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I wanted to tell you about a great gift I received a couple of years ago.
But first, the story leading up to it….
A little over two years ago, I was running home from work shortly after 6 o’clock in the morning. It was September, and getting to the point in the year where it was soon to be too dark to run home that early. I knew within the next few days, I was going to have to start walking instead of running home in the mornings. But I felt it was still light enough to run home on that day. I was following the asphalt walk/bike path across town, when I tripped over a bike lying in the path. Now, even though I have vision issues, and the lighting was not ideal, I’m not sure anyone would have seen this bike.
So this (probably) college-age kid was sleeping on a bench next to the path, and had just left his bike lying on the path next to the bench. Of course, I didn’t see the bicycle. So all of a sudden, there I was, sprawled out like a pancake spreading in a pan: trying to stop my fall with my hands and hitting my chin hard on the asphalt.
The guy immediately tried to help me up. But I waved him off, still checking to see if I had all my teeth, grumbling “Just leave me alone for a minute.” I knew that when I try to get up too fast, I have a tendency to faint. Something I only needed to find out once before I learned my lesson.
Anyway, I was angry! This kid had just left his bike laying there in the middle of the path! How stupid! I told him so, too. He kept asking me if I was okay, and was profusely apologetic. I said I would live.
It was very strange, just laying there in the path, holding my elbow. I stayed that way for a couple of minutes, as I was going to make sure I wasn’t light-headed before I got up. So we talked. I figured I really didn’t want to yell at him too much. He seemed sincerely sorry, and I didn’t want to get him too agitated at me: after all, it was just past 6 a.m., and he was a stranger out early in the morning…You get my drift.
So after a few more minutes, I collected myself, and decided I was in good enough shape to continue my run home. You may ask (as many others did) why I didn’t call T to come get me. Well let me assure you, I would have, if I had been truly hurt. But I didn’t want to hang around spending any more time with the guy who had caused me to fall in the first place. Plus, I knew that I could get home faster by running, rather than waiting for T to come get me.
When I got home, my arm had stiffened up a bit more, which made it difficult to get undressed and cleaned up. So I woke T up by saying “Don’t worry, but I fell.” Prefacing the whole thing with “Don’t worry” wasn’t really effective, as she jumped up immediately, worried, and asked if I was okay. I told her my elbow hurt, and she asked if I wanted her to take me to the hospital. No, not really. There was nothing they could do for me. I had fallen like that once before and hurt my other elbow, the same way, and there was nothing that could be done. And I was tired, and who wants to go to the hospital after working at the hospital all night long? I had just got off work from there! T helped me get cleaned up, and in to bed I went.
Around 11 a.m. I woke up, and my elbow had swollen so that any little movement was hugely painful. So then I began to worry. Maybe I had hurt it worse than I thought. With very little resistance on my part, T persuaded me to go to the E.R.
There they took x-rays, and let me tell you, that was painful, as they needed me to bend and move my arm in ways it just didn’t want to. When the doctor came in, he told me just what I thought all along: I had cracked the radial head of my left elbow. So he put my arm in a sling, gave me some good pain meds, and made a follow-up appointment for me to see a specialist in about 3 days.
Okay, now this is where the passionate runner in me rears her obsessive head…
When I go see the specialist, the doctor told me to get rid of the sling, and start using my arm. He said that it would be sore for a while, but the best thing was to use it, without lifting anything heavy. I then asked him if I could run. He just looked at me, as if I had two heads. He firmly replied that he would not recommend it. If I fell again, before it was completely healed, I could do permanent damage.
I had been in training for my first half-marathon, and it was coming up in about a month. “Well then,” I asked, “When can I run?” He thought probably about six weeks. I said “How about two?” He ended up reluctantly compromising with me at three weeks, but he was serious about the warning. If I fell on it again, I was taking a huge risk of serious long-term injury. Hearing him, but pretty much trying to disregard his warning, all I heard in my heart was “Victory!” I knew it would be cutting it close, but I could still run the half-marathon. It would be tough with three weeks off of my training regimen the month before the race, but I was determined. Obviously I had the strength of will to create whatever results I wanted; I had just won the test of wills against my doctor… I can manifest miracles….
Well I didn’t re-injure myself. I did run my first half-marathon, and I did it in just over 2 hours. So I was pretty proud of that!
Now, to get back to the point of this whole story…..
Shortly after my close encounter with a bicycle and the asphalt, T was reading one of my Runner’s World magazines, and saw an ad for the RoadID. It’s an ID with a velcro strap for athletes to wear with emergency contact information on it. It’s a great idea, as oftentimes athletes, bicyclists, race-walkers, and especially runners don’t have pockets to keep an ID in. And if something happened to them, the medical responders wouldn’t know who they were or who to contact. They have different styles, but she got me the wrist band and the shoe ID. They are laser-engraved with all my contact information. It also indicates that I am legally blind. Before I got the RoadID a couple of years ago, I used to carry a piece of paper with some contact info on it. But it would get tattered and hard to read. Then I would forget about getting a new one, and end up out running without any identification on me at all. Not smart for anyone, but especially absurd for me.
Now when I go out for a run, I always have the RoadID on my shoe. I wear the one on my wrist as well; of course, manifesting that they will never be needed for emergency purposes. But it’s one more layer of protection, just like the flashers and lights I use to increase my visibility. In fact, I’m getting my mom a RoadID. She likes to walk, and right now all she carries, when she remembers, is a piece of paper with my phone number on it. So I plan on getting her one she can put on her keychain.
Oh yeah, I have to tell you: after checking out their website recently, I see that RoadID.com now carries different colors of the wrist strap….When I got mine they only had black. You can probably see it in several of my running photos. Now I can get all kinds of different colors to match all my different running outfits!! Yee-Ha!
How ‘bout it?
P.S. Just so you know, this endorsement was not paid for by RoadID.com or anything like that. We use this every day, so the high recommendation we offer of the RoadID product is unsolicited and heartfelt. However, I will also tell you that if you click on any of the links on this blog, and make a purchase, I will get paid a small commission.
Tags: bicycle, bike, blind, emergency contact information, emergency identification, emergency room, ER, eyesight, half marathon, injury, legally blind, race, RoadID, run, Runner, Runner's World, Running, running shoe, training, training regimen, Vision, Vision Runner, walking