Helpless?

I drive 128 miles a day round trip to work everyday. I see some pretty wild stuff on the interstate. Mostly mundane stuff, and stupid drivers. But for the most part, mundane driving.

During my commute I listen to a number of podcasts. Some good, some bad, some in between. One of the latest ones I picked up on is one by Jack Spirko.

This latest of the episodes he talked about teacup children. That is a new term I had not heard of. Basically, we (and I use that term collectively) have raised a generation of children that are afraid to get dirty, get sick, get injured, or do anything unless they have help. In other words these young adults and children are fragile. Unable to do for themselves.

Today, driving home I passed three different vehicles that had flat tires. The first, four twenty some-thing adults standing around their vehicle looking at each other with total looks of bewilderment on their faces. The second a SUV, thirty something male on the cell phone calling for help. The third vehicle? two guys pulling out the spare and jacking the car up.

Teacups? What would happen if the cell towers where down? After hearing Jacks podcast on the way into work this morning and seeing the flat tires this afternoon it was totally crazy to see people standing around waiting. I was dumb struck.

I have changed a tire in the rain, in the heat, in a suit in the rain, and halfway buried in a snow drift. My first thought always was how am I going to extract myself from this predicament without help. Call it pride, or some sick sense of self reliance.

Years ago I was in a bicycle race and fell down, more like launched off the end of a cliff and fell twenty six feet down into a stream below. I compound fractured my left tib and fib. When I came to after having the wind knocked out of me, my first task was a self check.

Broken leg, check!

crushed vertebrae, check! (found that out later),

crushing headache, check!

very, very cold water I am laying in, check!

leg

I am not a brave person or some Rambo type. My thoughts were about getting out of that gorge and I’ll be damn if I am calling for help.  Funny thing was no one saw me go off the edge. Well, after attempting to climb up the 45 degree walls of the gorge with bones poking out of my leg I gave up and slid back into the water. The buoyancy of my now separated lower left leg felt so much better floating than it did dragging. I called for help loudly. Luckily another biker heard me, turned around and found me sitting in the creek below.

Now there is a tragic comedy of errors that follow the rest of the story and after drinking a few beers I have most people roaring with laughter at my drama. But in hindsight, keeping calm and thinking instead of panicking helped in saving my leg. Just before I was found I was figuring out how to splint my leg and make a second go at the gorge walls.

The doctor told me later that keeping my leg in the 40 degree water probably saved my foot. I lost blood circulation and the water kept my leg hypothermic thus kept the tissue loss to a minimum.

I don’t tell you this story to thump my chest and say look at me, I tell you this story to say, slow down, do a self check, look at your situation, and use your brain. Get out your jack, tire iron and change that damn tire yourself! It is ok to ask for help, just don’t make it your first option and expect someone to come and find you just because.

Not once did I think I was going to die. I was motivated to get out and that’s all I thought of.

A couple side notes. I still have a pin and a screw in my leg twenty years on. The picture above is not my leg but it is pretty close to my own X-ray.

And you must be thinking, why didn’t I stop and help the flat tire people? I was northbound and they were southbound. Besides they were calling for help.

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