I fell yesterday. It wasn’t a big deal.
The trail got really steep downhill and I was slowing, slowing, slowing down, but it was too rocky and there was a ditch/crevass/rut and I was going too slow. I knew I wasn’t going fast enough to clear it. I knew. I even tried to speed back up and hit it at the right angle.
And, I did an ok job. But, I started wobbling after my back wheel clipped the rut and lost control. I knew that was coming too. I knew. I unclipped and started to roll and it seemed like I was just going to fall down on my side. No big deal.
But, it was so steep I bounced and slipped for ten feet or so.
I sat up and did the check over. No cuts. No broken bones. Didn’t hit my head. Felt fine. Everything was fine.
Then, I passed out.
If you know me, you know this happens. I’m prone to passing out. It hasn’t happened for a few years and it only happens after provoked by something: altitude sickness, falling, bloody nose — something that changes pressure or heart rate or rush of blood to the head. I have had other heart rate episodes during races and after races and during hard workouts. I’ve been through all the tests (and, clearly, we’re about to go through some more) and I always get the ‘a-ok, you’re totally healthy, except for the predisposition towards passing out.’
So, I came to and sat up and did another check over: nope, still ok. I checked over my helmet: no dents, no cracks. No bumps anywhere on my head. No symptoms of serious concussion: I could remember everything, carry on coherent conversation (ask the woman I ended up yelling at), no blurriness of vision or nausea. I had no symptoms of any internal injuries. I had no external injuries. I wasn’t even hurt, except for some bruises and one big bump on my arm where I hit a rock.
I know from experience there’s nothing an emergency room can do in this situation.
There’s nothing to do for a minor possible concussion and you passed out. All you can do is wait and watch out and rest, lots of rest. And was it really going to be that restful to get strapped down and carted off to an ER and jabbed with needles — all still in my bike clothes and freezing? No. And, in the end, they were going to say: oh, wow, you have no symptoms of a serious concussion and there’s nothing an ER can do to solve the passing out problem (that takes a lot of tests, tests, tests – trust me, I have another doctor appointment tomorrow), so you just have to wait and watch out and rest.
It would have been an expensive and incredibly stressful waste.
The last time I had a similar problem — a fall, sat up and felt ok, then passed out — I let them strap me down to a board and stick me in a room for awhile and ‘rest.’ It was the WORST hospital experience I’ve ever had. (Steve’s broken leg was definitely worse.)
So, mom, grandma, Steve’s mom, go ahead and re-read those last four paragraphs before you stress out about me not going to the ER for no reason.
That meant the only thing to do was walk the 400y or so to the bottom of the trail, call someone to come pick me up, and go home. I probably could have biked home, but not a great idea, so I was standing and calling people to find someone to come get me when this soccer mom came over to me.
Her: Are you ok?
Me: (I have this tendency to not just say yeah, sure, but answer half-truthfully) No, not really, but I’m fine, thanks.
Her: Do you need anything?
Me: Uh, a ride? But, it’s fine, someone’s coming. Thanks. I’m fine.
(I really did appreciate the offer, and was thinking about how to get home, but it’s like a 35-40 minute drive from where I was at that time of day with traffic.)
Her: Are you sure?
Me: Yeah, I’m fine. Thanks. It’s fine.
Her: Are you sure your phone works?
Me: Yeah, it’s fine. It just worked. I’m fine.
Her: Well, there’s a security guard up there, if you need anything.
Me: OK, thanks, thanks.
Her: Just walk up there if you need anything.
Me: OK, thanks.
Her: Are you hurt?
Me: No, I’m fine, thanks.
Her: Are you sure?
Me: Yeah, I’m fine, thanks.
Her: Did you fall?
Me: Yeah, but I’m fine. It’s ok. Thanks
Her: Are you just scared then?
Me: (I don’t know. I got annoyed at this point.) No, I’m not just scared. I passed out. But, I’m fine, it’s fine, ok, I’m fine.
Her: You passed out?! We need to call an ambulance then! You need to see a doctor.
Me: No, I’m fine. I just need to make a call.
Her: No, no, you need a doctor. We need to call 9-1-1.
(And, at that point, I just lost it and started yelling at her. I really was appreciative of her offer of help. It was perfectly nice. But, now, I needed to make some calls and deal with this. And not with her.)
Me: NO, I’m FINE. I’m perfectly ok! OK? I just NEED TO MAKE A PHONE CALL. Will you leave me alone now? I’m FINE!