Some serious thinking over the past three days, after a cycling accident Monday morning (the second in ten months) that has turned out, after a certain amount of worry, to be okay. What am I thinking about? Let's see.
First, when we do something that we know causes others concern, where does one draw the line? I haven't even told a few of the people closest to me about the accident. Embarrassment isn't the only reason. No one wants to hurt others, least of all because of selfish actions. On the other hand, cycling is the most convenient way for me to get around, and get around I must. I admit that I enjoy it, I admit that I value it for the stimulation and exercise that becomes part of my daily routine, I admit that I'm a little afraid to get back on the bike, and I admit that I'm fully aware a lot of people believe I should put that bike away forever. So, what to do? I suspect I'll be back on it as soon as my sprained left ankle and right wrist are stronger, and once the good fellows at Ride on Again (link takes you to a post with lots of info about my favourite bike shop) have repaired it. Is it okay for me to do that? I honestly don't know. I guess time will tell.
Second, I am full of appreciation for the miraculous powers of the human body to repair itself. Ten months ago, after some blackberry bushes ensnared me as I coasted downhill on the causeway, a craniotomy was necessary to relieve the pressure of a subdural hematoma. I thought then that another accident would be the end of me. In fact, CT scans on Monday and again on Tuesday confirmed that my brain is okay. My black eye looks serious, but the vision in both eyes hasn't changed and the bruise will fade. The right wrist, so painful on Monday that I thought the night would never end, is in fact only sprained, and now dramatically improved. The left ankle is already beginning to be able to bear weight. At 62, I am so grateful to my body for its efforts to get going again.
Third, the accident itself. Our society is big on placing blame, but sometimes, it feels as though things just happen, and though we learn from them, and will possibly change our actions in the future, they are just that - accidents. On Monday, I cycled along the bicycle lane on Tatlow Street in North Vancouver and through a small park at the end of the street. The cycling lane comes out at a T intersection. I stopped, in preparation to go straight across the intersection. The lady in the car at my left stopped too. I saw her stop, the people on my right were stopped, and I believed it was my turn to go. I looked but didn't actually see her face through the windshield, as it was early morning and raining. In fact, she had looked to her left to check for people coming from that road, but didn't check to her right where I was, since that is a cycling lane coming out of a park. My lights didn't help. There was a front one and there were two back ones (one on the helmet), but none to the side. I did have a cycling jacket with reflective strips on the sleeve, but I guess they didn't show up either. She never saw me. As I stepped down on my right pedal, I saw her coming toward my left side and couldn't believe she wasn't stopping. She just didn't see me. End of story. And, I could neither back up, nor get out of the way quickly enough to avoid the hit. The good thing? Someone else got out of his car and helped her load my bike, and she was off to the hospital with me in the blink of an eye. Another good thing. She waited around, and came to see me in the examination room after my x-rays. A kind, and very upset lady. Just an accident that made us both wish we had done things differently. After a stop sign, I will never move again without making eye contact, and she will look to the right and to the left, whether or not there is a road on both sides.
Fourth is Bill. Beautiful, kind, patient Bill, who understands friendship as I am only beginning to comprehend. To name the things he has done for me over the past two days would require several paragraphs. I'll keep it to a few highlights: he packed a (happily unneeded) bag for the hospital, looked after Black Jack and brought her to the hospital where the staff graciously welcomed her and allowed her to see me, picked up my bike and belongings (can you believe my camera and laptop were undamaged??), talked with doctors, got crutches (soon to be unneeded), wheeled me to various appointments, shopped, prepared food, did dishes, and through it all, smiled, comforted and encouraged. Thank you seems insufficient, but... Thank you, Bill!
Fifth, some other thank-you's: the staff at my school, many of whom were burdened with extra work due to my absence but had only words of comfort and concern for me, my principal who braved the hospital emergency room to check on and reassure me, and the hospital staff, most of whom carried out their duties in a caring and very competent manner.
I wasn't going to post about the accident but have changed my mind. Bikesbirdsnbeasts records my thoughts about significant events in my life, and to skip this post would make everything afterwards feel a bit dishonest.
Finally, some photos. Between appointments yesterday, Bill took me to the waterside, where I tried out my new lens. I'm not fully satisfied, but overall, given that my right hand was barely working, and the camera is made much heavier with the new lens, perhaps they aren't so bad.
I thought the brown heads indicated that these are Common Mergansers, but now I'm thinking they are three female Barrow's Goldeneyes with a male at the centre. I've done just a bit of reading, and came across some articles saying mergansers and goldeneyes have been known to mate, so lots more to check out. I'll leave the positive identification for now.Barrow's Goldeneye
Poor picture and unsure identification, but just love the intense expression when they stand up and "wave" as they dry out their wings.
Another bad photo of this cormorant, but I like the sun sparkles and outstretched form.
Three shots of Canadian Geese. This first one makes me laugh. It seems like a new four-headed and many-winged species.
Bill ran up and down the path, keeping Black Jack entertained, and checking on me, while I at times sat, and at other times, balanced on crutches to take pictures.
The sky was a brilliant blue, and the seagulls majestic in flight.
A Spotted Towhee inspecting a fallen leaf.
Bill and Black Jack with sun in their eyes.
And, a final one of Black Jack because I love her face and body expression.
Thanks for reading and not to worry please. I am doing well!