Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Party Crashing!

Life on earth is a ceaseless battle between your existence and that of the rest of the universe. It is an eternal tug of war set on a rainy field day; to which your only strategy is coercing your fat friend to sit in the loop at the end of the rope to serve as an anchor. Typically you'll be lurched across the line in an anticlimactic few seconds and simply go home with blistered hands. Use any tricks up your sleeve and the fates will level the field by stirring up a bout of lactose intolerance or case of mono. I'm fairly certain the universe was becoming uneasy with my silky smooth transition into the cycling realm; as I was just dealt a random albeit excruciating and training-schedule-halting blow.
Last Monday, on a gloriously swift training ride though beautiful Wissahickon park, I suffered an epic disaster. While navigating a downed tree, my back wheel was violated by the grubby paws of a tree branch, and I was unceremoniously ejected from my bicycle. The wind was knocked out of my chest with violent force and I was lodged in a Venus fly-trap of mud, gasping for air and waiting to be digested whole.
Shock rapidly evolved to panic as I could not find the strength to breath; nausea came sharp and fast but the retching proved too laborious for my body to handle. I was found in a tight ball moaning and drooling in the mud.
As I was presumably riding at an effortless yet formidable pace, my riding partner was too far behind to witness the crash; she merely came up upon this surly absurd and chaotic scene. Helpful strangers offered assistance, and I did what any frightened, immobilized, and injured person does: I became unnecessarily combative and likened the sounds of their voices to emetics. After more peaceable deliberations with passers-by and many trips made by them into and out of the park for cell phone service, a sensible course of action was generated. We reasoned that since a substantial amount of time had passed and I was still unable to breath without agonizing pain or even stand up, calling an ambulance was likely the best decision.
A harrowing trip via ambulance was made to a local ER trauma ward where I was briskly escorted absolutely nowhere and left sobbing and alone on a gurney near the entrance. After impatient discussions with the hospital and EMT staff I was subjected to the most unholy of hospital procedures: the trauma triage. This included having my cycling kit cut off leaving me totally nude aside from mud splatters, fingers and/or needles in every orifice imaginable, and being forced to answer the same four questions to twenty different people. My pain-induced hostility and impatience was palpable and apparently yucky-tasting to the triage team, so a large dose of narcotics was squirted into my IV to allay my inappropriate rage. After the burning sensation in my neck subsided, the glare of the fluorescent white room dissipated to become a pleasantly glowing bubble filled with silvery-winged worker bees graciously attending to me, their glistening and revered queen.
A few X rays and either a PET or DOG or CAT scan later, the full extent of my injuries was revealed. I had no broken bones and hardly a physical gash, but my internal organs suffered some intense sloshing. My spleen had lesions and my liver was actually severed in two. I learned that much like my ego, my liver is needlessly massive. In an average human being, the bulk of this organ is primarily tucked in the upper right quadrant. In my extraordinarily unique body, my liver goes fully from right to left, serving as a kind of frosting to the delicious cupcake that is my abdominothoracic cavity. While this surly offers me some sort of extreme advantage survival wise, it also put me at risk for this bizarre and immensely painful trauma.
After three days in the ICU I could no longer stand the indignity that comes with being a patient. I left against doctor's orders and was not given any pain medicine or real advice as to my course of healing, aside from "don't do anything where you could fall". Obviously by being bedridden and drugged I had not been able to convey just how graceless and clumsy I truly am in daily life, so I took this advice to mean "Watch DVDs and eat pudding until it doesn't hurt anymore". And unlike haughty New Year's Resolutions, that is a self-prescribed regiment I can abide by.