a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

Archive for September 12, 2012

the bicycle accident

< by Sandy, mother of Jill >

I was 59 years old when I had my accident. It was a perfect day in late July 2005. The day started as every day did, walking three miles with my friends. That night after dinner it was just Jill, my 19-year old daughter, and me sitting around the table when I suggested we go for a bike ride.

We rode side by side. I remember looking at her as she was talking, but all I could think of was that I was the luckiest woman on earth to be here with her in this moment.

Minutes later, we neared the end of our ride. I was ahead of her going down a hill when I heard a car screech to a stop. I looked back and realized she had fallen and I thought the car had hit her.

There she lay, and without thinking I jumped off my bike and fell pounding to the ground. In seconds, I realized I couldn’t get up. I could see she had gotten up and now there were people helping me as well.

We rushed to the emergency room and later that evening I got the news: broken collarbone and broken leg — tibia fractured in l0 places and surgery needed the next day to put me back together. This would be “life changing” the doctor said. I would probably use a wheelchair, walker, or cane for the rest of my life. Good news: Jill had only a mild concussion.

For the next two months I couldn’t put any weight on my leg. During this time, I had company and meals every single day. Over the next seven years, there would be two more surgeries, lots of rehab, and complications with infection.

But also in those years were changes of a different nature: Gradually, I didn’t need the wheelchair, walker, or cane. My husband designed and built a first-floor bedroom and bought a yellow tandem bike (to match my hair) so we could still bike together.

We went to Jill’s college graduation even though my leg was in a hard cast from my toes to my thigh. Ann, our eldest daughter, got married and we danced at her wedding.

I still don’t walk like I did before the accident and I can’t run at all, but at about 6:30 p.m. every single night for the past 7 years I still think to myself, “I am the luckiest woman on earth.”

This post was authored by Sandy, my mother, who has been described as “tougher than a boiled owl.” (She sure is!)

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What injuries have you sustained? Who turned out to be your biggest supporter during recovery?