19 February 2009

Them's the breaks

We're back stateside for a few days of final prep. We've got to transfer the cars, pick up the visas, arrange the actual move, take our immersion language class, cut phone and cable obligations, tie up the loose ends on the house repairs, etc, etc, so I was most looking forward to stealing even an hour each day for some riding. I can't remember a winter I've ridden less; between the schedule-hogging house work and episodic snow and rain that left roads and trails unpredictable in the freeze-thaw cycles, I've never gotten into a routine. Add in a week of eating out in Paris, and I'm craving some consecutive rides, even if modest, before the move.

Still tired and jet-lagged Sun AM, we took the mountain bikes to Sewell for a few laps. Fun place to ride, with log piles and roller-coastery single track. There's even a big teeter-totter set up in a sandy clearing, but not being the dare-devil type, I've stayed away from it.

I blame the time change, the Weyerbacher Heresy I had at Standard Tap Sat night, the Somalian pirates, the weakness of the US dollar, and most of all Karen (for awakening, through the France move, a willingness to try new things), for the split-second decision to ride the teeter-totter. Going up was easy, had plenty of speed. What I hadn't counted on was that the weighting keeping the entry end down meant I was well past the fulcrum, and about 7 feet off the ground and fast running out real estate, before it even started to tip.

The sensible thing at that point would have been to slow down and get my butt way behind the saddle and ride it out. Instead, I shrieked like a 4 year old and let go of the bars. It may be everybody else's fault I got on that stupid thing, but I have only my own lack of commitment to blame for the way it ended. And that was with a loud thud when the ground and I merged at high speed. It was not a surprise when the doc at the ER informed me that my ribcage is once again no longer of one solid piece.

Since there's a lot of box-carrying and cleaning up that's going to be a lot more difficult and painful with broken ribs, it's an inconvenient time to have had that lapse in judgement. But I'm grateful I didn't puncture a lung or damage internal organs that might have precluded flying, because that would have sucked, and worse, Karen would have killed me. It's ironic that only after leaving a nearly 8-year stint working on alternatives to existing mu opioid pain therapies do I finally understand first-hand how patients have to titrate pain relief with side effects. I'm especially glad that the French embassy didn't search our bags when we went for our final visas today-- the combination of opioids and a screw driver (we'd completed the sale of one of the cars in northern VA on the way down, and I had to remove the license plate) might have given them pause.

As it is, though, we're officially cleared for take-off. I trust we'll execute a better landing on arrival in France than I did at Sewell.


  1. I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! Well, you screamed like a girl but at least you were riding A TEETER TOTTER while you were doing it. *sniff* You're getting to be such a big boy!

  2. He screamed, and I was proud of him for not saying LIKE A GIRL. Good job, Rolf. My boy (the 10 year old, not the 40 year old) fell into an enourmous puddle at Mercer. Maybe you two should ride together? tee hee.