Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Bike Accident

As some of you know, I started riding a bike for recreational purposes about a year ago.  It has been a great way to exercise and I have enjoyed learning all about cycling.  I have a good friend, Craig Schafer, who has been riding bikes for many years.  He has been a real friend in helping me to know what equipment to purchase and teaching me the rules and etiquette of cycling.  However, on the morning of August 5, 2011, Craig was not able to ride so I decided to head out by myself.  I left the house before 5 am and rode a few miles away where another group of riders usually meets up.  No one was there and after waiting for 5 minutes or so, I decided to just go by myself.

The route I choose to ride had a bike lane and always had other cyclists.  I saw lots of other riders; however, I didn't hook up with any groups preferring to ride solo and push myself through my workout.  After a good workout of about 30 miles, I was heading home around 6:30 am feeling good about my decision to ride even though I had to go it alone.  I was riding past a large Boeing plant that frequently had lots of morning traffic as workers hurried to their job.  I am always careful in this area because cars are often moving into the bike lane as they make their turn into the parking lot.  I was headed west bound and I noticed a car in the east bound left turn lane and I supposed they were waiting for myself and possibly other traffic to clear before turning.  I was traveling about 22-23 mph and the car suddenly turned right in front of me.  I didn't have much time to react but I recall yelling loudly and slamming on my brakes.  I was able to stop a few feet short of the car but my momentum threw me over my handlebars and I slammed into the right front part of the vehicle.  My left leg landed in front of the right front tire and the tire went over my leg.  As soon as my leg was free, I pulled back from the car and laid down on the street.  I felt excruciating pain in my right shoulder area and my left leg and I think I was pretty vocal about the pain I was feeling.

The driver of the car stopped immediately and got out of his car to check on me.  He called 911 and then apologized for not seeing me.  Soon other people were on the scene including other cyclists who stopped to offer assistance.  Someone asked if there was anyone they could call for me.  I asked them to call Camille although I knew she would be very worried getting this phone call.  The paramedics arrived soon and began to assess my situation.  They took one look at my shoulder and knew something was not right.  They put on a neck brace and strapped me to a board (which is very uncomfortable by the way).  Camille arrived just as they were loading me into the ambulance.  She was able to see me for a second before we headed for the hospital.  I remember asking her to check on my bike and to see if the driver was cited by the police.
Road rash
Soft tissue damage

Left Ankle

At the hospital, we spent a lot of time waiting for doctors, taking x-rays, having an MRI, and a myriad of other things that were deemed necessary to find out what was wrong.  They determined that I had separated my right shoulder (a few days later, the orthopedic surgeon diagnosed it as a 3rd degree separation) and had some soft tissue damage on my lower right back, and some road rash and bruising on my left leg.  They sent me home with some good pain medication and told me to see an orthopedic doctor in a couple days.  While at the hospital, Craig stopped by to pay me a visit.  I could tell he felt bad about not being with me on the ride but it probably wouldn't have made any difference.  He called a friend and they were able to give me a priesthood blessing before I left the hospital.

Ready to go home
My bike took a few hundred dollars to repair.  In addition, the doctors at the hospital cut off my riding bibs and jersey and my helmet was slightly damaged.  Fortunately,

My recovery has been much better than expected.  I heard from some that recovery was extremely difficult and painful but my experience was as good as could be expected.  I only took one pain pill after leaving the hospital and I had my arm out of the sling within a couple days.  The shoulder was sore and my mobility was limited but I had very little pain and recovered fairly quickly.  I couldn't run for several weeks and I didn't get back on my bike for a couple months but all things considered, the accident could have been much worse, my injuries could have been much worse, and my recovery could have been much more difficult.  I believe the priesthood blessing I received directly aided in my recovery and limited the amount of pain I had to endure.  Although I would prefer to not experience an accident such as this, I believe I was watched over and protected so as to be able to accomplish other things in my life.

3 comments:

Raleigh Crowl said...

No matter how careful you are, you can’t be exempted from accidents. I feel sorry for what happened to you. Did the car driver pay for all your medical expenses? You should’ve made him pay all your medical bills since it was his fault after all. How are you now?

-Raleigh Crowl

Cindie Guevara said...

It was good news that you recovered quickly! Also, wearing the helmet saved you from the worst case scenario. What happened to the car driver? I hope he paid for the damages he caused.

-Cindie Guevara

Amy Baron said...

You are very strong-willed to have recovered quickly than anticipated, Jerel! I am moved from reading how the other party involved in the accident, immediately went and check on you. Some would just leave the scene and let their victims be. Saves him from being served by a personal injury lawyer, right?

Amy Baron