Saturday, 24 May 2014

The thin line between life and death

I broke my wrist and my collarbone in a cycle accident.  I do not really remember what happened, so this is what I think happened.  I was late in meeting someone, and was probably going to fast down a hill, which I had gone down many times before, when I must have seen a tree heading towards me.  I imagine since my bike is unharmed that I slammed my brakes on too hard, and went flying over the top.  I must have been holding out my hands to try and cushion the impact, but that did not work.  I slammed into the tree, breaking my right wrist and now likely fracturing my left wrist as well, as it is starting to go black and blue.  If I am honest, I must have been going around 25/30 miles an hour down a steep hill, far too fast in hindsight.

The amazing thing is that if I slammed the brakes on and flew straight over the top, hitting the tree first with my hands.  I should have carried on and hit the tree with my head.  This would have snapped my neck like a twig, but somehow I changed my direction in mid-air and hit the tree grazing my right cheek and smashing into my right collarbone which I broke.  I also damaged my left leg and my back is sore as well.  I think I was unconscious for about half an hour, as the time I started that particular track, it was 1:15, and by the time I decided I better hurry up because, I was late, it was 1:45.

Luckily, for me some kind cyclists saw me, and they helped me. They were surprised I was trying to get back on my bike, but I knew they must have been there a while as the ambulance arrived immediately, as soon as we reached the end of the pathway, there was the ambulance car, not a proper ambulance, that arrived soon after.  I was in shock and in quite a bit of pain, my whole body felt like the hulk had just slammed me against a wall.

The first ambulance guy thought I had a concussion, because I was repeating myself, but it was only shock, I was in gaga land.  The second ambulance arrived and they checked me over, they knew immediately I had either broken or fractured my collarbone, they put a sling from my right arm, cut my t-shit open; I looked like Bruce Banner after he has changed back, only I was starting to go black and blue.  To be honest I felt fine, they asked if I wanted morphine or Paracetamol, quite a difference I thought, but since I did not feel that much pain, I said Paracetamol.  The pain came later.  Adrenaline must have been coursing through my body, as I felt quite hyper.

The most unconformable part of the whole experience at this point was lying on their gurneys, they are the most uncomfortable things, and I could not move into a better position, so I sat with pain in my backside as well as my arm and wrist.

Arriving at the hospital, quickly they moved me straight into a large room with other patients, they gave me 60 mg of codeine, and a doctor immediately asked me where the pain was.  I was not very coherent at this time, as I only told them about my arm and my collarbone; I forgot my leg and my other wrist.   I did ask is this a new section of casualty, as I had never seen it before, the nurse said, “No this is for serious accidents”, which cheered me up no end.  Within seconds they rushed me down to x-ray, where they confirmed I had either broken or fractured - I cannot remember which, my collarbone and my wrist. 

Soon after, I had not been in for long; a young nurse came and started putting what they call a soft plaster on my right forearm and wrist.  It was her first time unassisted, and she was very nice, as were all the nurses and doctors.  They did not check me over or give me a full medical so to speak, they just plastered my wrist, and then gave me some pills and sent me out the door for a waiting taxi.  I think I had been in less than two hours. Since then I have had to go back to the doctors, as my left knee is extremely sore, plus the soft plaster has come off, I am not sure what happens next, do they have to put another one on.  I have an appointment to have an x-ray on my left knee, and I have a physio session booked for the 11th June, I could have had it earlier but I wanted my body time to try and heal itself.

Overall, it was quite an experience, and another one to add the long list of accidents I have had.  In a strange way I feel incredibly lucky, first that somehow my body manoeuvred itself so that the only part that did not get any sustained injury was my neck and head.  How this happened I will never as know, if I had hit the tree as I should have, I would have broken my neck without a doubt, and I would not be sitting here typing now, so I feel extremely lucky.  I feel lucky that three kind people were passing around the time of my accident.  I feel lucky that I had such excellent paramedics that got me to hospital quickly and had a very nice attitude towards the situation.  I feel lucky I had such caring nurses and a doctor who was not your usual type.   She showed empathy and was good at her job, considering she was looking after about six or seven patients at the same time.

Most of all I feel lucky to be alive, it was not my time, and yet it could have been, it is amazing how small the difference between life and death occurs.  This is the third time I have survived death by the narrowest of margins, so that’s three lives gone only six more to go.

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