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These Are The Breaks



Well, despite the song and title, for those who might worry, rest assured that nothing is broken. I just found the fastest way to break - I mean brake - when on my skateboard. These ARE the breaks! LOL! Here's what happened:

So yesterday at approximately 7:30pm, I was still skateboarding along East Coast Park after being out there for about two hours. I had managed to cover more than 12.5 km of the park. Basically the entire park from one end to the other. But by 7:30, it's a bit dark out here in Singapore and I was on a bit of trail that had a few lights out. That's how it went from awesome to owwie fast. Damn fast!

I was feeling good after my skateboard ride last Saturday and was ready to go again! A bit of a late start but I was determined to get out and leave the wife to work in peace. You can see from this map that I started at the far west end and was heading east. Well, I had covered so much of the park and with the sun going down, the temperatures had dropped so I was pleased and wanting to keep going. In fact, at around 7pm, I had texted the wife that I didn't know how much longer I'd be out since I was feeling so good.

The parks in Singapore are well-kept and you can find people enjoying them any day of the week. Joggers, cyclists, other fitness things or just people out to picnic. So it's pretty safe even if you had an accident while you were alone, as it's very likely you would be discovered and quite quickly too. It just happens that the part of the park I had got to seems to have an issue with some of the lights being out. Otherwise the trail is lit from end to end. That - in essence - is what caused the accident.

My skateboard hit a nut or seed that looks sorta like a peach pit, but twice the size. I know this is what I hit because as I lay on the pavement, I could see it and the skidmark it had left before I was thrown off the board. The sudden stop had caught me so off-guard that I don't think I had even braced for it. I flew Superman style and hit first my left knee, then hip, lower ribs, palms and the topper was when I smacked my chin down. This took the wind out of me! I was struggling to catch my breath when some old guy on a electric bike stopped to see if I was ok. The trouble was he only spoke Chinese and the only think I could do was to gesture, ya ok, with a thumbs-up. But he wasn't gonna leave me there laying down like I was and would have preferred to at that moment; he wanted to make sure I could stand up. I was saying I'm ok, just give me a second to catch my breath and don't let me get run over by a bike. But he would just gesture a thumbs-up and try to get me to stand. As I went to stand the pain was ripping through my left forearm. I was sure I had broken something. Out of all the places that made contact, it was the only real pain I felt. I got to my feet and saw my knee was bleeding and that it was the only visible injury I could find. I again told the old man I'm ok and did the thumbs-up this time in a standing position, so he went off and I went to a bench to sit and call home.

It's never easy to call someone you love to say there's been an accident. Especially when you’re nowhere near home and there isn't really anything they can do but worry. I called not to say I was in pain, but to get help as to figure out where I could easily get to a bus or train, as I was now in a fairly remote section of the island. All I wanted was to get home and figure out how much damage had been done.

Despite it all and the fact that it took me a couple hours to get on a bus towards home, I was still finding humor in what had happened. That's where the Facebook post "What does a nut on the path have to do with a nut on a board? Stay tuned as we assess the damage." had come from. I had been cursing something fierce. Kinda sounded like Jay and Silent Bob’s rap (looking forward to seeing who gets that one).

Don't ask me why I thought it was a good idea to wait overnight to get seen by a doctor. Perhaps to see if it hurt less, or that a polyclinic might cost less. Whatever it was, it wasn't a good night. My arm was difficult to move and the pain was intense. So it was up early and off to the doctors - my general practitioner who was surprised that I wasn’t seeing her about another upper respiratory infection for a change, then to the polyclinic for x-rays and finally the hospital’s Acute & Emergency department (in hindsight I could have gone just to the hospital and have saved time and money).

Although all this took up most of the day, the plus side was there was nothing broken. That was a huge relief for many reasons. For one, how to explain to Mom and Dad why I was in a cast? The whole 'how can I look after their daughter when I can't take proper care of myself' argument was bound to come up. Not being able to play a ukulele while in a cast. Having a cast in this humidity and of course how nasty that would smell. How to not get harassed by the people I know down at the coffeeshop who had just teased me about my ability to skateboard at my age. Speaking of, that was basically the first question the doctor at the hospital asked me after learning why I was there. "What were you doing on a skateboard?!" I burst out with a laugh and a "What?!? For one, it’s a great workout and well, I was having fun up until that very last moment, thanks!"

So in hindsight, what have I learned? Well kids, first and foremost is the cost of safety equipment that would have help me cushion the fall, which would have cost less than the hospital visit. Had I had on kneepads and gloves, I'd had come out of this with far less pain as well. Also riding a skateboard should be done only in well-lit places so you can see and avoid obstacles. I had been dodging those seeds all afternoon. It was the one I didn't see that fucked me up. Keeping to areas where people are if you’re going to skate alone is also a great idea. Had I been in any worse of a condition, that old guy could have gotten me help even if he and I couldn't communicate.

So be safe, and perhaps I'll see you out at the parks in the near future. You didn't think something like this was going to keep me from riding, did you?


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