The inevitable has occurred and I finally fell off my bike.
Me being me, I had to do it in the most spectacular fashion possible with as large an audience as I could manage. Corner of Flinders Lane and Swanston St, just up from the busiest intersection in Melbourne. Actually, I should be glad I didn’t have my tumble on the Flinders St/Swanston St intersection because it is the busiest intersection in Melbourne and I would’ve been squashed flat.
I got caught in tram track. And that’s all I know. I felt my back tyre slip into the track and the next thing I knew I was flat on my back in a world of pain. At least I had my helmet on. It did its job and protected my head from injury as I slammed my head into the ground really hard. I’m also glad I had my backpack on because it protected my spine.
It’s kinda scary. I really don’t know what happened. One minute I was upright, the next I was lying on the road surrounded by a bunch of concerned people.
I hit the ground so hard my feet came out of my pedals. Yeah, I don’t do things by halves. I managed to skin my right elbow even though I was wearing a long sleeved t-shirt and a waterproof jacket. It’s not so painful now and is covered up with a bit of gauze to stop fluff getting stuck to it.
The problem is my right hip. I have an intramuscular hematoma, which is basically a bruise inside the muscle or to be really icky – a sac of blood that’s formed inside the muscle. I have a big lump and it hurts likes a fiend. From what the doctor told me, it’s going to take a few weeks to dissipate.
Ahh… yes, the doctor. That didn’t go so well.
I waited for an hour for my appointment with a doctor I hadn’t seen before (which is my fault – I should’ve asked to see the one I normally see). He was nice enough but I didn’t like him as much as my normal one. He checked my elbow first and wasn’t too concerned with it. The fun started when he saw my hip and told me I had a hematoma forming. They can be left to sort themselves out but one thing you can do is drain the blood out of the hematoma which reduces the swelling and speeds up recovery time.
Uhh, yeah – great in theory, not so good in practice.
It started off okay. He injected quite a few dabs of local anaesthetic but when it came to using the larger needle, he couldn’t find the right spot. He managed to hit it once with a smaller needle and quite a lot of blood came out. But every time he tried with the larger needle, he couldn’t find it. The was more anaesthetic but he pushed the needle in too far one too many times and I wanted to vomit from the pain. Then I nearly passed out. It was obvious the blood sac was located too deep in the muscle for the anaesthetic to work and every time he dug in with the needle, it was excruciating. My hip is going to hurt for a few weeks but that’s something I’m prepared to live with. It’s better than being poked with needles.
So today’s lesson was if my instincts are telling me really not to ride my bike, I should listen to them. The irony of the situation is that I was only riding into the city to take my bike in for its first service. And I was only at that end of the city because I decided it would be a better idea to catch the train than ride in the pouring rain which started just after I left home. Of course, by the time the train arrived the rain had stopped but I figured I’d already validated my ticket so I might as well use it. Everything just went wrong.
The question now is what happens the next time I get on my bike? I was lucky I wasn’t seriously injured and if I was made from tougher stuff, I would’ve continued on my way. But I’m not, I was shaking like a leaf and I still feel a little teary even now. The shakes have gone away but I know the next time I get on my bike, I’m going to be afraid. A little fear can be a good thing but if I don’t get my confidence back, I know I’ll lose something I love. I’ve fallen off before but for some reason, this feel different. Probably because it hurts a hell of a lot more and I know how close I was to seriously injuring myself.
However, I think I’m a cyclist through and through. My first question when I was able to talk was where’s my bike?