Many of you have heard about my unfortunate accident towards the end of the second day of the 500 km KIWL fundraising ride across Japan. Up until the accident, I was having a grand time, getting lots of exercise and taking in amazing sights.
After the hardest bit of climbing, we rolled into a small town and I stopped at a light, unclipped my right foot, put it down on the ground… then inexplicably fell towards the left where my other foot was still clipped in. Apparently, President Joe Biden had a similar tumble recently but was able to roll with it and brush it off. I was not as fortunate or as graceful. I broke the radius and ulna in my left arm.
My Apple Watch detected a fall and promptly called emergency services in Japan.
“Daijoubu desu ka?” said my wrist with concern. “Nope; not okay. Please send an ambulance!” was the reply from my cycling buddies. My wrist was sporting a new and strange looking angle. Breakage was obvious. Off to the hospital we went in my third ambulance ride ever. (Ambulance rides are free in Japan… in the States they cost about a thousand dollars — talk about adding insult to injury!)
I was in too much pain to cry so I yelled instead. I used my outdoor voice. No one told me to settle down and be quiet. They knew there was more pain to come. Bone-setting is no walk the park. The nurse had to pull on my arm in one direction while the doctor pulled in the other direction. They wore lead aprons and viewed the bone through an x-ray machine while they set it. My job was to yell and hang onto the nurse’s arm. I think I might have bruised her. “You’re a strong woman,” she said afterwards.
Apologies to the nurse. I did entertain her afterwards with a short puppet show featuring a concerned Mehhhgumi. She recorded the skit with her phone. Maybe it will show up on the internet later. Here’s a recording from today, getting ready for surgery:
Sunday, June 19th: Now I’m in the hospital awaiting surgery. A hand specialist will put in a couple of titanium plates to stabilize the bones and speed the healing process. In the meantime, I have continued to work thanks to effective pain pills. Here’s a CT scan of the bone – they’re very thorough here:
After the Break, Work Continued: On Sunday, June 12, I joined the KIWL cycling team for the final ceremony where we met some of the children for whom we were cycling and raising money. They were happy to meet a friendly pig and a sweet sheep. The children and their care home received a pile of new outdoor sports equipment. Then they cycled away on their own bikes as we waved goodbye.
On Thursday, June 16, I was able to teach three classes at Green Hills School with the help of my son, Alec, who is visiting us from the States. He held each grade level in rapt attention as he described the different kinds of “bugs,” a generalized term for insects, spiders, arthropods and even gastropods.
Friday night, we collaborated during the 7pm online class for the children at Harukaen in Chiba. Alec was my “left-hand-man.” By using a wide variety of puppets, we had the kids identify which ones had bones and which ones did not. (They learned that sharks do not have bones, but instead have cartilage.) My most recent classes have incorporated information about bones helped by photos of my ride and my x-rays. Misfortune had might as well be instructive!
On Saturday, I met with the three students that I tutor and we had more lessons about biking and bones. This coming week, I may have to take a few days off to heal.
Thank you, everyone for your prayers and good wishes for a successful surgery and fast healing. If you still want to donate to a good cause, scroll down, use the link below and mention JOEE in the memo. Detailed instructions can be found in the previous JOEE post.