Pro-tip: When you know something is wrong with the brakes on your bike, do not ride it to get it fixed. Duh.
So I may have named the minor pothole in my leg “Divot”. Yeah yeah, I like naming things, maybe that’s weird. Whatever.
Here’s the story of how Divot came to be.
Arrived home from vacation and had one full day before needing to go back to work. Had discovered on my inaugural bike ride with Ted that the back break of my new bike was sticking. This made it pretty difficult to ride over long distances. I wanted to get my bike fixed before work commenced again. Contemplated briefly if I should drive my bike over to Sports Basement. Once I plotted the bike path from my house to the store, the ride was only 5 miles. The distance didn’t seem too bad and would be a good way to get in exercise for the new year.
Right after stopping and starting at one of the lights before the San Tomas bike path, the brake locked up against the wheel. While the lockup didn’t throw me, the sound was annoying and I looked back to see if I could kick it back into place. Looking backward to kick the tire I ended up hitting a pothole and flying off my bike to land on my right knee. Since I love wearing long sleeves with thumb holes this saved my right hand from being ripped up. Looking down at the sleeves the fabric was pilling but no rips or tears.
I looked down at my knee, and my pants were ripped but the skin looked intact. Wow, really? I got away from the incident with no injuries. Amazing!
Rode the rest of the way to Sports Basement where I checked in my bags at the front desk and headed to the bike department. Waiting around for the repair guy, I felt a stinging and noticed a darker black spot on my pants right below the hole on my leg. I moved the pants around and came face to face with Divot. Super gnarly bloody mess with shreds of skin and dirt intermingled. My compression pants had helped do some of the clottings and prevented me from noticing how bad the wound actually was.
Wow Jess, did you really think you got away with a helmet cracking bike accident with no actual injury? Ha… you are delusional. (Yeah, sometimes I talk to myself in the 3rd person.)
Finally, when the bike repair guy freed up from helping a customer, I explained what was wrong with the bike and asked for a first aid kit. While he repaired my bike, I sat in the back of his office with peroxide trying to gently remove the dirt from the wound without ripping off the pieces of skin. Sadly I didn’t do the best job since it burned like hell, but I did what I could and threw on a nice huge patch of gauze and Neosporin.
So the back brake was loose all along. Sigh. Meanwhile I had posted a lovely photo of my new friend Divot to Facebook and Insta. Jason saw the photo on Facebook and texted:
Jason: Your leg!!!
Jason: You okay?
Me: I don’t think I’ll make it boarding.
Jason: Is it just your knee or more?
Me: I mean I could
Jason: 🙁 sorry dude
Jason: Uhhhh probably not the best idea
Jason: If you fall on it it would be killer
Me: I lost a whole layer of skin on my knee 🙁
Jason: Uhhh you ok to bike home?
Me: Yeah I think so
Jason: Or you need a ride?
Me: It’s ok it’s like 20 mins home
Jason: Mmm ok
Jason: Take it slow…
During the uneventful ride home, my brakes didn’t stick anymore. After getting home the gauze was seeping through my makeshift bandage, and I was worried about getting an infection so I decided to haul myself to Urgent Care.
Get to the front desk and explain my issue and they mention the wait will be 2 hours. This was not a shocker since I’ve been to Urgent Care enough times. I had prepared by bringing a book to read and some snacks. A father of a sick child-paced nervously in front of me, making clicking sounds.
Finally, I make it in to see the doctor, but before that one of the nurses gets my information.
Male nurse: Ok so can I get your age and weight?
Me: Geez we just met. Can you buy me a drink first?
Male nurse: [laughs]
Once in the room, they have me change into wonderful patients pants. Better than a gown they have these absurdly huge knee-length pants. Hooray for not having my butt and back in the wind.
Crud, they have no tetanus shot record for me on file. The nurse explains how lockjaw can murder you and this description convinces me that I need a tetanus shot. I’m not afraid of needles, but this is just a pain.
Another nurse comes in to clean my wound. She has some kind of disinfectant solution, which she drizzles over Divot. It burns, it burns! Then she turns to me, looks me straight in the eyes and says she’s going to start rubbing to get the dirt out. Wild terror fills me as I realize that there will be no numbing agent that is going come before the rubbing. I take a deep breath and tell her to go ahead. Ugh. As I gritted my teeth, my only thoughts were of regret, “Why did you have to go biking when you knew the brakes were not quite right?”
Shortly after the nurse finishes rubbing the doctor comes in, checks to see if anything besides my spirits are broken of which there isn’t, and then begins clipping away the dead skin and picking out remaining debris with tweezers. This hurts significantly less than the scrubbing. The first thing most people ask me about my injury was if I needed stitches, but when you get road rash, there isn’t actually anything to stitch up since the skin is completely ruined on the surface.
The doctor explains how to take care of the wound by keeping it moist with an anti-bacterial cream she’s going to prescribe me, and by keeping the wound moist it’ll prevent bad scarring. Learnings. I didn’t know it’s better to keep surface wounds like this moist.
The doctor leaves and a new male nurse comes in since there was a shift change. He looks at Divot and comments that it still doesn’t look super clean if he had done the rubbing he would not have gone easy on me like the previous nurse did. I cringe. That was easy? He holds out a tongue depressor and jokes that I should bite on it while he repeats the scrubbing, but no, he’s not actually going to do it. His job was only to wrap up the wound.
Once wrapped my knee looks like I’m cosplaying Rey from Star Wars. The nurse gives me a handful of supplies to change the bandages with and lets me know to change it twice a day. I limp my sad self out of Urgent Care and drive to the pharmacy to get my prescription anti-bac cream and more bandages.
The nice thing about this incident was that a lot of friends that I normally just chat online with either called me or texted to see if I was ok. Another positive was that I got to wear an arsenal of skirts that I never wear because I’m lazy. Couldn’t comfortably wear pants for a week as I only have skinny jeans and they wouldn’t fit over the bandage, not to mention the friction against Divot would be extremely painful from wear jeans. On Instagram, Stevo taught me about Tegaderm, it’s an extremely thin second skin like bandage that is both breathable and waterproof. This would help me wear pants again! I immediately ordered this from Amazon.
Divot! You totally prevented me from going boarding. Grrrr. Then another night Divot woke me up with searing pain since I rolled onto him in my sleep.
But out of that 4 am wake up call, I sleepily signed up for my first full marathon.
There’s something about being injured or sick that really makes you feel entirely too human, but several good things did come out of it. It helped remind me that I am surrounded by a lot of people that care about me, and allowed me to think how I’m not going to let this injury stop me, instead I’m going to treat myself to another “first”.