As this world spins around and around, I’ve learned in 31 years to expect the unexpected. We all have plans and sometimes they match up with reality. Sometimes they don’t. I’m continually impressed with all of life’s scenarios – good and bad – I can’t contrive in my crazy head.
I had a good summer planned, and for the most part, it has been a good summer. I’ll have to “roll the dice” entering PBP with just a 300k ACP ride, and not the 600k I had planned on. Of course, none of what happened was planned. Certainly, when I went to Oklahoma to visit my parents over Memorial Day, I had no plans to extend my stay for another week. And as my father and I wrapped up our little 40 miler Memorial Day ride, I would have never guessed a dog running out in the road could cause so much damage to a human being.
I’m sure my father never even saw the dog, as I barely saw him being 10 or so yards behind him. And the dog may have whimpered, but when I found my father “sleeping” in the street with his helmet 20 ft in front of him I would have never guessed how serious his injury was. Sure, a little blood from his head and nose, but it didn’t look serious.
My initial hope was he would wake up, we’d call my mom and she’d come get us as we were only a couple miles from their house. Very quickly it became clear I wouldn’t be able to help him. Sometimes when we know something is wrong, when we need someone’s help, seconds seem like years. And sometimes, as was the case with the 12 minutes it took the ambulance to get to us that day, the minutes seemed like seconds. As the ambulance took my father away, I again miscalculated the seriousness of the injury and would have never guessed a week later the doctors would be bracing my mother that survival was questionable.
With the ups and downs, my father is “back in the saddle” so to speak. His injury was serious. A complete fracture across his skull and significant brain damage. The type of brain damage where you have to relearn to go to the bathroom and walk. He isn’t back at work, but he is functioning pretty well. Of course, with Ironman triathlons in sight.
Me, the least important player in this entire deal, I’m still screwed up over it. I’ve ridden my bike. But, I am scared. I’m scared of a freak thing happening to me. Something at night on a long rando ride. I was bullet proof 3 months ago. And now, my though skin has been pierced, leaving a wound of fear. I know what happened to my father was a freak accident. It’s that double edged sword that scares me – the “freak” which worries me. My father didn’t do anything wrong or crazy, yet he has all the consequences. We never know when something will happen to us, whether right or wrong, and that is the monster in these types of accidents.
As with many things – freak or not – time heals many wounds.