We’ve been very touched by the texts, emails and Facebook of support since my accident yesterday. With only one exception, everyone has been very encouraging — blaming the victim doesn’t really help anything.
Confusing matters is the two other motorbike accidents that happened on the same day, and were reported in the paper. I was not killed, and I did not lose control of my bike. Rather, I was “old ladied.”
It was a beautiful spring day, and I decided to go for a little ride on my bike between meetings, to unwind. There’s a nice curvy route near home that takes about 20 minutes to gently cruise. As I rounded a corner, an old lady in a SUV pulled out of a driveway, looking the other way, but not toward me. She noticed me, finally and stopped, and I was able to swing around her. On the other side of the corner, there’s a T-junction that I was driving straight along. Yet another old lady suddenly began veering toward the wrong side of the road, apparently starting a turn about half a block too early. She didn’t see me right away either, but again, put on the brake when she noticed I was there. I also started braking, and leaning hard to swing around her. Unfortunately there was a telephone pole next to the road, and I couldn’t lean too far, but I got far enough around that I was clear… was clear. As I swung around her, the old lady apparently got confused and put on the gas again. With both lanes of the road now filled by her car, and a post beside me, I had no option but to put the bike down and hope to roll away. Unfortunately, her speed and mine were fast enough that I didn’t quite escape, and she caught me with the front corner of her bumper, smashing my left leg into my bike.
Thankfully we both stopped, and the car didn’t roll through me. The bike was down and I was literally able to sit down on it, having saved my other leg from getting trapped underneath it — and my head/back from smashing into the telephone pole. While I cursed at the old lady who still seemed to be processing what had happened, bystanders moved to help me off the road, old lady repeating “Why did I do that? Why did I do that?” (and me wondering the same thing!)
The town’s volunteer fire department arrived first, asking questions I would answer again and again all day. A cop got there next to ascertain what had happened — all the witness corroborated my account of the apparently homicidal tendancies of the old bat from hell. The ambulance took 20 minutes to get there, while I writhed in agony on the grass. I asked to be taken to the hospital Nic will be delivering at, because we’re now 4 days over-due. The ride was longer, rougher and more painful, but worth it.
They got me into surgery pretty fast, pinning and plating two fractures on the left side of my left ankle, and putting a post along the right side of my shin bone. The police officer came by to let me know that the old lady had decided she didn’t want to wear her glasses that day — despite the condition for them on her license — and on top of that impairment, he’d charged her with making an unsafe turn. We agreed she was beyond her capacity for driving. I still have no explanation why she pushed the gas pedal again, when I was clear and would have escaped otherwise.
Last night was hell as I tried to convince the nurses that my pain was not being managed by the meds they gave me — apparently the night nurse unilaterally decided to stop the morphine, telling me I needed to suck it up. I was in too much pain to move, so when they gave me a jug to pee in, ignoring the call button for a half an hour at a time, most of it ended up in my lap. Having broken or damaged a limb 6 times, I knew there was something wrong, but the nurses left me in agony in a pool of my own urine, refusing to listen to my pleas for help. They told me to get some sleep while I was in a room with 6 other patients, all getting more attention than me — loudly all night long.
When the surgeon finally came in at the end of today, he confirmed that my swelling was unusually high, due to the scope of my injuries, and I should be on stronger pain meds. After about 12 hours, I was able to convince a nurse to help me change out of my soiled underwear. Apparently they’d all been convinced I’d be going home at the end of the day. The surgeon says I’m at risk for compartmentalization, and will be keeping me through Monday. The vindication is of little consolation.
I’ve read things like “what Jon did” from some people on Facebook, and I’d like to make it clear that Jon did, and has been doing, the best possible in these situations. Had I been in a car, the dumb broad still would have hit me, and I’d likely be looking at a back injury. A broken leg sucks, but if managed properly, worst case scenario is 6 weeks at home, doing e-mail, watching TV and holding my new baby daughter. That’s almost a vacaation — it certainly could be worse.
Nic, thankfully hasn’t gone into labor yet, but the situation is OK — I’ll be staying in the hospital where she will be delivering, and by tomorrow, should be mobile enough to get wheeled into the delivery room with her when it happens.
I went for a nice little ride on my reasonable little bike, and got caught by compounding stupidity of an unreasonable driver. I didn’t do anything wrong, and I’d appreciate it if my medical care practitioners would listen to me. I’m fast becoming convinced that private health care is the way to go…