She was just going out for a short bike ride around her neighborhood. It didn’t seem necessary to carry an ID, or even wear a helmet. Ten minutes later she was found lying on the ground unconscious near a bike path. The bystander who found her, called 911 and an ambulance arrived soon afterwards. Then a kind Emergency Medical Technician whisked her off to the emergency room with her mind constantly weaving in and out of consciousness. After numerous X-rays and cat scans she ended up in the neuro unit of the hospital for observation.
This is a true story. It happened to me back in 2008 in Fort Collins. My own tumble over the handle bars and into a nasty bike accident, led to fractured ribs, an injured wrist and thigh, and a traumatic brain injury.
This is my warning to you who think riding a bike is still as easy as climbing back on again.
Injuries among older riders have jumped dramatically in recent years. Between 1998 and 2013, bike injuries among all adults over the age of 18 increased 28 percent, while hospital admissions jumped 120 percent. Head traumas went from 10 percent to 16 percent of all injuries in the same period.
Older bicyclists fueled much of that increase in injuries, especially ones that required an emergency room visit. Injuries among those 45+ jumped 81 percent and hospital admissions increased 66 percent, from 39 percent to 65 percent of total injuries. While death rates for cyclists younger than 15 fell by 92 percent between 1975 and 2012, death rates for cyclists between the ages of 35 and 74 showed a large increase, according to CDC data.
While I do not want to discourage you from healthy exercise as you age, be careful out there! I feel the effects of my brain injury everyday, especially when I write or speak with others. My memory is definitely not the same and it also completely depends on what area of the brain you injure. I find I tire quickly in social situations, and the first sign that I am getting overwhelmed is when I cannot think of the proper word for something, a difficult feeling for one who has always been proud of her ability with words.
On the flip side, my brain injuries (yes I suffered a second concussion after we moved in here!) have taught me to slow down, meditate more, and enjoy each moment as it arrives.
Besides now living in a quiet and contemplative part of Colorado, I have learned some wonderful relaxation techniques that are quite FUN regardless of your brain injury status.
Take care of that old personal computer up there! You only get one.
I woke up very early this morning, in time for the sunrise around 5:30…
… the light over the Spanish Peak is SO BEAUTIFUL at this time!
Amazingly long-lasting double rainbow up here tonight!
Words cannot properly capture the wonder and beauty of spring up here at 7,000 feet. Granted, it does take a long time to get here, but when it does, it is true magic. These yellow flowers appear everywhere, as shown on my heading above!
They are called Plains Greenthread (or Navajo Tea)
Among the Navajo Tea, I also find this purple Penstemon everywhere!
The lupines and Colorado Four O’clocks will come later…
but for now,
I am simply grooving on the beauty that surrounds me.
I was raised by a father who was full of purpose. Let’s face it, most previous generations thought the only reason they were here was to find their special purpose (Thanks Steve Martin in The Jerk!) I also used to think that meaning and purpose were important to find. But today, not so much.
Do you realize how many memes you can find if you search under “purpose” and then “images”? There are thousands! But one that particularly struck me was:
Needless to say, retirement can bring up all sorts of questions about previous and present purpose. In the past my purpose was apparently to go to work and do my job. Regardless of how I felt about it, going to work did give me something to do with myself. I felt useful most of the time.
With retirement I have so much more time to think about purpose, and I have come to the conclusion that most of what we do everyday has little meaning unless it makes us feel good about ourselves.
Now I choose to error on the side of passion over purpose. I know for certain that nothing I will do today will change the world. Few will miss me when I’m gone, so why not choose a few pastimes that provide pure joy for me right now and indulge?