two samaritans and smiled. Well a sort of smiling grimace I guess. I told them I would be just fine. I just needed a moment or two to collect my wits. They both looked dubious as I remounted my bike and attacked the same little stone stepper that had caused me so much pain a few moments ago. This time I cleaned it and proceeded to punish the wounded leg as I gimped up the trail from the river.

Once I tough guyed it out of the sight of the two citizens, I pulled up. Straddling the bike, I looked down at my knee. A wave of nausea washed over me. My knee looked as if it had been through a cheese grater with very long and very sharp teeth. Blood covered my leg from the knee to the ankle. Blood dripping skin hung off the wound in shreds. Stopping at the next creek crossing, I washed it up and decided I would live. Only one cut looked deep. Everytime I pulled it open, I could see that mysterious white layer that exists just beneath the skin. What was odd and a bit discomforting was it did not hurt, but the rest of the rock rash hurt like Hell.

It's been two weeks now since I dove off that ledge. I chose to not see a doc. I hate doctors. Well, I don't hate them per se. I hate what they do to me when I come in mangled, sick, or just out of sorts. Seems like I always have to bend over, cough, or stand around in a pajama top with no butt in it while they decide what part of my body to shoot deadly x-rays at. So I decided to self medicate. I kept the cut clean. I soaked it everyday. It bled for a couple of days. Then it oozed for a couple of days. Then it scabbed over and began to itch. It looks like I will have a spiffy dent in my skin just below the knee. And if I am lucky, a good scar to lie about.