I came home from the gym the other day to find Mike on our bed with a towel over his head and blood on his knee and hands. I knew he had fallen off his bike because Madison, our youngest daughter had called Erin, our oldest daughter, who was with me at the gym to tell us the news. Mike told Madison not to call, but she was so upset she didn’t know what else to do. Erin and I hurried home. Mike was a little choked up and I could tell more damage had been done to his spirit than his body. He told me what happened - he was going too fast around a corner and put the brake on hard. He has pretty much lost the use of his right hand, so he put the brake on hard with his left hand, which is the front brake, which caused the bike to throw him over the handle bars, placing him face first on the cement. I could hear the discouragement in his voice from under the towel. This is a man who has been an athlete all his life…someone who could, at one time run a 36 minute 10K. Who, up until a few months ago, could run a 6 minute mile, and was a strong competitor on the soccer field. I knew what Mike was thinking under that towel. He was thinking that perhaps he had pedaled his last bike ride, perhaps ALS has taken away his ability to cycle, like it’s taken away his ability to run and play soccer. I assured Mike that the accident he had on his bike could have happened to anyone. I can remember doing the same thing years ago. I can still see myself being propelled over my handle bars, landing smack dab on the side walk…not a pretty site. Mike has a way of adding humour to a serious situation. Quoting Kramer from Seinfeld, he said “Look away, I’m hideous.” He took the towel off his face and exposed the wounds. He assured me he would get back on his 'horse' tomorrow.
We watched our granddaughter, Leah that evening and the two of them compared owies on their knees. That night, when Mike and I went to bed, I put more Polysporin on his owies and he fell asleep. I couldn’t help but stare at him while he slept, he looked so peacful in spite of his wounds - a goose egg and big cut over his left eye brow, a big bump and road rash under his left eye, scratches down his nose and a fat lip with more road rash.
A few days later, when Mike’s hands felt better, he got back on his 'horse' and rode.
“Courage is being scared to death…and saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne