I am advocate of blood donation. Having Leukaemia in the family how could I not be? As we all know the red stuff keeps blood cancer patients going during treatment amongst many other things. I didn’t however expect to be spilling my lovely healthy type O on the road in Kent weekend before last. In hindsight it seems a terrible waste.
As I was lying on the ground looking at the sky, which seconds before was facing the other way up, my initial thought was ‘Thank God I’m wearing a helmet’. This was followed by ‘Not again!’ and some very impolite words. You see this was my fourth, yes fourth, tumble in a week.
I had finally got the courage to change from normal pedals to clip-ins on my road bike. This had resulted two very slow speed ‘topples’ and some scabby and bruised knees a 5 year old would feel proud of. I followed this up with a freak pothole incident on the way to work where I went flying over the handlebars to land on my hands and knees. The workman, who took a break from digging up the road and making said potholes to help me up, told me I had a case for ‘a claim against the council’. I bit back my many possible retorts, thanked him politely and limped off the rest of the way, non-the worse for wear really but with yet more, even bigger, bruises.
So I was feeling a bit fragile even before we set off on our Kent based London to Paris training ride. However these things always happen in threes so I would be fine right? I was quite pleased, I was keeping up, even if the hills still hated me, and loving the scenery and if I were on my own or with people I knew better I would have been going ‘Weeeee!’ down the hills. (I can’t help it; it is a reflex). But then there I was again on the floor.
I hit gravel on a corner and before I knew it stopping my forward momentum with my forehead. Hence the relief I was wearing my helmet. I didn’t even realise I was bleeding from my elbow until the lovely medic on the ride Jamie told me he was going to sort it out if I just lay still, and honestly, if I go down I am happy for any excuse not to bounce back up. There was no pride involved.
I was finally deemed compos mentis even if I was exceedingly crap at the nose and finger touching game. It clearly takes a harder bang on the head to effect this thick skull. So various medical facilities and ambulances later (including a Paramedic finger puppet show) I ended up at Ashford A&E to be stitched back together. I didn’t want to look; apparently when it is my own body I am a bit squeamish and I now firmly believe that if any of my internal body parts are on view to the outside world then discussions should be made in code.
All I can say is a massive thank you to LLR’s Bekah MacDonald and Matt Lawley for sticking with me, making sure I was entertained, and got home with Doris the bike (who is currently undergoing her own medical attention). They made me laugh, my bruised ribs did not thank them for that, and fed me energy bars from their van, which appears to have a never-ending supply. What kept us all going was the freak show that is A&E minor injuries. I don’t think I am being too harsh, there are things I cannot put on this blog, or indeed ever un-see or eradicate from my memory, but the 10 year who shot himself through the arm with a barbeque skewer using a catapult deserves a special mention. Seriously. You could have cooked him like a sausage.
So my year of firsts continues with my first ambulance ride. One first I could have done without. I’m still stiff and banged up but hoping to get back on the turbo trainer at least. The date of the ride looms closer and closer and I am hoping that my run of crashes was indeed bad luck and not bad riding. Also I hope that the next time I give blood it will be with the National Blood Service and not too waste it on a gravel patch somewhere in Kent.