Ubiñas: Hel on wheels is back

Allow me a slight detour before we get back to business.

Some of you may have noticed I've been missing from Philly.com and the pages of the Daily News for two months.

A nurse at the Lancaster Hospital emergency room drew up the diagram to help Helen keep track of her injuries.

Sorry to disappoint all the trolls who keep asking, but, no, I wasn't fired.

I was in a nasty bicycle accident July 16 that sidelined me for most of the summer.

I'd share the details, but I don't remember them.

One minute I was on my bike on a paved trail in bucolic Lancaster, looking forward to a beer at lunch and preparing for the week ahead. (Damn if that old saying isn't true: Life really is what happens when you're making other plans.)

The next minute I was on the ground, staring at a fellow biker who happened to be a nurse. I probably was just projecting my own fear, but despite her reassuring voice, I was convinced her eyes were telling me I was in deep trouble. How much trouble was later illustrated by a handy drawing (it looked a lot like a chalk outline) created by an ER nurse at Lancaster Hospital to help me keep track of all my injuries.

Among them:

A concussion.

A fractured collarbone.

A fractured elbow.

A fractured pelvis and six or seven fractured ribs.


Fast forward eight weeks of trying to unscramble my concussed brain (yes, I was wearing a helmet) and to regain strength in a limp noodle of a left arm - both still works in progress - and here we are.

Oh, admit it: You missed me a little . . .

I certainly missed being around when I defied my concussion doctor's orders to stay offline, and peeked at stories I was missing:

* The Democratic National Convention. I was so distraught about being out of commission during such a big event in my own backyard that my concussion doctor gently suggested I talk to a therapist. I decided to get over it and skip the shrink.

* The grifter otherwise known as District Attorney Seth Williams, who last month belatedly disclosed $160,050 in gifts, including a $45,000 roof repair and family vacations to Key West, Fla. And, in unrelated absurdity, whose ex-girlfriend was arrested for slashing his tires. The abs-obsessed DA is a columnist's dream. Or nightmare, when you're not around to riff on his escapades that should have voters thinking long and hard about re-electing him.

But the column I was most disappointed in having to shelve while I recovered was one I was working on before my accident about a mother on a mission to find her son's killer. I was going to include Lisa Espinosa's story today, but her inspirational efforts to get justice for her youngest son deserve their own space in my next column. Stay tuned.

I had a lot of time to think while I was recovering. I was broken and scared that I wasn't going to be put back together again. More than a few times, negative thoughts got the best of me, but then my mind always returned to the people who stopped to help me when I crashed. The kind and super-fit couple: the woman who biked out of the trail to lead the ambulance to me and the man who stayed behind to watch over me. The nurse on the trail, who kept me calm. Her friend, who happened to be the wife of a pastor and asked whether it was OK to pray for me. My husband, who was biking in front of me when I crashed. We all held hands and prayed.

Trust me, whatever your religious beliefs, when you're splayed out on pavement wondering how you got there and someone suggests prayer, you enthusiastically say, "Yes!"

I wish I had gotten their names to say thank you.

When doctors keep saying "You're lucky not to be in worse shape," you tend to take stock of your life and get grateful mighty quickly.

I'm grateful for a lot of things, not the least of which is the privilege of being back right here with you.


215-854-5943 @NotesFromHel