There’s nothing like the Willamette Weekly promising free coffee at a NE Portland cafe to get me biking along Killingsworth street on a beautiful Sunday morning.
There’s nothing like a head-on collision with a couple ton car to prevent me from reaching my free coffee.
Last monday, instead of blogging away at a promising new cafe, I spent a solid three hours in the Emergency Room, getting a CAT scan, and being painfully bandaged. The car that hit me was turning left from a stop sign and simply didn’t see me coming. The driver, a girl just a few years older than me, panicked and felt awful and called an ambulance right away. Luckily, a nurse in a passing car stopped and waited with me, and the EMTs arrived on the scene in no time.
It was one of those accidents that you’re painfully conscious of as it happens. I felt my body leave my bike, fly over the hood of her car, and I felt my face hit hard on the asphalt. The result was a large scrape down the centre of my forehead, a broken nose, and my tooth going through my upper lip. Other than a few additional scrapes and bruises, I feel so lucky not to have broken anything else or cracked my head open!
Other than a CAT scan and some strong disinfectant, there wasn’t much the nurses could do. My face was too swollen to see what could be done with my nose, so they referred me to a facial surgeon, and days later I had my “shnaz” broken again. The second time I was in a blissfully unconscious state on a plastic surgeon’s table back in Sacramento (the strong med.s kept me high as a kite and babbling incoherently for the rest of the day, much to my mother’s amusement). I’d been planning for weeks on coming home to CA for a little sun and family time before school re-starts. Now, I’m spending my time a bit differently than planned–shielding my face from the sun and waiting for this splint to come off my nose.
Blessings Come Wrapped in Gauze
So, the ER wasn’t exactly what I had planned for last Monday, and I wasn’t planning on my vacation at home being recovery time, but I’m actually so grateful for this “accident” experience!
Even though I insisted I was fine, parental protective instincts had my dad on a plane to Portland before I had even left the hospital. I stubbornly insist that I could’ve taken care of myself, but it was really so wonderful to have him there with me Monday night. Scheduled to fly to Sacramento the very next morning, I enjoyed a quick visit with him. Being able to go on a sunset drive around Sauvie’s island, talk and walk, catch little wild frogs, and share a scrumptious dinner on Lake Oswego together was absolutely amazing. It was a joy to share my stories of summer and dreams for my yoga future with my dad, to hear about my family in Montana, and get a little spoiled with his hot tea deliveries from Starbucks and chauffeur service.
Luckily, the car driver’s Geico insurance looks like it’s going to cover all our medical expenses and also my MacBook laptop, which suffered its own injuries in the crash.
One of the biggest blows the accident dealt to me wasn’t my broken nose, it was to my yoga practice. My head can’t sustain the pressure of going below my heart, and my body is still stiffly recovering from its flight and impact. On doctor’s orders I’m not supposed to practice my power yoga for three whole weeks. That may not seem bad, but it’ll be the longest I’ve gone without a power yoga class in about two years now, and a day without yoga feels a bit like a day without water to me. Even this though, is proving a beneficial bump in the road of my life. Forced to slow down a bit, I’m realising the importance of looking at yoga in a new way. Whereas the physical practice has always been my primary focus, inspiring my study of yogic philosophy, ayurveda, and sanskrit, I’m now devoting most of my yoga energy to studying it in other ways. Thanks to a well-stocked care package of yoga material from my dad, I’m finally making time for more of the intellectual studying of yoga I always mean to do. Maybe this is what I needed to take me deeper in my practice after all.
Having your plans and expectations changed in the blink of an eye really makes you re-evaluate. Now that I’ve been forced to slow down, I can appreciate this time at home with my mom, be thankful for the strength of my body that kept me intact, and enjoy different parts of my life in new ways.
On the road to recovery, I can’t wait to have this splint off my nose, return to my power yoga practice, and get back to biking. For now though, I’m content to rest and every so thankful for all the wonderful support and well-wishes I’ve received from family and caring friends.
Since obtaining my injuries in such an obvious spot, I get a lot of long looks, blatant stares, and second-takes while grocery shopping or out-and-about. People have compared my “new look” to a lot of interesting things: a lion, buffalo, baby dinosaur, Klingon from Star Trek, or Avatar creature. What do you think?