Always swerve toward the grass

It was a beautiful fall day.  I love fall.  Usually the humidity of summer has left.  The evenings and mornings are cool while the daytime hours are just the right temperature.  September 22 was of those ideal autumn days.

To make matters even better, I had the day off.  And—to make matters doubly better—Luke had a baseball game.  A beautiful fall day, I didn’t have to work, and my son was playing baseball.  It doesn’t get any better.

I put my bike in the van and headed to Sioux Center getting there a couple hours before the first pitch.  I parked the van near the baseball diamond, unloaded my bike, and biked south to the street that runs east and west along Dordt College.

Just beyond the college I saw a bike/walk path.  Luke had talked previously of the bike paths in Sioux Center and how nice they are.  I hung a right and was headed directly for a yellow pole alongside the path.  The poles are there to keep motorized vehicles from using the path.  I swerved to the right to miss the pole and suddenly I was lying on the concrete path.  My glasses were bent and the right lens was scratched and lying beside the frames.  My knees hurt.  My hands hurt.  My face hurt.  There was blood on my knees, hands, and face.  As bad as I looked and felt in those areas, my shoulder was worse.

As I lay there trying to decide what had just happened and how I was going to get up, I heard someone from the direction of the street ask, “Are you okay?”  I didn’t know if I was okay or not so I replied, “I don’t know.”

I slowly began my full-body inspection.  I checked my limbs for protruding bones.  I checked my mouth for loose and/or missing teeth.  I checked my head for holes that weren’t there before I fell.  No protruding bones.  Teeth were all in the correct spots.  Head was intact.  But I was bleeding.  Being on blood thinner like I am, and having a cut on the face where blood flows easily anyway, it was apparent I was in need of medical attention.

The lady that happened upon my accident (I never got her name) was prepared, almost as if she had been sent from above, which I wouldn’t doubt.  She had cotton balls in a little plastic bag and she had medical tape.  Who carries cotton balls and medical tape in their vehicle?

Within minutes there were four more persons there willing to offer aid.  Eventually I was helped to my feet and escorted to the van of the cotton ball and tape lady.  She put my bike in her van and delivered both of us to Sioux Center Health where I received some stitches and was given an x-ray along with some much appreciated NW Iowa TLC.

Sioux Center Health was a new experience for me.  I didn’t know a soul at SCH but at this point—suffering a fair amount of pain and losing blood by the liter—Betsy Ross would have been okay sewing me up.  I would have even accepted medical help from Doctor J.  Perhaps Doctor Seuss.

Assigned to my case was Doctor Koelewyn.  A wonderful Dutch name!  Nothing puts a distraught, banged up guy who just fell off his bike and is now in a foreign hospital at ease quicker than knowing his life is in the hands of a Dutchman.

Doc talked about x-rays, CAT scans, and stitches.  I reminded him first pitch of my son’s baseball game was scheduled for 4:30.  Whatever medical procedure he selected it had to be done by 4:15 so I could get to the game on time.

My face was stitched, my shoulder was x-rayed, and my bike and I were delivered back to my van with five minutes to spare.  I caught Luke in the bullpen between innings.  He was warming up getting ready to enter the game.  After he saw me the look on his face was one of “what happened to you?”  I told him I had a little accident with my bike.  “Looks like it,” he replied.

I don’t recommend falling off a bike to anyone.  It hurts.  But if you do ever plan on falling, I suggest you fall in Sioux Center.  The citizens and clinic staff will take good care of you.  But it would be less painful if, when swerving to miss a pole, you swerve towards the grass.

Mike Drooger (Edgerton, MN)