Almost Another Ghost Bike

Last Monday, my daughter Lydia needed to see her allergist, who was located in Corporate Woods, same area as my office, so I didn’t take my bike to work. In small recompense for that, I decided to ride to the local CVS drug store to drop off her prescriptions, then after dinner to ride back and pick them up.

I’m on West Lawrence Street at Madison Avenue, heading south, when I hit a red light. So I opted to turn left into the Mobil station. Suddenly, I see a car bearing down on me; the driver must have gotten his or her license from the Starman* school of automobile operation, as it had crossed Madison actually on the red light. I scream the s-word, one of those times that I think cursing is definitely appropriate. (Another time was getting a nail in my foot in 2000.)

I brake, of course, but I’m already over the center lines, so I also lean to my right and back. Somehow, I end up on the ground. Did the driver stop? No, but then he or she didn’t hit me, only almost did so.

When I catch my breath, I realize that I’m really sore on my left side. I drag my bike and myself to the grassy area in front of a theater, #10 Steamer Company, and just sit there for a few minutes. An EMT is stopped at the light, talking on a phone; I almost try to signal him, but choose not to. A couple minutes later, a woman drives by to see if I’m OK. I lie and say I’m fine. Finally, I get up, walk to the CVS, drop off the scripts, and ride home on the sidewalks. (Yes, I know I know I’m not supposed to, but I was feeling a little shaky, and walking was taking too long for the pain I was in.)

I tell the tale to my wife Carol, and she agrees to drive me to the urgent care place on Patroon Creek, parallel to Washington Avenue, after dinner. We figure that this is probably a better choice than the ER of a hospital. Of course, Lydia has to come too.

It is a bit surreal. I walk into the place, and I see a TV showing an episode of Seinfeld, with Jerry, George, and Elayne waiting in a hospital waiting room. This episode also features Jerry, Newman and Kramer waiting at a bedside of someone, George forgoing a trip to the Cayman Islands, and Drake coffee cakes. The next show, some CW soap with Blake Lively and Kelly Rutherford, I was trying to distract the four-year old daughter from watching.

Finally – and it was less than a half hour – I get taken into a room, and have my vitals taken. It was peculiar that I was feeling both hot and cold. Then I was examined by the doctor. Somehow, old Bill Cosby routines came rushing into my head. “Doctors are wonderful people, but they’re always touching something. ‘Does that hurt?’ YEOW! Does that hurt! Does that hurt!'” He asks me where I’m in pain, and I’m trying to use my right hand to show him where on my left side I’m bothered. Then he starts poking around. YEOW! Does that hurt! Does that hurt!

I go to get x-rays. Like Cosby’s doctor’s stethoscope, the x-ray machine felt as though they stored it in the refrigerator. Diagnosis: broken 6th rib on the left side, under my armpit, possibly from the handlebars, but I don’t know for sure. Treatment: rest; they don’t tape you up for this anymore. Also, be sure to breathe deeply and cough regularly, lest I develop pneumonia.

My wife takes the daughter and me home, then gets my pain reliever prescription filled at an all-night CVS; the one I dropped the daughter’s Rx is closed. Carol’s sleeping pattern skews early, so for her to go out at 10:30 pm to take a 15-minute ride to Colonie, wait 30 minutes for it to be filled, then drive the 15 minutes home is quite remarkable.

Unfortunately, my daughter became very wary of me ever since she jumped on me that night, and I screamed, “Lydia, no!” I apologized the next day. She will play Candyland with me, but there was definitely arm’s-length tension there until Saturday.

I’ve been sleeping in the recliner ever since, with a sofa pillow next to my left side because I can’t find anywhere else to sleep without tremendous pain. Other things that cause discomfort:
*the recommended deep breathing
*the recommended coughing
*bending over
*reaching with my left arm
*lifting things too heavy, even with my right arm
*walking down stairs (up is not so bad, though for the first couple days, I had to stop ever other step to catch my breath)

Also, the medicine can make one constipated. Gotta love those dried apricots.

The bad news is that I find it difficult to focus on reading or writing, and sleep is intermittent throughout the day, though the reading became easier as the week progressed. The good news is that I’ve caught up on watching JEOPARDY! Hey, there was a winner from East Greenbush, Pat Roche, a couple weeks ago!

The better news is that I did not end up being commemorated with a ghost bike, as a number of folks in this area have recently. A single broken bone and a couple bruises is a far better outcome than I quite literally feared.

* Jenny allows the alien to drive the car when he peels out. Jenny screams at the Starman that she thought he said he could drive. Starman replies: “I watched you very carefully. Red light stop, green light go, yellow light go very fast.”
I figure I’d been watching Jim McKay from the time I was 8 or 9, usually watching ABC’s Wide World of Sports with my grandfather, through dozens of different sporting events, including the 1972 Munich Olympics, until I saw him anchor football game coverage only a few seasons back. So we’re talking well over 40 years of “the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat.” CBS News had a nice piece on him here, not that surprising since 1) he started on CBS, and 2) his son, Sean McManus is the head of CBS Sports. Here’s an extensive, 2 1/2 hour interview with McKay in six parts. I particularly recommend the last segment, only 10 minutes long, where he talks about others.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6


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