“In your face” took on an entirely new meaning for me while on vacation a couple weeks ago. One minute I was cycling along a quiet Adirondack road. The next, SMACK! I was face down on the pavement making hurt animal noises.
“I broke my nose,” I wailed to my husband, who rounded the bend too late to witness my flight over the handlebars but plenty soon enough to see the blood pouring down.
We quickly concluded I was more or less intact. No loss of consciousness. Mind was clear. Bleeding controllable. So we climbed back on our bikes and slowly tootled on back to the camp. (Adirondack word for cottage.)
The phone triage nurse kindly provided by our health insurance company reassured me after lengthy questioning that an ER visit wasn’t necessary, and advised on home care and what to watch for regarding head trauma. Yes, I was wearing a helmet.
So our low-key, relax-and-relax-some-more-then-take-a-nap vacation got dialed back a little. I rested, entertaining myself and my long-suffering husband with detective work as new bruises emerged, trying to figure out from the shape and location of the marks what hit what when.
I’m home now and my ENT doc assures me that, yes, the nose is broken and no, it doesn’t need repair. Yay! But still, I’m feeling just a tad bit fragile. Friends who’ve taken such spills tell me this is to be expected. And this isn’t my first rodeo (so to speak) so even as my body’s still going, Whaaaa?????, my mind knows they’re correct.
And I expect a full recovery, including a return to cycling as soon as I can put weigh on my hands and arms (I hit so hard my triceps are STILL sore.)
Morals of the story:
Mindfulness isn’t just for calming yourself. It’s also about being present where you are so you don’t hit the pothole, panic and brake too hard too soon.
While panic is not useful, it can’t, by definition, be prevented in the moment. Advance treatment, through prayer and meditation, rest, good nutrition and smart therapy, is advised. I’m on the case, but being on the case doesn’t mean that shit doesn’t happen.
Shit happens. My dentist broke his leg skiing. Broke his arm taking out the garbage. A friend nearly broke her back tumbling down a full set of stairs in her house. My son, when he was three, broke his collar bone falling out of bed, a mattress on the floor. And that’s just the ordinary stuff. For now at least, let’s not even go toward the evils folks do.
Fun involves risk. Sometimes even requires risk. I will not give up cycling. I will, however, always wear long sleeves and long pants from now on. My elbow was scraped open though the sweatshirt. Let us not imagine the hamburger elbow that could have resulted had I ventured out with more skin showing. My knees, covered by my favorite stretchy jeans, were also battered but the skin was unbroken.
Don’t go global. My first reaction, after the shock, was, “Great. There goes a great vacation.” But within moments I talked myself right out of that crap—I was sill in my beloved Adirondacks, and still with my beloved husband. And I was still alive!
Neglect self-care at your own risk. I considered going sight-seeing the next day. I felt bad I’d ruined a day trip we’d sort of been planning. But, you know what? Healing takes what it takes. That has to be honored. Still, two weeks later, at home now, I need to be aware that recovery takes time, including extra naps and more time for soul reading and contemplation.
And thank God for the helmet. Amen
In fact, thank God for it all. Appreciation is a great state of consciousness. Life is precious. There are certainly better ways to be reminded than landing smack-down on your face in the road, but there it is.
All’s well that ends well. Happy cycling! Let’s have some fun, shall we?
You can read more like this (not including the broken nose!) in my other blogs here and in my new book, The Hungry Ghost: How I Ditched 100 Pounds and Came Fully Alive. Not just a diet book, it’s about finding your way home to your very own special soul.