Bicycle Accident. {True Story}

Via Brent Binder
on Sep 6, 2011
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2 Weeks Ago.

Big A** Lips

I haven’t felt this alive in a long time! was my first conscious thought as I peeled my face off the cement and spit a mouthful of blood onto the ground. Am I going to remember that? was the second.

My senses felt like they were raging at superhero levels—except that I was blind. I remember feeling individual grains of sand rolling underneath my finger pads. I noted their texture as they sank in and out of my fingerprint grooves. That’s unusual sand.

My tongue, who was feeling a little larger than usual, was on the search for teeth. I could taste blood, salty mucous, sand, and swollen everything. My tongue continued probing while my spine lifted my chest away from the ground. I can’t feel my top two front teeth. 

The temporary blindness was starting to fade away and I could see again. I was on my knees directly facing the rising sun, my back toward the road. I heard three cars pass the sidewalk. I hope one of them stops to help me look for my teeth. None did.

Maybe my gums are swollen around them. And after 30 seconds of looking, I decided that I could either get new teeth or come back and look later. I could smell flesh burning underneath my nose and had to start moving.

The words ‘I’m in shock right now’ repeated ominously inside my head like an emergency broadcast service announcement.  I tried tuning it out while performing an examination on my legs before standing up for the first time. I felt stable. I felt like a mountain. I couldn’t feel any pain, which was confusing me.

I remember glancing at my bike and noticing it was in 2 pieces and decided to leave it. I have to come back for my teeth anyway.  The scene of my wreck was the parking lot of a local municipality. There were 2 ambulances within 50 yards. I questioned their necessity as I dragged my feet across the pavement, dodging parked cars like the town drunkard.

Tracing a thick red finger stroke across the touch screen I dialed my wife, Erica. No answer. I spit out another mouthful of red Kool-Aid. Redial. Repeat.

Walking up to the open garage, the pristine red shine on the fire truck looked eerily similar to the glistening texture of my gory skinless shoulder. I wondered how many layers were missing from the right medial deltoid. I can’t see the bone—it’s fine.

I called into the massive hall thinking to myself that it would be rude to walk in and drip all over their impeccably clean floor. A man walked through the garage with an increasingly concerned look on his face. He kept walking, but said he was going to get help.

I felt my lips swelling up with each throb and the red goo gobs coming out of my mouth were decreasing. The paramedic, a middle-aged woman with glasses, red hair and perfectly pressed uniform, walked up to me slowly. Her name was Helen.

“Are you OK?” was her first question.

“Yeah” (sniff- hack-spit)—the mouthful was only half blood at this point—“I’m OK.”

“Do you want to go to the hospital?” was the second question.

“Not particularly.” The words were barely understandable as they bounced off my blubbery lips, which were blowing up like 2 red balloons.

I was also calling our office manager and Helen over heard me trying to say, “Cancel today’s patients,” several times before my blabbery could be understood. She asked if I was a doctor.

“Yes, I’m a chiropractor, but I know about these things too.”

“What happened?” was her next question. That’s a hell-of-a question, Helen.

A police officer joined us while he calmly conversed with his radio. I picked up my top lip with both hands and asked them in a deranged voice, “Hey, can you guys tell me if you see my 2 front teeth?”

It felt like an hour passed in that moment. Just like the 30 seconds that passed while I was on the ground looking for my teeth, which felt like an entire day. Or the instant of consciousness when my eyes first opened—that felt eternal.

The officer leaned in and took a deep breath. He told me that it looked like I had chipped them, but he could see them. He also confirmed that my gums were really swollen but that it was hard to tell because there was a good amount of blood coming from, well, just about everywhere on my face.

Helen turned to the officer and told him that I didn’t want to get in the ambulance or go to the hospital. Like I was a little kid who didn’t want to take a nap. The cop laughed at me. “You should really go get checked out, man.”

I politely acknowledged his statement and reached out for the towel and ice pack in Helen’s hand. There was a ground window a few steps away where I could see what my face was up to.

Day 4 - All cleaned up.

The two top front teeth were ground down past their adjacent teeth. No wonder I couldn’t find them. I remembered feeling the individual grains of sand in my mouth. Nope, not entirely sand. I would surgically remove a couple of tooth fragments from inside my swollen upper lip 6 hours later.

My nose was black and blue and bleeding from top to bottom. I wiggled it around to see if it was broken. Took a breath in and felt prana slide her slithery spirit through both nostrils. Clear.

My shoulder was missing a chunk of skin that was carved out in a perfect circle. My hands were dripping blood on everything. I didn’t have a clue what my lips were doing.



“I’m good,” I told them.

