Bike Trip Disaster - The Aftermath

You can catch up with Part 1 of the bike trip disaster here and Part 2 here.

Seeing my grandpa laying on the ground triggered lightning bolts of panic buzzing through me.  I knew I had to remain calm and figure out how badly he was hurt and get help quickly.  I ran back to him and felt relief wash over me as I saw him moving around and trying to get up.  He said his shoulder hurt, but he didn't think it was anything serious.  He was bleeding from his elbows and knees, so my main focus was on stopping the blood.

After the initial shock started to wear off, I realized his shoulder didn't look right.  He acted like it wasn't a big deal, but I could tell it was hurting him a lot more than he was saying.  I grabbed my cell phone and tried to call my mom and dad.  They were supposed to be, at most, two miles down the road waiting for us to ride to them.  At first, I couldn't get the call to go through.  Cell service was spotty where we were, and I started to worry I wasn't going to be able to get ahold of anyone.

I finally got my mom on the phone and tried to explain where we were on the trail.  My mom completely panicked and got lost trying to find us.  After 10 minutes of waiting for her and my dad, I started to think I should have just called 911.  Just then, my grandpa announced that he thought his shoulder was broken.  I felt his collarbone and could clearly feel the bone sticking up where it definitely shouldn't have been sticking up.

That sealed it for me that 911 was going to be our best bet.  I called 911 and explained to the operator that we had just crossed over the Boonville bridge and were on the Katy Trail.  We waited another 10 minutes before she called me back and said the emergency response team was having trouble finding us.  I was beginning to worry that nobody was going to be able to find us.  My grandpa was getting more and more pale by the second and was still bleeding from several places even though I had bandaged him up the best I could.

We could hear the sirens in the distance, so we knew the ambulance had to be close.  I told my grandpa I would run to the highway about a quarter mile down the trail and flag the ambulance down.  He insisted on coming with me and he absolutely refused to leave our bikes alone.  Did I mention that his bike is his baby?  Even with a clearly broken collarbone, he wouldn't leave it.  So we both started pushing our bikes back toward the highway.  By then, almost 30 minutes had passed since the accident.

Just as we reached the highway, everyone converged on us at once.  My mom came speeding up followed closely by not one, not two, not three, not four, but five emergency vehicles.  Then a four-wheeler with two EMS workers came speeding down the trail from the opposite direction.  Everything started to blur together at this point.  I realized I was sweating, sunburned, shaken, and covered in blood.

We spent the next two hours in the hospital.  The doctor confirmed that my grandpa's collarbone was definitely broken and that he needed surgery.  However, they didn't want to immediately do the surgery because of my grandpa's age and past medical history.  Needless to say, the Katy Trail ride 2011 had come to an abrupt end.

I felt so bad for my grandpa.  He lives for our yearly Katy Trail ride.  He talks about it nonstop from the time we get home from the previous trip until it's time to leave for the next one.  I could tell the pain of the broken collarbone was overshadowed by the disappointment he felt for not being able to ride his bike anymore.

It's been almost two weeks since the accident happened now.  My grandpa's doctor decided against doing the surgery on his collarbone and told him that he would have a bump there forever.  We don't know yet if he will be able to ride a bike again, but my money is on him.  If he puts his mind to something, he will do it.  He's already talking about taking the trip again next October.  It looks like I need to keep on pedaling so I can keep up with him next year!

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