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Marion Carter's own write-up.

Read first and then scan the pictures.

Look at thePictures

It Was Going So Well..

Friday, Tony Ferrari organized a bike ride from Niles Canyon to the bay,
and back. It was described as a ride so flat and uneventful that it could be
considered boring. Kathy came by my house to provide transportation for
me, and our bikes. In the privacy of my garage we applied a convoluted
orgy of bungee cords to our two bikes cantilevered off Kathy's trunk. They
were as tight together as any two snakes wrapped in the initial steps of
parenthood. How do they clasp one another anyway?

The bike ride was uneventful and some 12 miles or so later found us at the
edge of the bay, hard against a sign from Leslie Salt prohibiting further
penetration. After drinks and energy bars of personal choice, we retraced
our path, adding a side trip to Coyote Hills. As I approached the park on a
sweeping curve, two women, one of considerable more bulk than the other,
refused to yield my lawful section of the path forcing me to detour into
the weeds and debris. As I rode the bike path into the park I needed to
make a sharp right turn into a crosswalk, gated on each side by a guardrail
constructed of 6 x 6 wood posts. As I approached I could hear the sounds
of a moving car and I slowed my bike to near zero, trying to balance it in
that condition. Suddenly the bike lost all momentum, I lost all balance, and
I fell on top of a 6 x 6 post, my sternum taking the full blow. I was
convinced I had broken it in half, it felt concave. I managed to drag my
bike across the lawn to the lunch area. The pain was now unbearable and I
tried to sit on the bench but could not. I lay on my back on the wet lawn
for a long time.

The group ate lunch, assuming I would arise once again and ride the 11
miles back to the cars. Breathing was agony. We decided to leave me on
the lawn, clasping my bike, until they returned in an hour or two to take
me home. By now I was tired of the sun in my eyes so they removed my
helmet and propped me up against a tree like they do in the death scene in
a war movie, but without the cigarette. When Tony went to ask the Ranger
to keep an eye on me for an hour or two, all hell broke loose. The ranger
contacted the police, the police contacted the fire department, and they
called the paramedics. As this crowd of emergency officialdom
congregated, Tony produced his camera to document my predicament.
Determined to minimize the damage to my image I tried to wave and smile
every timed he raised his camera. The other occupants of the park
commenced group observation of the commotion around me, while
pretending they were not. I received various examinations and field tests
from the handsome paramedics. The ladies seemed more interested in
them than my predicament.

My blood pressure was 170 over 70 when it should have been 115; my EKG
was "irregular". The various officials' tag teamed arguments why I
should allow myself to be transported immediately to the nearest Kaiser
facility. They provided lurid accounts of past occurrences when their
advice was ignored and drastic results occurred. The theme seemed to be
that severe trauma to the chest could not only result in cracked or broken
bones, but a ruptured heart.

With Tony's cell phone we tried to obtain permission from Kaiser to cover
the costs of transport. No one knew the number and 911 was inappropriate
since we already had a full complement of them. The paramedic's said this
was a waste of time and assured me that if I would consent to the ride
their detailed report would insure Kaiser participation. After
considerable negotiation I reluctantly agreed to my first ambulance
journey. Imagine the embarrassment of being placed on a gurney in public,
wheeled across the lawn, and inserted through the rear doors of an
ambulance, all documented by Tony. They put my bike in there with me
for companionship. My feet were against the rear door and when I asked
what they do with a tall person they said they have them bend their knees.

Now the exams began in earnest and I could hear cash registers clinking.
A clip on my finger determines that I am low on oxygen. I figure no
wonder since I am taking the smallest breaths possible because it hurts
like hell. So they put me on oxygen. Then the first of many EKG's were
done and I am informed they are abnormal, what the hell did they expect.
They inserted an IV. In fact it was sort of like a hotel honor bar and they
were running up a bigger tab. They seemed to think I was in good physical
shape and kept questioning me regarding my conditioning programs. When
we got there the driver came around to the back and said he could not hear
all of it and asked me to repeat some of it.

Upon arrival at Kaiser it was very embarrassing to be gurneyed to the
emergency desk, with my bike, and explain what happened. They parked me
in a holding cell where I explained I was fine, just want checked out. I
think I oversold it and moved far down the triage line. The other persons
in my area, separated by curtains, seemed to be already holding numbers
for exit from the planet. I received about a million EKG's and blood
pressure tests, even took my temperature. After about an hour they
offered to give me Tylenol if I requested it, and after two hours, and
countless visits to my bedside, they rolled me to x-ray. While in the hall
my entire gang appeared, having exhausted the beer, and stayed with me
for the journey to x-ray. Getting off the rolling bed was painful but
standing with my hands raised above my head for the various x-rays was
worse. Eventually a doctor determined that nothing was torn, broken or
ruptured, I was going to be very sore for a few days, and I should install
training wheels on my bike, and would need a big supply of Motrin for the
next few days.

By now I am mobile, I helped lash my bike on Kathy's car and she delivered
me home. After she left I learned how painful it was to pull my biking
jersey over my head. I seriously considered cutting it off. Worse, I found
I had no pain pills and I drove my car to Wahlgreens; that hurt. I also
found I was talking in a very soft voice, abnormal for me. Saturday
morning, to further combat the message I thought Tony might promulgate,
I went to my run club and worked as a timer. I even dropped by to see Tony
as proof of my resurrection. Then I returned to my couch for the weekend.