Thursday, January 17, 2013

Life is a risk so I might as well bike.

Hmmmm. . . . so as some of you might recall, in mid-December I had surgery on my knee for a torn meniscus thingy and to repair a chip in my kneecap.  The kneecap repair required that I keep off the leg and for a few weeks so my activity level has been pretty limited - and all of it on crutches.  To add a little excitement to an otherwise bland recovery, I ended up developing a deep vein thrombosis between the knee and my ankle last week, which was supposed to be my last week on crutches.  A lengthy visit to the ER, some expensive blood thinners, another week on crutches, and a slew of other medical appointments to monitor my progress on the blood thinners and here I am.  I haven't been on my bicycle in almost a month.  I thought about my bike a lot, went to a bike advocacy meeting and had a double pronged kickstand installed on it but I didn't ride it.

The thing about blood thinners is that while you are on them your supposed to avoid falls, sharp knives, car accidents and really just about anything that can make you bleed.  My internist would prefer that I not ride my bike since I might get "knocked" or bumped".  Kind of a tough situation given that the Planner Guy and I only have one car.  I have already been bumped, rather firmly I might add, earlier this week when I was putting my crutches in the backseat of a friend's new BMW and the back of the passenger seat flew back and hit my arm.  Ouch!!!  Really, ouch!  I panicked a little bit because whenever one has a potentially life-threatening condition everyone and his brother has a terrifying story about how someone died because of the thing you have.  Can you imagine the story? 

And she bled to death, right there in Kelly's brand new convertible BMW!

Well nothing happened except that my arm was a little sore but I didn't get so much as a bruise.  When I called into the BCBS on-call nurse, she calmly gave me the symptoms to watch for and none of them ever appeared.  I wondered how many times the car door would fall back on my leg when I'm getting in and out of the car, as if that NEVER happens!

But back to biking.  I've only been hit once, and the offending vehicle never actually touched my person, only my bike.  And, it was partially my fault for not making sure she saw me, which she didn't.  I'm even more cautious than ever since then.

Planner Guy finally let me drive Monday night.  I drove to an evening class and on the way home a reckless driver nearly took out three other cars, including mine, as he zigged and zagged between car in his haste to shed 10 seconds from his arrival time.  I am more worried about getting in a serious car accident while I'm driving than getting hit while I'm on a bike.  It's not like I bike on 7th Street; I pretty much stick to side streets and bike lanes.  If traffic is thick and fast I move to the corner and use the cross walk rather than try and make a left turn.  I think you know where I'm going. . . I'm going to go ahead and ride my bike.

My plan is to ride from Palm Lane, which has very little traffic, to Encanto Station and take the Metro to campus.  It's a good compromise.  I'll even wear my helmet.  I'm a good cyclist.  A cautious cyclist who doesn't talk on her cell or listen to her Ipod when pedaling.  I'm probably a better cyclist than I am a driver (and my driving record is nearly spotless in 30 years of driving).  I can't live in fear of something happening, either in the car, on my bike or walking up and down the stairs.  All I can do is the best I can do.

I have an early evening meeting that I need to attend for class.  I'm going to bike the short trip, which is a mere .7 miles from my house and half a block from the ER.  Wish me luck.


DAN said...

You will be fine. I was hit by a car and went over the hole thing. I was not hurt. good luck

Ted Johnson said...

You're more likely to fall and hurt yourself on those stairs in your house.

Get an elevator installed, and for God's sake wear a helmet until you do.

She Rides a Bike said...

Dan, I think I will not tell my doctor you were fine after going over a car. This would not give her confidence.

Ted, for a brief moment I did wonder if I should have an electronic chair installed on the stairway. I realized that would be nuts and prohibitively expensive. Well, of course, I'm going to wear my helmet!! I might even visit Al to see if he has any particularly stylish ones in stock.

Thank you both for telling me that I will be fine though. I did survive my first outting.

Grace Black said...

I hope your knee and leg are better. I think driving has more risks than cycling but whenever I tell people I cycle the first reaction I get is surprise because they have never seen me with any special clothing or helmet but they did wonder why I carried a bike bag, then they ask me how I manage to be fearless in traffic. I then tell them about the free cycle training I got years ago.

I agree with you, life is a risk so you might as well ride a bike.

phillip wright said...

good luck with your knee.