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I took a picture* of NewWifey(tm) a couple of weeks before Christmas.
Yes, those are all hers:
Yeah, I’m hittin’ that.
The title of my blog, “Dangerspouse Rides Again”, is no mere homage to old timey Westerns. When I first started this mess I was actively, avidly, racing motorcycles practically every weekend that I wasn’t working or in jail. As was NewWifey(tm).
A brief retelling here, in case you don’t know the backstory: I met NewWifey(tm) in a motorcycle racing chat room. She had recently taken up the sport, while I was a seasoned veteran (my dad, a factory racer and multi-discipline champion, had me riding by the time I was 4, racing by 11).
She fell under the spell of my writing prowess and blatant lies, and in the late 90’s moved from the Midwest to my (then) bachelor pad to start a new life. When she discovered that I was sleeping on a mattress in my walk-in closet because my bedroom had been converted into a garage for my motorcycles and she didn’t bat an eye, I knew I’d found my soulmate. In 1999 we purchased a proper house with a proper garage, and two years later we were married.
On our bikes, of course:
(She’s holding up the hem of her dress to show off the grease stain that resulted from it getting caught in the chain as soon as she dropped the clutch. Didn’t phase her a bit.)
We raced together through most of the ‘aughts, she collecting three Womens Class Champion belts along the way.
However the last half decade or so has seen a real riding dry spell. Between my two elbow reconstruction surgeries and her starting a small business we haven’t even started our bikes, let alone raced them. So on New Years Day we each resolved to make time in the coming year to at least get some serious practice in, if not enter an actual event. One of us – and I’m not saying which one – also resolved to lose at least some of the weight he put on while recovering from two elbow surgeries, since his bike might not be strong enough to haul around his current tonnage.
Why am I tell you all this in a post about little pricks? It’s actually germane to the story. See, the type of racing we do is called “trials”, and trials is a sport that relies more on balance and control than speed. Riders try to gracefully navigate difficult terrain without putting their feet down or crashing like a fucking nob. (All of those clips are of me, btw.)
People who are good at trials have incredible balance. I can walk a tightrope while eating a sandwich and doing the NY Times crossword puzzle. (Ok, that’s an exaggeration. Make that, “and doing the Highlights Magazine ‘Spot the 6 Differences!’ puzzle.”) NewWifey(tm) can wash and fold my laundry while balanced on a giant ball like one of those circus seals.
So imagine my surprise when I arrived home from work the other day to find her flat on her back, both legs propped up on pillows and an ice pack on each knee.
“I fell” she said.
“You don’t fall” I said. “You’re a trials rider.”
“Yeah, well, this trials rider never waxed a Pergo laminate floor in wool socks before. I splayed like a 10 year old Asian pole dancer as soon as I stepped off the rug. It was worse than that time you bought the sex chair home and turned the ratchet the wrong way.”
“Ouch. Nailed both knees, huh?”
“And my head. Went down hard face first.”
“Just like that sex chair.”
“When I can get up I’m going to stick a knife in you.”
“Ok, ok. Lemme see.”
I gingerly lifted each ice pack off. Her left knee was a rather cheery pink, but otherwise looked none the worse for it. But her right knee rather alarmingly resembled an overinflated rugby ball, except larger.
Then she parted her bangs. There was a round blue ice pack on her forehead.
“I’m just going to take this ice pack off for a second” I said.
“I don’t have an ice pack on my head” she said.
That’s when we drove to the hospital.
When the nurse saw the ziggurat on NewWifey(tm)’s head she didn’t even bother with the mandatory open-back gown, just gave her an express ticket to the x-ray machine where they zapped both knees and everything above her sternum. I stayed behind in a hard plastic seat.
Twenty minutes later they wheeled NewWifey(tm) back in a gurney. Two minutes after that a haggard looking doctor came in carrying a clipboard and a folder of x-rays. He didn’t waste time.
“You’ve got a fluid buildup on your right knee but there’s no structural damage. I’m sending someone in to drain it. You have a loss of cervical curve, an impingement probably from the same, and pretty severe arthritis in the neck possibly from an old fracture we found. There’s the possibility you may have carotid sinus syndrome from this, so you need to schedule an MRI. If you start feeling faint when you raise your arms or tilt your head back that’s what it is. I don’t see signs of concussion.”
And with that he walked out. I don’t think he looked up from the clipboard once.
NewWifey(tm) lay there stunned, trying to make sense of the medical tsunami that was just shotgunned into her. I could tell she had a thousand questions, but all she managed was, “From wool socks…?”
I had questions too, like ‘is she gonna live?‘. But before I could ask, another white coat walked in. This one was carrying a baseball bat.
“Actually, it’s a syringe” she told me. “I’m going to drain the fluid off her knee.” She turned to NewWifey(tm), who’s eyes were trying to escape her skull out the front. “Now, you’re going to feel a little prick….”
With that, NewWifey(tm) passed out cold.
“Uh, Miss” I said, “when she comes to, try a different phrase. See, whenever I say that to her it means…”
NewWifey(tm) came to. “IT’S NOT GONNA FIT!” she screamed.
The nurse patted her on the head. “It’s ok, honey. I’m sticking this in your knee. Not anywhere else.”
And so she did. That Louisville Slugger of a syringe went in probably 9 times, each time withdrawing enough fluid to save a least one burning Australian koala. The final amount would have made Susan Smith smile. An orderly carted away the tub and the nurse handed NewWifey(tm) a prescription for some steroids and a course of physical therapy.
Then she turned to me. “Mr. Spouse. It’s perhaps lucky that your wife hit her head like that, or we might not have done an x-ray on her neck and found these other problems. Until we get the MRI results back we won’t know how serious they are, so until then see that your wife doesn’t do anything strenuous.”
“Does that include racing motorcycles?”
“That depends. Is it a motorcycle racing video game?”
“No. It’s motorcycles.”
“Can she still do laundry? I can never get my underwear really white for some reason.”
She shot me a look.
“Ok, ok” I said. “No laundry. Got it.”
“Oh, and one other thing” she said. “That little prick in her knee better be the only little prick she gets until we have those results. Understand, Mr. Spouse?” She didn’t wait for an answer, just turned and left. Not that I had an answer.
Gaah! Stupid wool socks. I hope that sheep suffered.
So that’s where we stand. NewWifey(tm) just had her MRI. We’ll get the results Wednesday, and plot a course of action then. Best case scenario: physical therapy will restore some curve to her neck bones, which in turn will ease the arthritis and impingement, and stop the carotid syncope danger. Worst case: uh…it won’t. I’ll have to wear dingy grey underwear the rest of my life.
And of course she also wouldn’t be able to keep her New Year’s Resolution to ride this year, if that’s the case. But that’s ok since I can still ride, and that’s all that matters when you’re a little prick.
Ok, I’m off to shop for a Real Doll to carry me through this dry spell. Have a good night, kids. And remember: cotton socks save lives. And knees and necks and pricks.
This, for a certain small hedgehog:
I have a near comprehensive collection of NatLamps, right back to Issue #1 (including the famous “We’ll Kill This Dog” issue.) I chose this one because of the cover, which seems eerily prescient now:
Of course in 1972 the Vietnam War, including China’s involvement in same, was all the rage. So that’s what this cover art is probably referencing. But still…eerie….
*I’ve really been upping my photography game over the last year, winning some online competitions and even landing a small side-gig. For you nerds, this picture of NewWifey(tm) is an 8-image focus stack, shot through an 18mm at floor level. I’ve got some post processing artifacts (around the throttle and the right side of her helmet) to clean up, but otherwise it came out well enough that it won a focus stack competition last month. Not bad for a little prick.