Okay, I’m really getting tired of being ‘the one’ who things happen to. I’m feeling like some Karmic cloud is hanging over both Dan and I, just waiting to zing us at every opportunity. We have had way too many ER visits, surgeries, and just general freak accidents to assume this is business as usual; I truly think we have some sort of Gainey curse.
Memorial Day started so beautifully; I took Marley for a long walk, wrote for a bit, then headed out with Dan for a bike ride downtown. It was an absolutely gorgeous, sunshine-filled, day, and we had such fun launching from Birmingham’s Railroad Park and down the long stretch of 1st Avenue South, popular in Birmingham with many cyclists because there isn’t much traffic. We decided to go off-road into Avondale Park to explore a bit. It was fun to see all of the ducks enjoying the lake and the sun, and the people, too. I saw a lone man walking as we entered the park and felt a strange premonition that something not good was going to happen. Mom always has those moments…I need to learn to pay better attention when my gut sends up a red flag.
We explored for bit, then headed slowly up a steep sidewalk leading to the amphitheater that Dan has done so many shows on in past years. There was the man we’d encountered at the entrance to the park approaching down the sidewalk, and by the look of his eyes and demeanor, it was sadly obvious that he had just done drugs in the secluded amphitheater. He didn’t make room for us to pass and Dan slowed and struggled to keep his trike on the sidewalk. I slowed too much on my bike just as my tire slipped over the edge of the sidewalk.
Time seemed to stand still as I lost my balance and went over, my foot not getting out of the shoe cage in time. My chest took a large part of the brunt of the fall as it landed full force on the light tube installed on my handlebar. I lay tangled in my bike, afraid to move as I assessed the damage, not sure if I’d broken anything or not. The man kept trying to help; kind of him, but I needed to figure out what I had injured before I tried to move. Eventually, Dan and the man helped me untangle from the bike and Dan led me to a seat to assess the damages.
I was shaking like a leaf, had severe pain in my right breast where the light had impaled me, and my right knee had begun to bleed profusely (note to self: carry antiseptic wipes and bandaids in my bike pack…). Dan insisted that I sit, drink water, and rest until my symptoms of shock recessed. Finally, I felt like I could make the ride back to where we had parked the car a few miles away. Those last few miles were tough ones.
We cleaned up my knee the best we could with the wipes we had in the car, loaded up the bikes, and headed home to get showered and put medicine and a large bandage on my knee. As time passed I began to notice more parts of me starting to announce the effects of the accident. At that moment I felt every minute of my fifty-seven years, let me tell you. We decided we needed a treat after the fiasco, so we picked up lunch at the grocery store and enjoyed a picnic on the back decks, even splurging on a rare beer with lunch. It was a gorgeous afternoon, we were starving and I was hurting…it all just seemed medicinal…especially the nap that followed.
Sometimes we just have to laugh at the absurd number of experiences like this we have- and remind ourselves it could have been much worse. We do our best to be careful, but we can’t live our lives wrapped in bubble wrap as some good friends joked with me…though I have to admit that bubble wrap is sounding like a pretty darn good idea about now…and I think Marley agrees.