So last summer some friends of mine and I meet to ride mountain bikes in the Rothrock SF SE of State College. This is an all weekend event planned for over the previous eight months. Four of us arrived Thursday and rode that evening. Another rider got there Friday AM. After gathering some food and our individual needs for a long day in the saddle we take off around 09:00. About three hours into the ride we break for photos and food/fluids at a fire tower.
The trail options from there are numerous and the ride "leader" opts for a run down a trail he believes is the premier run in that section of the forest. Off goes everyone while I decide to ride "mother goose"-last in line. A note: I was the only rider on what we refer to as a "fully rigid" bicycle...no suspension at all other than large tires. After about ten minutes the trail makes an abrupt left turn and pitches straight down the fall line of the ridge. I pick a line and *slowly* guide my bike into certain death.
Before I even realize what's going on I'm going OTB (over the bars). WHAM!! I slam into a rock pile I didn't even know was there. I extricate myself from the pile of human and steel when it dawns on me that I'm bleeding from above my right eye, and nose. Then I notice that my right eye is shut and I cannot open it.
"Hey guys, I'm gonna need a hand here. I just broke my nose and dinged my head," I yell down the trail. The guy riding just in front of me was about 70 meters down hill and the first back. His first reaction was to say, "Bud, you netter hope the only thing wrong is a broken nose. You have a stick hanging out of your eye socket. You better sit down and we'll get help to get you out of here."
Bless Geordie for his calm.
By this point the remainder of the guys are there. A phone is produced that has a signal, 911 is called, GPS coordinates to the nearest road is given, and I begin stumbling down the trail holding on tot he pack of another guy-Rip.
Bless Rip for his fortitude and patience.
After around two hours I am at the first ambulance crew that has climbed up about a third of the mountain to meet me. This is after Rip and I loose the trail a couple of times inside a deer exclosure area grown up like some primordial forest. The EMTs get an IV of normal saline running, bottled (and cool) oxygen on my moosh, and we cut a water bottle in two to cover the stick so it doesn't snag on the remainder of the trip out of the woods.
Cooled oxy and electrolytes entering my system were a godsend. I calmed some, and my respirations dropped to a more normal rate. The second fire company brings there 6-wheel Gator up to me and they back board me onto it. I ride out to the first ambulance. Elapsed time from crash to this point is sitting at around 2:45.
Twenty minute ride in A/C down the forest roads to Rte. 322 where thay have closed a section of the east bound side for the helicopter.
Did I mention the helicopter?
The three medical facilities in State College pre-advised teh EMTs that I should go directly to Geisinger Med. Ctr. in Danville. They would have the trauma staff and surgeons to handle this sort of thing.
Uh oh, again.
Forty-five minutes in a helo (whereupon I spewed vomitous all over the bulkhead and attendant after he administered morphine during flight). They would have needed a fire hose to clean it.
Present at the ER at Geisinger. First nurse to see the wound from under it's cover actually shuddered and gasped some.
Uh oh, again.2
Off to radiology for pictures, CT scans, MRI, and angiograms. Back to ER for waiting game. A nurse sometime around 18:00 (now around 5.5 hours after the crash) asks if anyone is coming to the hospital for me. At this point I realize that I need to call my wife back here in Ohio. Call placed, sit. rep. made, panic assuaged, she gathers kids and gets her mother over to bring her to Danville.
At around midnight I'm wheeled into OR. I wake up some time later with my wife hovering over me at 04:00 Sat. She, to her credit, is neither angry nor visibly scared. Fatigued, and concerned about my health, but not overly so. We establish that she and her mother are getting a room locally and getting some shut-eye. I'm so groggy it's ridiculous. Some hours later (the sun was up) they return and ask for directions to the Rothrock SF where the car is. "How do we get there from here?"
"In a helicopter, that's how I got here. I don't have a clue where I even am other than it's Danville." At least that's what my wife has told me I said. I'll have to take her word for it as I can be sarcastic like that. Her mother had her lap top (why???) and the hosppital has WI-Fi! Log on, click our way to PA DCNR site, Bureau of Forestry page, Rothrock SF, camp sites, number 6, print a map with directions.
Off they go.
In walks two residents that were among the four surgeons the previous night/morning. They are both wicked concerned about my case.
More uh-oh moments.
I am whisked down to the ophthalmologists, Dr. Ullrich, office. He removes the bandage and tries to examine the eye. Back to the room. By around 14:00 my wife returns with our car and most of my gear (her mother took the other stuff with her. I meet with the same two docs that came earlier, we discuss options, nad decide to discharge as there was nothing they could do until the following Tuesday b/c of edema. Scripts written and filled locally, papers printed, wheeled out I am for a long ride home.
You know, I never thought to ask them for the stick.