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.