Old Broads Rule

Sister Age went off her bike again. This makes the third time if you count the occasion when an SUV helped her capsize. The first time she broke a collarbone,  the second time (when the SUV hit her) she ended up with a lot of hardware in her tibia and this time it was only stitches and the same damn elbow fracture I suffered when I was nine years old and caught my foot in a wicket fence. Her orthopedist was a real asshole about it but her rheumatologist seems to have handled it with class.

What happened was, she was up in Canada where her husband’s family has a lake cabin, and took her mountain bike out on some rural road that had some gravelly spots, and was just cutting the wind and having a blast when suddenly shit happened and she found herself in the ditch bleeding from a four-inch gash and looking curiously at her own exposed ulna. It’s a little unclear how long it took her to get to her feet but she was gamely trying to make her way to some sign of human settlement when a car full of Francophone locals caught up with her and whisked her off to the Indian hospital.

This was a triage hospital on a nearby Algonquin reservation, where she got competently stabilized (and pumped up with morphine) before being transferred to a more fully equipped facility. She and her husband have been vacationing up there every summer for years, so some Canadian friends showed up before the drugs had even thought of wearing off. Conversation turned to the current fashion for Canada-bashing among American right-wingers; Canadians, who would have thought it, are listening when Tea Partyers take to the Internet and accuse the current administration of wanting to impose “Canadian-style health care” as if it were a fate worse than death. (Perhaps the Tea Party believes other nations are so primitive that they still transmit information by Morse code.) “We like you guys, but we’re not as crazy about Americans as we used to be,” said Sister Age’s visitors. “That’s all right, I hate fuckin’ Americans too,” she replied out of her morphine haze.

When she got home the orthopedist in her managed-care facility looked at the tendon repair scar and sniffed. “That scar isn’t in the right place for a tricep tendon repair,” he said. “Those crazy Canadians.”

For someone who is almost sixty-four with a scar in the wrong place she is holding her own in the gym, not to mention recovering her range of motion better than I did at nine. Even her rheumatologist was pretty impressed by the joint mobility, and the fact she stopped her arthritis medication cold at the time of the injury, figuring that drugs for rheumatoid, which suppress your immune system, would just slow down healing.

“That was good thinking,” he said, then looked at her pensively. “You know, you’re a tough woman,” he added, as if the penny had finally dropped.

No duh. At least he didn’t say anything about Canadian surgeons.

I never go near bicycles, myself.


23 thoughts on “Old Broads Rule

    • Just a timely reminder that busted is temporary!

      I’m the district klutz — Sister Age has powered that bike through countless triathlons, while I can’t get on one and go ten feet without capsizing (and after I figured that out, I stuck to weight stacks and plates, which don’t go anywhere). She’s just a case of high mileage.

  1. I had to give up my mountain bike when I could no longer hike it up three long flights of stairs to my apartment … though I reckon even one of those dramatic accidents would have persuaded me to hang up my wheels long before.

  2. My bike has been sitting there for a couple of years–don’t know if I’ll ever use it again!

    Kudos to your friend–what perseverance! I will have to think of her when I feel lazy or blah about working out!

    • She is quite terrifying. I am a rock biter myself, by most people’s standards, but I can never say (as she can) that I was considered “too rough” for the clientele at a biker bar. All hundred and ten pounds of her.

    • I used to see the phrase in 80’s bodybuilding magazines as a descriptor for people who did workouts at the limit of physical capacity (imagine trying to bite through a rock, you get me).

  3. Had she been Canadian, Sister Age’s care would not have cost her a cent. Of course Tea Partyers resent that, especially those who had to mortgage their homes to care for someone close. But since they are real free spirits they would rather die than get “socialist” medecine…what a pity really.

    • I am not really sure what ails these people, but it seems more to be a feeling that someone else might benefit from a penny of theirs, even if it means they would benefit in turn down the road. They want to imagine that they have “choice” in a system whose costs leave few people many choices. (I think the US reform bill ended up as a pathetic truckle to the insurance companies.)

      I myself am concerned about who gets to define “medical care” in a unitary system, and about things like the draconian restrictions placed on dietary supplements by the European Codex Alimentarium, but histrionics about the state deciding when it’s time to shoot Grandma are a poor excuse for not trying to work out a full-access system. (Hilariously, lots of these Tea Party protestors voiced worried that the health bill would compromise their Medicare.)

      • I guess you are right about how the much diluted reform played into big insurance hands.
        Our system is not unitary. Broad criteria are defined by the Fedral Health Act but then each province adapts the “care basket” to their peoples specific needs which varies from ocean to ocean to ocean (Pacific, Arctic, Atlantic), the other ocean to the south is called the U.S.A.; and shooting grandma is forbidden up here.

          • Reform is happening in stages. This year (I believe) there will be state-run insurance groups for people who cannot get or afford health insurance by the private companies. By 2014 the major insurers must by law accept them. But I think that just gives the private companies 4 years to plan some way to protect their profit.

  4. Go Sister Age! Though I’m with you on the bikes – I last rode one when I was organising charity sponsored rides across Rajasthan in India in the late 90’s.

  5. Pingback: Witches’ Brew (II) « Sixteen Tons

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