“Helmets save lives”

I haven’t posted anything here for about three weeks now. It wasn’t until Scott mentioned it the other day that I realised he was right! Just over two weeks ago I had a cycling accident. Nothing life threatening but I was pretty bashed up.

Weed free allotment

That Saturday we were expecting a parcel so Scott waited in while I went and did some weeding at the allotment. He joined me later on, neatened up the edging and then we headed home for lunch before going cycling. After cycling out of our road my mind draws a total blank, I can’t remember anything. So most of the following is what Scott has told me.

We were cycling down a steep hill and both breaking — I don’t like going downhill fast so I know I wouldn’t have been hurtling down at a reckless speed deliberately. He heard a yelp and that’s it, I was down. We don’t know for sure what happened because a) he was in front of me and b) I can’t remember(!). But we think it’s likely I hit a pot hole or skidded on grit/gravel. Poor Scott had to leg it back up the hill to get to me.

He called an ambulance and a lady who lives along the road kindly kept us company while we waited. Someone also gave us a jumper to keep me warm. After forty minutes, no ambulance had arrived. Thankfully our good friend K came to the rescue and drove us all to the hospital. We went straight through A&E without a wait and into the trauma room — which sounds really serious but it was more because I was repetitive and forgetful and they were worried about my head. Also I kept asking for a peach bellini which is amusing because I had to Google what it was after the accident. Apparently I declared “helmets save lives!” about a thousand times haha! Maybe I’ve missed my calling as a cycling safety advocate!

The nurses sorted out my cuts, scanned my chest, did an ultrasound to check my kidneys/for internal bleeding and took an MRI of my head. The only part of that I remember is them cutting my bra off for the chest x-ray and me saying something about closing my eyes because of the laser beams(!?). But that’s my only memory between lunchtime and about 11pm. In the evening I remember seeing family and a sign on the cupboard door saying ‘anal probes’. Thankfully you don’t need one of those for your head.

That night I stayed in hospital. Our lovely family left me with a phone so I could text Scott and plenty of snacks; salted caramel cookies, Babybels, cheese and cracker packs and a fruit and nut selection! I’m pretty sure I was the only person in the ward with a buffet. I couldn’t sleep at all so I sat in my backless gown eating cheese in bed — which would have been pretty pleasurable if I’d been at home and without injuries. The worst thing of all is I thought to myself, I’ll just count the dots on the ceiling tiles until I fall asleep. To my horror there were no bloody dots!! So I ate more cheese. Re dots: growing up, we spent quite a bit of time in hospital for various family members, there were always ceiling dots.

Cake in a box

Sunday morning I was allowed to go home. Hooray! I was happy to be let out but really sore. I finally understand what people mean when they say they feel like they’ve been hit by a truck. Two weeks prior to this day I’d been all dolled up in my wedding dress. Now my hip was cut, my ribs were bruised, I had scabs on my hands and my left arm was cut and swollen. I was one sexy beast. Well, probably more beast than sexy. Talk about a test of wedding vows.

Bowl of fruit

Breakfast

Our friends bought round some tasty dinner for us and Scott did an amazing job taking care of me, I’m very lucky. Bathing me, tying my hair up, sitting me up, preparing all the meals, helping me get my underwear on and off and taking photos outside so I didn’t miss out on things. One such event being the Christmas tree I chopped into bits sprouting new shoots, dammit. Now I’m mostly back to normal. My ribs are still sore and I’m having trouble bending my arm past ninety degrees but I’m up and about. Things are good.

Narrow country lane

This Saturday we went and gave the lady who waited with us a bottle of wine to say thanks. I hoped it would jog my memory… but nothing. I didn’t recognise her or remember anything even after going down the road. Interestingly though, it had been resurfaced since.

The thing that’s annoying me the most is not being able to remember such a big chunk of that day. I’ve normally got pretty good memory and if I’ve forgotten the name of say, a film or restaurant, my brain ticks over in the background until it comes back to me. Not so with this. I can feel my brain beavering away but not getting anywhere. It’s not even like I had a serious head injury! Anyway, maybe it’s for the best; I haven’t been put off going out on my bike again.

So the moral of the story is. Helmets really do save lives. And I say that as someone who is ‘with it’ rather than concussed this time 🙂

6 Comments

  1. Oh Gemma!! I’m so glad you wore a helmet and you are on the mend.
    I had a fall a few years ago, before a triathlon…Not at speed, from almost stationary but down a fairly steep slope. I landed head first and even with my helmet on, I ended up with concussion and a trip to Stepping Hill. I’m so glad I wore my helmet and my husband always wears one.

    Hope you are ok, take care xxx

    • Thank you Jem! 🙂 Landing head first sounds horrendous, it must have been quite a shock for your poor body too. Hope you weren’t in too much of a mess other than a concussion.

  2. Wow, Gemma, that sounds awful. So sorry to hear that. How alarming to forget such a huge chunk of time. Glad that you’re on the mend, though, hope all the bruises and aches and pains are completely better soon…

  3. so pleased you are OK, what lovely support from friends and family. Helmets do make a difference. Have you got back on your bike?

    • I went for a short trip yesterday, didn’t feel worried about it. But I do need to get my bike serviced because the brake is stuck against the front wheel.

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