Saturday, December 29, 2012

A New Year, a New Promise - Part One

For the latter half of December, I had been taking my winter bike out with studded tires, mostly through the wooded trails in nearby Brown Deer Park. I went there at night, after a recent snowfalls, with my high-powered LED headlight leading a visual path through the darkness. I was an incredible experience: peaceful, moody, and even a bit spooky. A nice change of pace from riding on the roads. I had no concern of traffic, but the narrow trails still offered a bit of a challenge. A whole new world. Then there was a day of partial melting about a week ago. Last Sunday, the day before Christmas Eve, I decided to go for a ride. A road ride. There still were patches of ice on the roads, but it seemed clear enough that I could maneuver my way around them. The traffic was light. It all would have been fine, except for the fact that I decided to take my regular road bike out with smooth, narrow tires. I was no more than 4 blocks from home that choice of ride proved to be the mistake. As I was slowly climbing a hill when my tires suddenly slipped from under me. I was climbing out of the saddle, firmly gripping the handlebars, so there was no way to react in time and brace myself. Within a matter of a second, I landed directly and completely on my left hip.

I knew it was a hard fall. I don't remember much of the next few minutes, other than trying to get up and just stand. My left leg was out of commission. I believe it took me almost 10 minutes before I could actually pull myself up with the power of my right leg alone. I'm sure it took me so long to get back up because of the pain. And when I finally did get up, I confirmed the fact that I could not apply any weight on the left leg. Besides the pain, even the smallest amount of weight applied produced the sensation that my foot was slipping on ice. And yet, when I looked down, the foot was on dry, solid pavement. A vert strange feeling. It was obvious to me at that point that the slippage was occurring in the leg itself, and most likely in the hip are. Had I torn a muscle or other connective tissue so that there was no reliable physical connection between my hip and foot? I had never experienced anything like this before, so I figured this is probably what had happened.

Even when I tried to lift it, the weight on the leg alone produced the same excruciating pain. I immediately pulled my cell phone out and called my wife. I needed to be picked.

When Linda got there, she tried to position that car so I could just take a couple very short hops to the car seat on my right leg. But because I couldn't even left the leg hang by it's own weight, that proved impossible and very, VERY painful. I couldn't move from that stop one inch! At this point I was concerned with the cold and possibly going into shock. My wife found her trusty old wool car blanket, a gift from her late father from WWII. Then she called 911. Within minutes, paramedics were there and assessing the situation. A few of them cautiously helped lower me onto a stretcher, and I was loaded into the ambulance.


  1. Oh my goodness. I hope you are healing well.

  2. Thank you, Ann. So far I'm doing okay. I broke the femur in my left leg. The result was a complete hip replacement. It will be a long process, but I know the Great Healer personally! ;)
    Hope you had a good Christmas and are doing well.