After sticking around in Adelaide to see some of the Tour Down Under I arrived home with new motivation to train. With a new program and enthusiasm I set out on a sunny Saturday morning to do the Upper Brookfield ride, one of my favourites in Brisbane. It heads out along the western freeway, down Moggill Road and on to country lanes and past pony clubs. In the heat of summer it is often a few degrees cooler on this ride due to the shade of the mountains and the thick vegetation of the surrounds.
Unfortunately I never got to that part of the ride due to an incident at the beginning of the bike path where I was hit by another cyclist coming in the opposite direction. Taking the full force of the collision with my right shoulder and chest I actually managed to hold the bike up (not even a scratch on the frame!) but then the feeling of being winded and in extreme pain forced me to make an emergency landing into a soft garden bed, where I stayed until the ambulance arrived.
The feeling of being winded never went away during the 15 minute wait for the ambos due to a partially collapsed lung, and on several occasions I almost passed out. Quite a bit of morphine later and I was in the Royal Brisbane Hospital being treated where they also counted four broken ribs and a separated A-C joint. I had a pneumo-thorax (pocket of air compressing my lung) but they decided not to stick a tube in my chest but wait to see if it was reabsorbed by my body over time with weekly chest x-rays.
I can honestly say it’s the most pain I have ever been in. I was given a self medication button with fentynol which I refused to use after the first few times. Not because I was tough, but because every time I used it I threw up 5 minutes later which is not much fun with broken ribs. It did provide some entertainment to my friends who brought thai takeaway for dinner though. I have very little memory of what I said but remember nodding off into my stirfry at some point.
So 2 weeks on and I am still very sore. The pneumothorax is gone and I have my shoulder retaped every few days (thanks Kaz at Southbank Physio!). My ribs still hurt because that’s what ribs do but I am logging some good time on the windtrainer. The bad news is that riding in my garage is cracking me mentally! Sure I was smug when it was pouring outside and I was dry but now we are enjoying the last week of summer and the skies are clear. Another week or so and hopefully I can get out on the road bike. Psychologically it will be difficult but a friend, recently injured after being hit by a car, advised the sooner I faced it the better and I am inclined to agree.
In trying to find some positives in the situation I look at how well I dealt with an emergency situation. Although I cannot train normally or work I have focussed on what activities I can do and aimed to improve a bit everyday, even if it’s just to hang the washing out on the line. I have also used to the abundant spare time to catch up on some admin so my business is even better when I get back to it. I don’t think I will ever be ‘a lady of leisure’ but I am appreciating some time to just sit around, relax and heal.
Yes I am already planning my next race so stay tuned :)