John Sullivan – Urbana, IL Yesterday (17 June, 1997 in Minneapolis) I had an accident on my bike. It’s really funny because I can’t remember at all what happened (or anything else from around 10am-2pm). I seem to be doing fine now, though. I left the house sometime close to 10 yesterday to take the car in for repairs, and had my bike in the trunk to then ride into campus. I parked half a block from the garage, to unload the bike, and in the process lost my car key—it must have fallen off my keyholder. I searched around on the ground for it, and in the trunk, but couldn’t find it anywhere, so I decided to bike home and get the spare key.
I tried to remember later what route I might have taken from 37th & Cedar to home, but even driving the different possibilities couldn’t bring any of them into my memory. I must have fallen forward while the bike fell to the left: I have a very sore spot on my lower left ribs, where presumably I hit the corner of the handlebar stem. I’m scraped on the left shoulder, elbow, hip and outer thigh. I also have some scrapes on the inside of that thigh, and the right knee and leg, which I assume are from parts of the bike. The outer layer of fabric on my left shirt shoulder was completely rubbed away.
As I said I have no recollection of what might have caused the accident, or of being hit or on the ground or anything. I must have picked myself up and gotten home. The bike ended up in its usual spot, and I had taken off my helmet and gloves in the living room. At 10:46 (presumably about 10 min after I got home) my friend Sandy luckily happened to call for me. She recognized immediately that I was confused. Evidently I said “I think I fell on my bike” but wasn’t sure where I had been; I kept repeating questions like “Did I call you?”. She kept me on the phone for half an hour, then phoned my mom who called me, while Sandy got a coworker to drive her over to pick me up and take me to the emergency room.
I have only slight recollections of these phone conversations, but evidently I was very confused and asking what month it was, etc. I hadn’t figured out how to call the doctor, and evidently had to ask mom what to do when the doorbell rang. I have no recollection of the drive over (around noon?), or of checking in or getting my temperature and blood pressure checked.
Evidently the nurse told an interesting story about the blood pressure machine, which must have gone in one ear and out the other! I guess I still couldn’t at this time say what I had had for breakfast, or where I had had dinner the previous night, or things like that. I think I have full recollections from about 2pm, when I know I had been put in a little curtained examining area, and had a robe to wear. The doctor came in to talk to me, and I successfully remembered the words “ball, Philadelphia, tree” for five minutes. He said he’d keep me there an hour just to check, and fed me some juice, and a nurse bandaged all my scrapes. I was let go around 3, and I called my colleague Vic Reiner who gave me a ride home (to get a car key) and to my car, which luckily hadn’t yet been towed from the “No Parking 4-6” zone. I just took it easy, but didn’t sleep too well. Today I really feel fine, except I’m a little tired, and while driving I thought I felt slightly car sick. I hope that’s not a sign of nausea caused by bleeding in the brain, but I think it’s just from all the stress I’ve been under.
My ribs do still hurt quite a bit if I breathe deeply, or sit up from bed or make certain other motions. I just wish I could know what happened on my bike. I called the police, but the guy I talked to said if they had been called to the scene, they surely would have sent me to the hospital, and that he was on duty yesterday morning but didn’t remember anything on the radio about a bike accident. The only damage to the bike is the front wheel being now saddle-shaped, and it seems the left side of the handlebars must have hit ground, as the tape is pockmarked from stones on that side. But there’s no sign of damage to my left pannier or pedal. I don’t seem to have any wrist pain or scruff marks on my gloves.
My helmet seems undamaged, and there’s no pain in my neck, but I’m sure glad I was wearing the helmet. I suppose I should get a new helmet now. (And I don’t know if I can salvage this wheel.)