Some people including myself don’t know how fortunate we are until we lose something. It might be a loved one, a job, and in my case the ability to bike and practice yoga. Patanjali wrote in the Yoga Sutras about being content in your life and he called it Santosha. Santosha is something I have been finding hard to understand. From trying to be the fastest on my bicycle racing team to trying perform a down dog and jump into a crow. This month has taught me to be content in my life and never take things for granted.
This story starts while attending a road race in Eucha, Oklahoma on April 24, 2012. My friend KC had asked me to go with him to Eucha and even offered to drive, I couldn’t say no, and I was looking forward to racing with my friend. My wife would normally go with me to the race, but she was on a trip to Belize with Oklahoma State University to teach health literacy. It started out like many of my bicycle races, I would eat plenty of food, drink water to hydrate, and warm up. The race started with some climbing and descending around the beautiful country side. I was laughing and talking to everyone in the race about the weather and the group was taking turns trying to drop the other riders. With twenty miles left to go I felt my legs getting tired and my body was having trouble making it up the 1.5 mile ascends. I noticed KC had dropped off the back-end of the group with exhaustion. I turned around to find him and slowed down to wait for him to catch up to me. Now it was just him and me with no way to win this race. But it was not about winning today, it was about having fun with the friends I have come to know through racing. With five miles to go until the finish I figured I would push my body to the limit and get the blood flowing. Some of the other racers had caught up to me and I latched onto the back-end of them for the last climb of the day. I started this last climb in great form. My heart rate was in the 150’s and I was feeling great. I pumped and pumped the pedals while swaying my bike back and forth. I stood up out of my saddle and could see the end of this hill. I thought it was almost over with only two miles to go until the finish. But then something happened and I don’t know what. All I remember is waking up in the hospital with doctors and my friends KC and Renee by my side. I came to in a hospital room with no idea how I got there. The doctors asked me the normal questions, “Who is the president and where do I live.” I could not remember any of those answers and started to get concerned. I asked what had happened ? No one knew, all they could tell me was that I was lying in the middle of the road unconscious. An ambulance had been called, and had brought me to the hospital. They did a CAT scan to check for any injuries to my head but I don’t remember any of it. I noticed my legs were all scraped up, my pinkie finger was bent and swollen, and my shoulder was separated. Once I was released from the hospital Renee and KC drove me back to Tulsa. I had many unanswered questions. For instance, what happened on the road and how did it happen? Was it dehydration, blood sugar level, exhaustion, or heart rate?
After visiting with my primary doctor, I went to Tulsa Bone And Joint to have them look at my finger and shoulder. It was confirmed that I had not only fractured but had turned the bone in my finger. I had also separated my shoulder. The doctor explained that he would have to put pins in my hand to get it to set properly. While in surgery they had me hooked up to an ECG machine and noticed something irregular with my heart beat. The nurse turned to me and asked, “How did you do all this?” I explained I don’t remember because I blacked out during the race. She said, “Do you know your heart beat is irregular right now?” No I said. After my hand surgery they made an appointment for me to see a cardiologist the following week to follow-up.
This gets me back to the word, Santosha. Today I lay in my bed thankful for my accident. God had a purpose for the accident. I am just thankful I am here to blog about it. From now on I’m going to be content and thankful for every passing day that I can experience in life whether on a bike, a yoga mat, or just being. God has given me a new direction. This incident has forced me into a new way of living. It may be awhile before I can race again or even be able to jump into a crow pose. This crash was caused by a heart condition, and I would have not known about it till much later had the crash not happened. God has given me a gift. Without my heart I cannot live and love the important things that occur every day in my beautiful life. Thank you God.