“Live, love, laugh, leave a legacy.” -Stephen Covey
The world lost a wise spirit today. Many were shocked to hear that the beloved author was 79 years old at the time of his death since many fans – myself included – assumed he was younger than that. Why? Was it his youthful aura and timeless smile on the cover of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People? Was it the sage and simple advice given in countless books and articles? Or was it his deep love of family and friends (with 9 children and 52 grandchildren surviving him) that kept him young at heart?
Not knowing the man personally, I can only presume it was a combination of all of the above and a lot of other stuff I do not know about him.
But what does the “highly effective” author have to do with mountain biking?
Furthermore, what does he have to do with my previous declaration (via blog, of course) that mountain biking is a metaphor for life?
Moreover, what do Stephen Covey, mountain biking, and dying all have to do with one another?
My sister forwarded me an article this morning which explained that Stephen Covey died from complications from a bicycling accident that happened this April. Besides the fact that I am a Covey admirer, there is another good reason why my sister sent me this article today and it has to do with my sister being very concerned about me.
A week ago, on my birthday, (ya, I’m flashing a “31” in the photo above) I spent about ten hours in the Emergency Room after taking a nasty spill in the Ohio woods on my – you guessed it – mountain bike. I suffered a concussion, sprained neck, multiple contusions, and had to get seven stitches sewn into my right calf.
Instead of being pissed that I spent a sunny birthday afternoon inside a windowless ER ward, I found the event as entertaining as my friends did. When I posted a couple pictures on Facebook displaying the aftermath of my accident, comments looked a little something like this: You don’t mess around when celebrating, OMG, Damn Marines, You do realize you are mortal right?, Holy crap, Comes with the territory of living to the fullest, You are one wild living girl, You are truly a champ, Love your attitude, You are one tough cookie, and Normal people check into bars and restaurants for their birthdays but normal is boring. Of course there were expressions of concern and sympathy, too, but even those were light-hearted. All in all, despite a little alarm and shock, I thought it was funny…mostly.
The thing is, it really could have been worse. Even the post-CTscan, brief scare of “we see a subdural hematoma (aka: a small amount of bleeding) in your brain” didn’t feel like a “scare” to me. Ask Pete, I literally laughed when the doctor told me this news and then asked me if I wanted to stay for an MRI just to be sure.
“Oh just a little bleeding on my brain? Sure, let’s get a second look at that, doc!”
When Doogie Houser told me it would probably be another three hours until my spin on the MRI wheel of fortune, I settled into my hospital bed, asked for another glass of water, and had Pete pass me my book.
Turns out, the bleeding they thought they saw, was not bleeding. Phew!
Honestly, I felt ok. Ya, just ok, not great, but not awful either. I was released and allowed to go home. It was nearly midnight. I was a little loopy, and definitely doped up on the meds they administered in the ER, but all in one piece so to speak ;-p. I was happy to be alive, grateful to go home, and I kept telling Pete how much I loved him and wouldn’t stop holding his hand and hugging him.
Monday (the next day) I was supposed to be on the road to Kansas (a fourteen hour drive) by around 8:00am. I decided against it and allowed myself to sleep in a bit instead. I had been prescribed a heavy dose of narcotic pain killers, but I never picked the meds up. I opted for a couple Advil, taking it easy, and a massage that afternoon.
Tuesday I drove 14 hours to Kansas.
Wednesday I had a headache and felt like I’d been hit by a car (and yes, I actually know what that feels like).
Thursday morning I drove 6.5 hours to Colorado and moved into my new apartment. After dinner that evening, I felt the worst I’d felt since my accident. Let’s just say, I had the sensation of a flaming ferret trying to crawl out of my skull (and no, I don’t actually know what that feels like). Ok, a smidge on the exaggerating side – “there were a thousand fire fighters in that house, Dane!” – but I didn’t feel right. Thankfully, by Friday afternoon, I felt a bit better, and by Saturday I felt good.
Speaking of Saturday, as my welcome-to-Denver present to myself, I played in two Gaelic football games that afternoon. I’m not sure if it was the altitude, heat, or the fact that I was probably still mildly concussed, but I wouldn’t say it was one of my best performances. I did have a blast, though, because I was in my element. To say that I love fresh air, sunshine, sports, and new friends would be an understatement. I feel FULLY ALIVE when I am outside, moving, and socializing. The Denver Gaels (and Bulldogs (Aussie Footy gals)) are straight-up great, by the way! I am super-duper stoked to get to know these stud-horse girls and play tons of Irish and Australian footy with them all summer and fall.