Helen followed with, “He’s OK. He’s a chiropractor.”

We all laughed together. The moment comforted me.

Declaring one final time, “I’ll be OK. I have 30 varieties of medicinal herb growing in my backyard.” My words were barely understandable and the cop looked at me inquisitively.

“All of them are legal, officer.” He seemed to believe me.

3 days prior my friend Laura from Punk Rock Gardens and her husband Sean were photographing my medicinal herb garden for a local magazine. I remembered the sound of Laura’s voice asking me the question “What called you to create this garden?”  For moments like this, of course.

I finally got hold of Erica and she was on her way. I waited cross–legged on the pavement, eyes closed, breathing deeply through my nose, drooling, focusing on the sensations in my body. What happens next in the mind has been subject to interpretation for the last 50,000 years of human civilization.

I thought about Helen’s question, “What happened?” I wasn’t ready for the stream of thoughts which inevitably lead me to “Why did this happen?”  But the seed was planted. I knew my karmic universal truths would flower in time.

When Erica arrived she was crying and immediately wrapped her arms around me as she said, “I Love You.”

Helen told her to at least get me to a dentist, even if against my will.

I know a good dentist. He does yoga.

To be continued…

Part 2. Herbal Triage.


About Brent Binder

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67 Responses to “Bicycle Accident. {True Story}”

  1. Ouch! Glad your okay, Brent. Uh, more or less. Just posted to the elej facebook page.… . I'll be waiting impatiently for the rest of the story! PS. Don't worry about the dental–just be sure to get the laughing gas 🙂

  2. Jason Ohrum says:

    Fantastic story so far. Great to see you this weekend, you are looking great all things considered.

  3. Dee says:

    I'm glad you're recovering quickly, Dr. B!

  4. Elysa Zinn says:

    Gruesome story and picutures. Glad you are recovering well and back to teaching. Hopefully you can pronounce snowflakes soon.

  5. Alex Hillebrand says:

    You’re one hell of a Biology Professor. Hard to create such a class entertaining, but you do a good job. I definitely got a kick out of this story the first day you came back.

  6. Megan Snyder says:

    I really enjoy you're outlook on life and I look forward to your class!

  7. Kyle P says:

    Great story to start out a semester with! you are the man and looking forward to a good class.

  8. Karen S. says:

    Professors usually help students get through an enjoyable semester when they're laid back and are capable of teaching. I feel like the two classes that I have with are going to be fun, entertaining, and at the same time full of useful information!

  9. Shelly says:

    Me oh my Brent…Scott told me you had a pretty bad bike accident but geeze oh man….I am glad to hear your are recovering and feeling better. Ever figure out what caused the spill???

  10. Zarina says:

    Dr. B– Glad you're okay! Also, glad to see that your sense of humor was still in tact, even after your accident! Truly inspiring! 🙂

  11. Abigail Markovich says:

    Your class makes me look forward to my Tuesdays and Thursdays! I never thought I would find myself interested the topics we discuss in class, but the way you present them is different from any other professor!

  12. Jessica DeGroff says:

    Great story! I'm glad I finally got to hear what really happened. Class is really interesting because (like abby said) the way you teach is very easy to understand and fun to learn!!!

  13. Alli Y. says:

    I'm looking forward to the rest of this story. As far as class, well, "when the student is ready, the teacher appears". You are speaking my language, and you are right on time! Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

  14. Amanda says:

    Good story Professor! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with our class!

  15. Dr. Julie says:

    Hey Dr. B.

    I want to say "so sorry about your accident" but I think you would disagree! Call me if you need an adjustment! You are a very talented writer. I think maybe you should consider teaching creative writing as well as the sciences. We need to catch up sometime. 🙂

  16. Tracy G. says:

    Doc B.

    So sorry to hear about your accident, but so glad that you are o.k.! Now your the one that needs an adjustment! Take care

  17. Jodi Behm says:

    Well its great that your injuries were not as bad as you everyone expected! This definitely relates to the class in a way that can help make some students, like myself, understand it better. Very interesting class and the enthusiasm you show in the way you teach makes a lot of the students aware of whats going on!

  18. drbinder says:

    Thanks for the bump, Lynn. Part 2 is coming soon!

  19. drbinder says:

    Thanks Dee, tune in for part 2 and see how i did it!

  20. drbinder says:

    Well I do my best, Alex. Thanks for commenting.

  21. drbinder says:

    Thanks, Megan. If you enjoy my outlook then you should have the same for yourself. That's the point I will try to make clear over the next 16 weeks. .

  22. drbinder says:

    HA, thats hilarious. Nothing special about me Kyle, just ask my wife.

