Saturday, January 23, 2010

I Fall Down, Go to the Emergency Room

Artist's depiction of the separation stage. Th...Image via Wikipedia

Big Pat Daugherty and I bike Thursday mornings. One week last year it was raining just a little, and I did not show up. Of course, Pat biked on, probably twice as fast and much of the time reared up on a single wheel.

I concluded I had done a timid thing. At the REI I bought a rain jacket and rain pants as if courage was all a matter of being sufficiently garish. I think the prediction this Thursday a.m. was 90 percent chance of precipitation, but it was only spitting rain when Pat and I rendezvoused at the Albany Bulb. Gradually, the rain increased in intensity, but Pat proceeded at a stately pace -- and my rain gear was working wonderfully well -- so perhaps I was complacent about an hour into the ride when I decided to move from beside Pat (I was chattering away) to behind him as we approached a curve.

I touched his rear wheel with my front wheel, jerked the handlebars to the left and went sprawling. It would seem -- and you must trust me on this for the photograph of the bruises is not suitable for family entertainment -- that I came off the seat and down on the bike frame before the bike tipped and dumped me.

I was very rude to myself, if you follow me.

I was mostly concerned about tearing a hole in my wonderful orange raincoat. I felt a little ... compromised, but I got back on the bike, and we finished up, and I hurried home so I could rush over to USF to greet our new transfer students.

I fell about 11 a.m. Around 2 p.m. I suddenly felt quite dizzy as I sat in my office. I walked down the hall to get a drink of water and fainted, absolutely terrifying several students who were nodding respectfully in my direction at the moment of collapse. They hauled me up (it took four of them) and kept an eye on me as I returned to my office.

About this time E. called. I told her about the fall, though I did not tell her about my fainting.

Which was stupid. And then I drove home.

Which was stupid.

Meanwhile, E. had called Kaiser and made an appointment for me at six o'clock at the Minor Injury Clinic in Hayward since -- not knowing about the fainting -- she assumed we might sit for hours in the Oakland emergency room.

I was quite proud that I was not embarrassed when the Physician's Assistant (female) examined my wounded man parts. They took an x-ray of my pelvic area. And I told them about fainting three hours after the accident.

It was then that I learned that fainting is apparently a Get Out of Jail Free card (in the sense of being a Get into the Emergency Room Fast card). I thought it was self evident that getting whacked in the testicles might light a fuse of time-delayed pain and somatic distress that would produce a fainting fit in the best of us.

Of which I do not claim to be.

Anyway, I was poked a bit and prodded a bit and deprived of several vials of blood as the docs explored the possibility of concussion, heart attack, pleurisy, walking pneumonia up to an including out of body experience. Around midnight they let me go, saying that my name had been turned in, and I wasn't cleared to drive until my regular doc takes a look at me sometime next week.

Friday morning I woke up *in pain* my friend -- barely able to walk, had no interest in walking, developed an aversion to the word. As I said, I had quite a nice bruise, which my wife has documented. (With the instructions, "Put your hand there. For modesty.")

I feel much better today, though when I sat down on a hard chair about a half hour ago....

The point is that riding in the rain didn't cause the accident. It was a diminution of caution caused by our slowing down because we were riding in the rain that caused the accident.

Or, as my wife says, parse it how you will, you don't have to be a CSI spinoff to diagnose yet another tragic case of testosterone poisoning.


Anonymous said...

Ouch! Good to hear you are OK now.

Morahan Family said...

Sorry Michael, I can't help laughing... Kinda like , 'cause I know you, you know!
Kinda like the way that when I die I want y'all to have a big happy party, not be crying and such...
And as such, I think you would probably want the same...that is that we laugh and have fun recollecting your life at your funeral rather than being solemn?
So that's why I laughed as I read the post - I think.
BTW thanks for NOT posting the photos.

Peter Moore said...

I had a similar accident some years ago now. Ended up getting a cortisone shot in my tail bone (which was fractured) Similar in that I was riding with another guy and I was racing to catch up with him.
I ride alone now

....J.Michael Robertson said...

I guess since it's in comments I can add that this morning the left side of my scrotum was a wine-dark purple and this afternoon... This is for you, Tommy: "Himself" was purple on the left side.

Anonymous said...

Ow! Ow!Ow!Ow! On the other hand, just one more thing you have in common with Lance Armstrong. Of course, cancer is somewhat more dignified.

James T. said...

Yikes! That testosterone will get you every time. It once compelled me to swim to an island. Dumb idea. It occurred to me too late that, even in Hawaii, the ocean is not the lap pool at the gym.

In any event, hang in there...

Peter Moore said...

I guess a cup should be as required as a helmet from now on

....J.Michael Robertson said...

First, Eydie's bike-riding work buddy -- four separate bikes for four different kids of riding -- said it's stupid to ride in the rain.

Second, I've actually thought about a cup! But isn't the hardness of the seat a problem already? I think I should be getting one of those "gentle" split seats. More research necessary.

david silver said...

i hope you're feeling better michael.