Every day my iPhone alarm goes off at 8am, 2pm and 8pm to remind me to take meds. Every Sunday it sounds at 6.30pm for me to restock my meds dockets. Every day I struggle to remember to eat. Every time I go anywhere I chant my memory mantra – “keys, money, mobile”. Every time I put my bicycle away in the garage I forget to take the battery off and bring it indoors to recharge so have to go back for it. Every day I drop something.
What I dropped today was myself. Well, myself and my bike fell. I had set out to cycle to the cemetery where my parents are buried. Perhaps I wanted to go there because it’s Remembrance Day. Perhaps I wanted to place the beautiful small stone I had found in my pocket on my dad’s tombstone (a Jewish custom – google it!). Perhaps the cemetery simply provided a manageable destination to head for rather than sitting on the sofa all day.
Whatever the reason, I intended getting to the cemetery for the traditional two minute silence on Remembrance Day. Except I didn’t leave early enough so I paused on my journey at a nearby memorial for soldiers. Having observed the silence with suitable reverence I continued on my cycle ride.
I visited my parents’ graves. I placed my stones (and a charming dropped flower head I had found at the cemetery entrance). I set off to cycle back home taking a different route just for the fun of it. I travelled using a mixture of pedal assist and throttle with a tiny bit of non-assisted pedalling just to see if I could do it. I didn’t have to stop too often to rest. I felt good. Calm. Even a little bit fit.
And then I fell. I can only remember falling off a bicycle once before. It was a very windy day and I was literally blown off my bike, embarrassingly next to a bus stop with a queue of commuters. I’m not sure why I fell this time. I was navigating my way through a half barrier on a cycle path. It was muddy. There were wet leaves on the path. And stones. With a normal bike I might have been able to regain my balance when the wheels slipped and avoid dropping to the ground. This bike is heavy. When it slips it is hard to keep upright.
I fell hard. It hurt. My left knee banged the stony ground. I think I hit my head but at least I had a bike helmet on. A couple of cyclists I had recently passed on the path came up and asked if I was ok as did a woman walking and then another woman stopped on her bike. To each enquiry as to if I was alright I said “I don’t know. Give me a minute.” Then “I think I’ll just sit here for a moment.” I knew I was sitting on the muddy path. But I didn’t care. I needed some time.
Time wasn’t marching inexorably on at that moment. This was different. Normally when I fall over, I take a moment to check – Am I ok? Can I get up? Can I walk? Recently a friend at the disabled living gym I attend had a bad fall and hit her head against the treadmill I was using. There was blood and shock. The next morning, the physio phoned me to check I was ok as she was aware it had been a disturbing situation for us all
This fall wasn’t so bad. After a few minutes I was ready to get up. To check my bike was ok. To review my banged knee. Just a graze
The lovely woman cyclist wouldn’t leave until she had seen that I could cycle again. We chatted and I discovered her daughter is currently studying at Hull University (where I did my BA). I can’t remember what her subject is but that lapse of memory is not unusual for me. I managed to get my bike chain back on – it had come off in the fall. I got on the bike. I set off cycling. I got home in time to have my 2pm meds.
I don’t know what the damage will be tomorrow. For now I have another bruise on my thigh (right next to one I acquired in a trip/fall with Jemima). It’s not pretty. Hopefully that’s the worst of it. Time will tell.