I crashed my bike last Friday. I was riding east on Cherry Street when someone at a stop on 16th headed southbound across Cherry, right through my path. I braked hard, skidded, went down, and somersaulted up the street, ending up spread-eagled on my back. This intersection happens to be adjacent to Swedish Hospital, and I was immediately swarmed by helpful bystanders, one of whom was an MD. I felt banged up but not seriously hurt – but never mind, an ambulance arrived in moments, I was strapped to a board, and off I went to spend my evening in Harborview.
Many hours and two sets of X-rays later, the total damage report was this: one broken thumb. No scrapes, since I was wearing my customary head-to-toe leather and full-face helmet, nor even any bruises – but my right thumb won’t move without a great deal of pain. That’s it! Seriously – my muscles were sore but I had zero bruising. I felt like I got off easily.
Yesterday I visited an orthopedic surgeon, whose verdict is that it’s going to heal improperly – my tendons are pulling the bone fragments apart. I’ll develop arthritis in a couple of years and eventually lose the use of that joint. Well, that’s no good! So I’m going in for surgery on Friday; he’ll install three pins, which will hold my thumb in place for six to eight weeks, and I can expect three to four months of recovery before I can resume my normal vigorous life.
I was feeling pretty upbeat until I heard that. I have been experiencing such a small amount of pain I haven’t bothered to take anything for it since Sunday, and I’d hoped that meant the whole thing would blow over soon. Nope: this crash is going to change the shape of my life for the next few months.
Not riding my motorcycle is a hard thought to swallow. I’ve let it become part of my self-image: I don’t just ride a motorcycle, I am a person who rides motorcycles. How can life be boring, when I can go ride any time I want? Whenever I feel like things are getting too ordinary, up I go on two wheels, and zoom – I’m on top of the world. Ugh, I’m going to have to let go of that for a while.
I’ve been riding my motorcycle to work every day – now I’m going to be losing an extra hour a day commuting by bus. So much for the idea that working in Bellevue is no big deal. I guess I really am just going to be working and maintaining life for the next while; it will be hard to find time for extracurricular creative projects.
Skiing…. I’m going to miss the whole early season. Damn. And so much for my ambition to get back into climbing.
Oh, well, I’ll manage. It will be OK. It’s not going to be the winter I had imagined, but that was already going to be true.