This week, for the first time in two months, I headed back to the office. There’s a lot that I still can’t do, and among those things is going out two days in a row. Nonetheless, it is great to be out of the house and moving around.
The good news is that I am now more than halfway through the non-weight bearing weeks (assuming my x-rays continue to show bone regrowth). As soon I as can walk again in late July, my surgeon says I can ride a bike again as well.
I’ve now met a few people who’ve had similar injuries. I am really happy that all of them are walking again, and none with visible limps. There are evidently long term consequences: I will never be able to wear high heels again (whatever), I’m unlikely to get my full strength back (still hoping that this one is wrong), and I’ll get early-onset arthritis (which I’ll deal with when the time comes). It could have been worse.
Interestingly enough, I am the only person anyone knows of who’s been hurt this way on a bicycle. A couple of people got similar injuries on motorcycles, but the vast majority had their legs shattered while riding in cars. They have asked me whether I’m afraid to ride a bicycle again, because they themselves were afraid to get in their cars. This is a hard question to answer.
I was rear ended by a driver who claims he did not see me or the stop sign a few feet in front of us–I was coming to a stop, while he’d evidently planned to whiz right through the intersection at 15 mph. This is pretty bad, and although it probably would have been less bad if we were in a car, part of the reason he was going only 15mph is because it was on a street with lots of pedestrians (one of whom was a sheriff’s deputy in the crosswalk) and a protected bike lane. I had only gotten out of that protected lane to make a left turn at the stop sign. If we were hurt in a car, statistically speaking, it would likely have been on a different kind of street at a much higher speed. The NHTSA estimates that the average American driver has a 30% chance of being in a serious car accident in their lifetimes. Those are terrible odds.
That said I suspect that I’ll be making Copenhagen left turns exclusively for a long time to come. The way that I was hurt was the least likely car-on-bike collision on the books, but the thought of stopping at an intersection in front of cars now makes me edgy.
I still would like to be back on a bike though. Most of my rare trips out now involve riding in a car or a bus (my right leg is the hurt one, so I can’t drive myself) and they’re fine, but it’s seeing other people riding bicycles that makes me wistful. Heck, I’d like to walk again. It has been so long that I wonder whether I will have forgotten how.