Today I experienced such a wide range of emotions, I am not sure I have even processed it all quite yet. But writing has always helped me organize my thoughts, so I decided to put it down all here – for better or worse. So here goes:
The morning actually started out well. We swam in the pool today and although I missed the ocean, I was happy to have an opportunity to swim in such a nice outdoor pool! I felt surprisingly strong this morning. I generally don’t expect to feel strong late in the week, but was happy at the surprise. I love the days when I can really feel the water rushing past me and I can feel the pressure of the water against my hand. On good days, I can visualize my hand as a paddle and I feel like I am pushing off from a wall as my hand moves through the stroke.
I did my swim interval sets this morning and shortened the interval by about 10 seconds after the first couple sets. I wasn’t sure I would make the faster interval throughout the swim – but I happily made it each time! There were a couple where my rest was cut a bit short, but for most I had a good amount of time. I ended the swim with 200 yards fly (for 1 point). All I can say about that is I finished it — I felt and probably looked like I was drowning
We got back to the house for my favorite meal of the day (breakfast) cooked by our expert chief Etienne, and our transition to the bike. We set out for our ride to captain cook with a KOM ride up C4 highway. It was a scorching hot morning. As we turned back uphill from Captain Cook, the wind died down and I felt like I was melting into a little puddle on my bike. I watched the group climb away from me as I turned into a puddle of boiling hot Maya.
Sarah came back to get me before we turned on to the Mamalahoa highway, and we trucked along together through the rolling hills. I saw my mom riding along up ahead up over the next hill, and we pushed along towards her.
As we crested the top of the next hill, I saw a truck stopped at the bottom of the hill and a crowd around. “Oh no,” I thought, “please don’t let that be my mom, please don’t let that be her.” I saw a flash of her hot pink jog bra around one of the standers’ by feet and my heart rose to my throat. I knew it was her. I don’t remember crossing the distance to her, I don’t remember getting off my bike. All I know is that I had to be there – to let her know I was there. I just kept talking to her, holding her head, doing whatever I could to comfort her and to keep her still. As I was with her, I did a quick look over her body. She was coherent but had a deep gash on her knee. She didn’t seem to be bleeding excessively so I didn’t want to disturb her at all to wrap it with anything.
Sarah was amazing through this process – she organized the bikes, collected all of our bits and pieces, called our support crew, talked to the witnesses. The ambulance responded quickly and thankfully was there in only minutes after she was down – though it seemed like hours. I was so focused on her that I was mostly okay, until the paramedics told me I needed to step away, and then I fell to pieces watching them strap her down.
I rode in the ambulance with her to the ER, talked to the paramedics, signed tons of forms… I talked to the police officer, who asked me an endless string of questions I couldn’t answer. I told him I didn’t see her go down. I only know the bits and pieces she told me before they brought her in. He asked which way the car was turning, how fast she was going, how fast the car was going, did the driver stop, and on and on. At the time, I didn’t know. I hadn’t seen anything. Eventually the police officer took down her information and left. I was shuttled out of the ER to the cold and empty waiting room. Where I did just that, I waited.
Eventually Etienne and Sarah joined me and I was so happy to see a familiar face; to not feel quite so alone.
From here it was a lot of waiting. I won’t go into the details of all of the tests, but they were many. The nurses at the hospital were wonderful. They let me come back once my mom was back to her room and it was so emotional to see her again. Hilariously she was upset that I didn’t continue to ride and I wasn’t going to get my points for the day. I kept telling her it didn’t matter, I just wanted to be there with her. Sometimes it is easier though to hold on to the little things that may matter less (like getting points for my ride, or saving the ring they had to cut off her finger). Because without these things to focus on, the terror of the situation would make it’s way back into my heart.
Finally her emotion gave way to anger at the driver that hit her, which the nurse said was a good sign. Another positive step followed when all the tests came back negative – no broken bones, no concussion. She had road rash and a considerable gash in her knee, but overall the result was as good as we could have hoped for.
My mom is amazing and so tough — she got up and walked right out of that hospital. We got home by 5pm and it was funny because I didn’t even question that it was time for my 10 km run. It was cathartic to run. Exercise always helps me process events and situations. About 10 minutes into the run all the day’s events came back to me and I broke down sobbing along Ali’i drive. I walked for a bit to get myself back together and then took off. Hilariously, this was my fastest run I have had here this week.
I am just so grateful. Whatever you believe in – a higher power, almighty, karma, or pure chance, I am so thankful to all of these things that my mom is still here with me and although slightly bumped, bruised, and stitched up, she is whole. I am also eternally grateful to our Epic group (crew and campers). Everyone was so amazing and supportive through the entire process, we could not have asked for a better group.