  23. drbinder says:

    Thanks for the comment, Karen. With two classes and a lab it looks like we'll be spending a lot of time together this semester. But your speculation is accurate, I want to have fun and be useful. Let's see if i can pull it off!

  24. drbinder says:

    Kaitlin, I am glad I am a professor (though technically i am just a lecturer) who makes class interesting too!

    PS- those curbs do move fast when your not looking. 🙂

  25. drbinder says:

    You hit it right on the nose doc! No need for an apology when it turned in to a great experience.

    But I need to take a creative writing class before i can teach one. lol. I will be in touch SOON!

  26. Mark S says:

    Crazy story Dr. B, especially the part about feeling no pain (somewhat of a mind over body scenario). Your story is a true testament to the resourcefulness of humankind (no need for the hospital). I thoroughly enjoy your class, glad you are feeling better.

  27. Taylor Carter says:

    This is a great story Dr. B, I love how you are able to take what others would veiw as a terrible situation and make it such a positive life lesson. I appsolutly love you class and your enthusiam for what you teach & how you put meaning to everything you say in class. I feel so refreshed everytime i come out of class!

  28. Brooke says:

    sooo…i was kinda laughing the whole time i was reading this story, but i feel so bad for you. haha. im glad youre ok, biology class wouldnt be the same without you…we would be stuck doing silly worksheets! =] see ya tomorrow!

  29. Julio Lara says:

    Dr. B,

    Glad to see you are doing much better post accident. Still curious how you got those cuts to heal up so fast. I fell flat on my face on concrete two years ago & got cut up pretty bad myself, I made sure to keep my wound moist with neosporin to prevent a scab from forming and to allow the waste products from the tissue repair to more easily leave the wound, in the end I have no scar but if you look close enough you can see the skin under my eye is a lighter shade than the rest of my face, I assume its because its all new skin. Anyway i’m enjoying the class so far and look forward to a great semester.

  30. Jessika Lewallen says:

    This is such a gruesome story!

  31. drbinder says:

    Laughing is good medicine, Brooke. Thanks for recognizing this was a "tragic comedy" so to speak. But there is no need to feel bad (see Dr. Julie's comments above)

  32. drbinder says:

    Julio, I will discuss that in part 2! Thanks for your comments. It's good to have you in class.

  33. drbinder says:

    Thanks for your comments, RHarrison11. There is plenty more NOW to experience.

  34. drbinder says:

    Refreshed, empowered, energized, victorious! Yup, thats what I'm going for!
    Thanks for your comments, Taylor.

  35. drbinder says:

    Yes, Mark! It was mind over body. Great comment indeed. Thanks.

  36. drbinder says:

    Jodi, it's great to hear that the message is getting through. And I am also very happy to hear that you are enjoying it.

  37. drbinder says:

    HA! Isn't that the truth.

  38. drbinder says:

    Give it time, Michelle. It comes at you pretty fast in the beginning. Soon it will all blow your mind while simultaneously moving you to a better place. And it will all make sense. Have Fun with it.

  39. drbinder says:

    Lavan, this is a great comment. I truly appreciate your words. I am amazed that your amazed, because really, I am not that amazing.

  40. drbinder says:

    Your welcome, Amanda. Thanks for your comments.

  41. drbinder says:

    Great quote, Alli. It's one of my all time favorites. Remember that Life is the real teacher and you have to pay attention in order to learn. Great comment, thank you.

  42. mark richoux says:

    Some very good points Dr. B! I like how you try to make the most out of every situation and not let things get you down, especially something of this magnitude. You are a great writer!

  43. drbinder says:

    Jessica, way to read other people's comments before submitting your own! That makes for a good discussion usually. Thanks for your comments and I am so tickled to hear that I make learning fun!

  44. drbinder says:

    Thank you, Abigail. It's amazing when you find out that Life is actually interesting. Isn't it?

  45. drbinder says:

    Thank You for your comment, Zarina. It would be a shame if the accident turned me into an angry mean old professor. HA!

  46. drbinder says:

    Now I know why "Fool on the Hill" was running through your mind, but you'll have to wait for part 2 to find out why. I have plants that can do that ya know! All of them are legal. Thank You for your comments and your stellar elephant etiquette. You deserve more than the same. Much Love to you.

  47. drbinder says:

    Elysa, very funny! Your sense of humor will take you far in this life. Great comment, thanks.

  48. drbinder says:

    Thanks, Mark. I am glad you noticed. Thanks for commenting.

  49. drbinder says:

    Indeed it is. Everyone seems to have a different reaction to it. Some laugh, some cry, some cringe. Thanks for your unique individual reaction, Jessika.