When the fire department comes knocking on your door with your husband’s bicycle in two pieces, with no husband in sight and the first words out of the fireman’s mouth are, “He’s going to be okay…” it’s never a good sign.
I was getting ready to leave for a jog; my husband had left about 20 minutes before for an early bike ride to beat the heat. I had planned to join him but I got up late so I didn’t ask him to wait for me. When I opened the front door a huge fire truck was parked on my driveway, a young fireman asked for confirmation that this was indeed Mr. L&A’s address while two other men in uniform carried my husband’s broken bike to our garage, along with his shoes and sunglasses. Again, no husband.
“He’s going to be okay. Your husband hit a coyote going downhill on [naming our cross street]; he was being repetitive so we think he might have a concussion and we thought it would be better to get him checked out at the hospital. He’s on his way by ambulance now.”
Relying on the first words of the fireman I tried not to be too alarmed as I rushed to the hospital five miles away. Cycling accidents are not uncommon in our neck of the woods and no car was involved after all…but knowing how steep our hill is and how easily one (namely my husband) could pick up speed, it gave me pause. When I arrived at the hospital, all I could do was wait. The emergency room staff was wonderful about keeping me informed but each delay for more tests when I was promised I’d be able to see him “in 15 minutes” raised the alarm bells inside me.
The good thing was that my husband was conscious and alert. Knowing that I was waiting to see him, he made sure that the staff assured me that he was fine because he didn’t want me, in his words, to “freak out”. It would be an hour before I was allowed into the trauma unit but not before I was prepped for the major road rash my husband suffered and oh, he has some broken ribs.
“How many?” I asked.
“Six” was the reply.
Because of all my worries about head trauma it never occurred to me to ask about other injuries. It was at this point that all my composure went out the window and I fell apart. My strong, invincible husband suffered major injuries–the worst news one could possibly hear. He has always been such a careful cyclist, an excellent bike handler and has always encouraged a safety-first cycling mentality. I pulled myself together before being escorted to the trauma unit but promptly fell apart again as soon as I spotted my husband on a gurney, cycling clothes half torn off by the pavement, bloody, with major open wounds all over. The ironic thing was that he started to console me. “I’ll be okay,” he said. “They said we’ll still be able to go on our trip in August.” As if I cared about the trip at that point.
I’m usually the strong one. I’m the one who stays calm during a storm but seeing your husband so badly beaten up apparently can turn a grown woman into a blubbering little girl. Not my finest hour.
In a nutshell, my husband suffered a concussion, a bruised lung, a broken bone in his left hand and several broken ribs. His bicycle broke in two pieces upon impact with the coyote (he was going downhill at about 35 mph) and his helmet split, absorbing the impact when he flew over his bike and crashed on the pavement. He rolled downhill for a while before finally stopping.
He was in the secondary intensive care unit for a couple of days because of the risk of pneumonia but the doctors all said that because of his overall good health, he is expected to recover completely. As bad as all the injuries sound, we know that it could have been so much worse and we are so very thankful.
We are now on Week 2 of being at home. I will admit that the first 24 hours were extremely challenging, for me and for my husband. Because of the broken ribs he couldn’t sit up or lie down in bed without my help. And since he has 80 pounds and eight inches on me, it has been no easy task. Quickly we discovered ways to make things easier by using things around the house. Our step stool was great for pushing himself further into the bed. He would sit on the edge and push himself then I would swing his legs over to get the rest of his body in position. We used all our pillows in the house to keep him propped up and comfortable. I had no idea what it would take to provide round-the-clock care but we have managed and with each day that has passed it has gotten easier…though not just a little tiring.
For the last few days he’s been able to get in and out of bed on his own, has increased mobility, has graduated to sitting on the chair in the living room and no longer needs to use his cane. Follow up appointments with our doctors confirmed that my husband is recovering very well though they made him promise that he would not get back on the bike until all pain has gone away.
You might be curious to know what happened to the coyote. This was actually my animal-loving husband’s first question at the hospital. No one knows. He ambled away from the scene and we both hope he survived.
The kitchen has been closed for the last two weeks but should be re-opening again soon. It will be a good time to finally share the next installment of our trip last year and hopefully finish the series before we leave for this year’s trip at the end of August. When I do start cooking again, I think the first thing on the list to make will be goodies for the fire department and all the people who were so kind and helpful throughout this frightening ordeal.
I want to thank everyone–friends, family and readers—for all your prayers and words of support. I appreciate it so much!!!