Sunday, October 12, 2008

Two Kinds of Riders

There's a saying among motorcycle riders that there are two kinds of riders; ones who have laid their bikes down, and ones that are going to. Tonight I finally fell (pun totally intended) into the first group.

I went for a ride today. It was beautiful. High seventies, light wind, gorgeous clear blue sky. I had some small errands to run, so decided to take my Ninja. I did very well, even pushed the envelope a little in the speed department. To put my cycle in the barn, I need to execute a very slow and tight u turn to line it up correctly. Well, I miscalculated my speed by going too slowly, and the bike started to tilt too far. To get it to stand up, you need to give it a little gas to get the momentum up, something I've done on many occasions.

Only this time, the bike hit a dip in the driveway at the exact moment I was giving it some gas. My throttle hand jerked with the bike and revved the engine hard. I took out a support beam and hit some big saw horses. I got thrown to the side, and ran head first into the barn, while the bike landed partially on top of me.

Now, I'm not stupid. Or at least not too stupid. I have a brand new jacket with armor in it, and was wearing my helmet, so the only thing that got hurt were my legs. I'm sporting some road rash. My driveway is stone and weeds. It's pretty surreal when I think to myself, "Damn, I need to mow the driveway soon." (Don't get me started. I'll address that in another blog.) I have a huge lump on one leg, with some pretty bad gashes. The other has a smaller lump with brush burns.

Surprisingly, the leg that the bike landed on seems to be in better shape than the other one. Go figure. But for all I know it could be worse. Your brain can only process one pain at a time. Unfortunately it's the worst one, so that doesn't do you a whole lot of good.

Now the question is, do I get back on the horse and keep riding? Even though this horse supplies a lot more horse power than just one?

I mentioned in a previous post that this is not my first motorcycle, but I haven't ridden in four years. I've noticed I'm more leery now than back then. I know it's due to my age. I'm feeling my mortality to a greater degree. Things take longer to heal. I think twice before climbing a ladder. I don't play with as much abandon anymore. My dream of learning how to surf is dying a slow death because I can feel the physical limitations of my body much more than ever before.

I'm afraid I might be turning into a hypochondriac as well.

I don't have much close family. Neither of my parents had any siblings. I grew up without aunts or uncles or first cousins. I have some second cousins once removed, and some great aunts left. Oh, and one great uncle in Florida whom I've seen maybe ten times in my life. I tell you this because when it comes to family medical history, I come up with a big ole goose egg. Only the big stuff of distant relatives stands out.

Here's one story of medical import that is screaming at me right now. One of my mother's first cousins was a gym teacher. At the age of thirty-six (my age), she got hit in the leg with a softball. It formed a lump on her leg. In two weeks she died of an aneurysm. A blood clot had formed in her leg and traveled to her brain. So, here I sit as stove up as an old lady, stiff and sore with a case of road rash and a lump on each leg. Hmmmm. Do I freak out and call a doctor? Do I go to the emergency room? Do I go to bed and ignore it? I think I'll opt for plan C for tonight. Since Monday is a holiday, the doctors will be at home. So, my plan for now is to try and not freak out and then call someone Tuesday. Like I said, freakish hypochondriac tendencies are sneaking up on me as I get older. What's a girl to do?

Here's another little peek into my deranged psyche. After I take out the trash, I run up my driveway because I know that someday in the future when I won't be able to run, I'll miss it. Hopefully there won't be a dangerous psychopath on my tail when the day that I need to run does come along.

So what do I do with all these crazy little tidbits that crop up and confront me when something happens in my life? Dealing with getting older and the loss of youth are tough ideas to come to terms with. For now, I know I'll keep riding. The enjoyment outweighs the fear at present. But who knows what the future holds?

Hopefully, really slow psychopaths.


Natalie said...

OMG, Mandy!

I'm so glad you're mostly okay. Look at the family history thing as importance of awareness. A lot of people don't know a bruise could be that bad. Being checked out would probably be really smart, and I'd tell you to call today, since not all doctor's offices close today. Not even all schools do!

And I totally hear you on the mortality/fading physical ability thing. I don't like it much, either.

Ava Quinn said...

Thanks for the concern, Natalie. I'm feeling better today, and the swelling has gone down. But I'll still call tomorrow.

Getting old is definitely not for sissies.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Okay, call the doctor about your lump and your bruise. Do you know about compartmental syndrome? Did I ever tell you about my son almost losing his leg in college after getting a bad bruise on his thigh in football? Did I tell you about emergency surgery at 3 am and forty staples in his leg to close the cut they made and let hang open for 36 hours so the blood trapped in the hematoma could drain?
I'm glad you're all right but make sure you are.
And forget about getting old, just go do it all anyway.

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