(Gentle Lovers rider and Portland bike messenger James Adamson took a hard fall racing at PIR a few weeks ago and suffered a broken pelvis. He’s put together a quick list here of things that can relieve or add to the monotony of life while healing at home on the couch).
BY James Adamson
To PB: I crashed at PIR. You think you can work for me tomorrow?
From PB: Don’t know who this number belongs to, sorry.
During any cycling career with a long enough timeline, the probability of a crash begins to rapidly approach one. On each of these unfortunate fall-downs, the roll of the Great Percentile Die determines your fate. Sometimes it comes up 1—somersault in midair, land on feet, amaze everyone, no harm done. And sometimes it comes up somewhere in the 90s—break stuff. It’s a good thing then, that when misfortune strikes and the die says, oh, 95, an army of professionals rises up to set things right. Doctors set, pin and reconstitute bones. Physical therapists bring back range of motion and combat atrophy. Coaches abound to drill sergeant a return to racing form. A dearth of information exists, however, on what to do while staring at the hospital wall, or as an alternative to watching the 30th episode of a Three’s Company marathon from the couch. What follows is a starter course of “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for the amateur racer who just cannot stare at that wall anymore.
From MB: Can I pop in and give you a playstation
To MB: I’ve got a two. But could always use a three. As long as it doesn’t steal my info.
From MB: Naw it’s a two. Want some games?
Do make people wait on you hand and foot. A serious bike wreck with the resultant injuries is similar to a bad break up. You’ve lost something you love (cycling/significant other) and are likely confined to a bed or couch. Also, there may be some crying. As with a breakup following an injury you are allowed a few days to two weeks (depending on the severity of injury and the awesomeness your friends) of self-focused wallowing, pity and non-stop wait-on-me-hand-and-foot service. After this brief window, should this behavior continue, you just start to lose friends. Fortuitously, these days coincide with the greatest pain, minimum of mobility, and when drug-addled, bizarre behavior is most expected. Take advantage of them.
To C: Are any of your nurse friends working?
Do throw modesty to the wind. Hospital gown open in the back? Hey, you’ve worked hard for those perfectly sculpted buns and shapely thighs, hobble along and let everyone enjoy the view. Likely your life (or for now) partner will not be able to touch you for a few weeks so glimpses of you struggling to get your pants up are as good for your partner as it’s going to get.
From BE: Dude, heard about last night, That Sucks. Summon the power of the ‘stache to heal your bones.
To BE: Thanks I’ll give it a shot.
From BE: A____ suggests you cast cure serious wounds.
To BE: I’ll get a plus five circumstantial bonus on my roll for mustache power.
Do read. You’re body is already wasting away there’s no reason to let your mind go too. Take care though to match your reading level with your medication level. Rereading the same five pages of Gravity’s Rainbow everyday for five days will only make you feel like you’re putting on a bad amateur production of Groundhog’s Day. Morphine pairs well with Dick and Jane books. Once you’re down to anything with Oxy in the name you can try books recommended as beach reading on up to things-you-should-have-read-in-high-school-but-only-read-the-cliff-notes instead. When you’re down to children’s chewable Tylenol you can break out the Pynchon. Groundhog’s Day is funny to watch, not to live.
To E: This is barbaric. This hospital doesn’t even have the decency to stock the New York Times and I’ve been waiting over an hour for some DAMN coffee. This is an outrage!
From E: Have you tried threats?
To E: Thought about it, but my proximity to the psych ward made that seem less than prudent.
Do take ridiculous positions in arguments. You may not get another chance. This is your opportunity to not take the moral high ground on anything. Per esempio:
Me: Chicken! You left the toilet seat down!
Chicken: Sorry. I forgot.
Me: I said it needed to be left up!
Chicken: I know, sorry.
Me: Hurry! I can’t reach it! I’m about to wet myself!
Yes, the sweet, sweet satisfaction of victory and retribution
To PB: My coffee showed up lukewarm. They are lucky my hip is broken.
From PB: This hot coffee I’m drinking is soooo good!
Do accept visitors. Gird your loins against the fact that some visitors will come solely to bask in the warm glow of schadenfreude. If you can’t laugh at your own misfortune, it’s going to be a long 6-8 weeks. At least you’ll have someone to laugh with.
To BE: Don’t need surgery. Headed home today.
From BE: It was the mustache wasn’t it. I knew it held power!
Do injure yourself during a grand tour. Preferably early May or July but if you must September will do. Regardless of desire, chances are you will be awake when these events air live either by forcibly sleeping in an unfamiliar or contorted position or because at six in the morning your medication has worn off. Get up and watch these live. The coverage is much better, and depending on how evil you are, you can now ruin it for all your square, uninjured friends who have to work all day and won’t have seen it yet.
From G: I’ll be by in an hour or two with medicine.
To G: Sweet. It’s unacceptable I’ve yet to have any booze. They frown on it in the hospital for some reason and I can’t walk to the Plaid.
From G: I was going to bring scotch or whiskey. Preference?
To G: Scotch.
Do not waste your newly grown liquor cabinet. Your friends, should you be lucky enough to have them, will bring you small gifts of food and drink. Accept these graciously, but do not waste them. Single malt is not used to enhance the flavor of Folgers crystals.
To CG: Hey I broke my hip on Tuesday. YAY! I was wondering about your crutch koozie.
From CG: I’ll send it ASAP, but you have to send it back when I break something! It’ll be the sisterhood of the traveling Gimpbag.
Do watch movies. Depending on the severity and location of your injury comedies may be out and…
Do not make Misery one of these.
To C: Will one of the plastic lawn chairs fit in the shower?
Do have a therapy beagle. Sure she’s just waiting for you to fall asleep to finish your sandwich and is only two meals away from eating your face off, but until then that cloying little beagle face pretending to sleep on your chest is the best recovery there is.