Everything I’ve known about my life and my body has shifted in the last nineteen days. I took a serious fall and every day since then has been part of a painful and beautiful journey. In the trauma unit I recounted that I remembered riding and then I remembered “waking up” in the ambulance. Everything in between was black space. Until tonight.
We were in a different part of town, running a few errands to kill time. At a last minute decision we decided to check out one more store before heading home.
A stranger in the parking lot stopped us as Richard was pushing me in the wheelchair. “I’m sorry…have you been in a cycling accident?” he asked. I answered yes and wondered how he knew of my story. Maybe he’s read the blog or heard about it in the community I started thinking, but his face began looking familiar.
“I found you,” he said.
What do I say to that? I handled the situation politely, asking questions and thanking him for helping. His name is Dylan. He watched me crash and came to me immediately. He stayed with me while a neighbor of his helped by taking my phone and making the necessary calls.
I told him he was looking more and more familiar, but inside I was remembering him all too much. Holding back tears I remembered exactly who he was and I didn’t like it.
He told me the crash was “bad…it was really bad.” I fell on a patch of gravel going downhill. Apparently the wipeout was intense. He told me I completely separated from my bike, which I had been wondering since my shoes were clipped in.
I was immediately conscious when he came to me. Dylan told me I asked him to call my husband and told him where my phone was on my bike.
There was an unspoken intensity for the guy who watched me crash and for myself, sitting in a wheelchair, slowly remembering everything. We were both amazed as pieces to our own puzzles started to come together.
The memories started coming back so strongly. I thanked him, told him I was going to be okay and rushed the conversation to a close.
I told Richard I needed to go home.
I remember it all now. I remember his face so vividly. I wiped out and laid there for a moment before Dylan got to me. I was scared, I was confused and I was in a lot of pain. I remember crying to him how much everything hurt. I said I was scared and wanted Richard. He assured me help was on it’s way. I thought I was blacked out for it, but now I remember the paramedics picking my body up and adjusting me on the stretcher. I screamed. I remember that clearly now.
This crash has taken over my life. I lost my job, I lost my ability to walk, I lost my Ironman, I lost my independence. I’ve spent the last 19 days dealing with my new reality after the crash and that’s been hard enough.
Most of the time I’ve been easygoing about it. I joke. I look for the positive. After all, the only parts I’ve remembered have been in the hands of paramedics, trauma staff and family and friends. All I’ve had to remember have been the times when I was safe, when I wasn’t scared or confused.
Now I remember the worst part of it all. My mind blocked out that part entirely for a reason and I wish it would have stayed that way. Nobody wants to confront themselves as helpless as a child. Nobody wants to remember the pain or the confusion or the tears. But now, almost three weeks after the accident, I am reliving it all.