Bicycling the TransAmerica Trail

Cycling Across the US, Coast to Coast

Bicycling Adventure #3

54 days, 3,783 miles, Jul-Aug 2010

Ray Jardine

2010-09-1Virginia page 48 of 54

Day 48, Virginia

Roanoke

We walked to a nearby store, while I was still wearing the hospital scrubs because that was all the clothes I had. And there we bought me some clothes.

Then feeling more presentable, we walked to a restaurant for dinner.

Jenny enjoying lunch the day after the accident.

I was eager to resume my trip, soon as I was able. Jenny wanted to continue riding also; but I was no longer comfortable with her cycling these Virginia roads. So instead she opted for plan B: renting car and driving sag.

My bike is in a shop getting new shifters, and should be ready to roll tomorrow.

I was taking about six showers a day with antiseptic soap to help fight infection. Even so, my wounds were weeping pretty bad, so at the drugstore I bought a box of adult diapers.

* * *

. . . Ray, you are a classic example of a self-sufficient mindset. When a person experiences what you did in that accident, your natural inclination is to get up and take care of it yourself. God knows! So EMT's were sent to keep you from doing the stupid, classic thing. (said with a smile) CONGRATULATIONS! In a time of adversity, you both managed to remain inspirational! THANK YOU VERY MUCH! - Rick M., Washington, DC area, retired critical care nurse

I wanted to comment on this second part of Rick's excellent post. Spot on, Rick and thank you very much!

The two EMT's "happened" to be driving by, just minutes after I was hit. I don't even pretend to know how such timing took place. If it was divine, why did the truck even hit me in the first place? (For those who think they have an answer, please keep it to yourself.   (I'm only joking)

Nevertheless, "The stupid, classic thing" Rick was referring to, is to get right up, only to die of shock a few minutes later. It happens to people all the time. But I like to think that I'm more connected to my body, due to all the time I've spent outdoors in challenging situations. And not only that, I was trained as an EMT myself, way back when.

Jenny tells me that I lay beside the road for 20 minutes while the crew worked on me. I had no desire to get up, because of the shock from getting smacked like that, although I did try to raise my head a few times for a look around, but the EMTs wouldn't have it. (But before they arrived I was moving my legs and arms.) Jenny also says the ambulance ride took 15 minutes, then I was in the ER for 20 min. Only in the recovery room, 30 minutes after that, did I start getting the urge - the strong urge - to get up.

So it took my body about 1.5 hours for the shock to wear off, and my body to want to start moving again.

I don't know what I would have done in the next few minutes after the accident, had someone else come along and offered a ride in their back seat. But I do know - in retrospect - that pulling to a stop in this area of the road would have been suicidal. The police blocking off the lane was the only way that the ambulance could get to me.

If it had happened somewhere else in a more safe location to park, and someone had offered a ride to the hospital, I think I would have lain there for another several minutes before asking to be drug off the highway.

However, when the EMTs and Paramedics first started to move me, in order to place the backboard under me, I experienced sharp pains shooting up my spine. So I could not have physically gotten into someone's car had I wanted to.

So the bottom line is, the EMTs and Paramedics saved the day. And regardless of the timing, I think that they were heaven sent.

The story has 54 pages. This is page 48.
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