I have mentioned before that Riccarton Road is my nemesis; this time for different reasons.
So there I was, crossing the road to transfer buses to go and try on some awesome shoes my sister had pointed me to. Half way across, and the traffic was moving slowly enough (though clearly about to speed up) that I thought I could dash in front of this red car to get the rest of the way.
In my defense, I was right. I got past the red car, and it was the black car coming up beyond it, moving somewhat faster, that hit me. I'd forgotten that (semi-official?) other lane there.
It seems likely that it was my elbow that hit the windshield (my elbow is barely hurt but the windshield got a great big spiderweb). I definitely remember tumbling through the air, and my head impacting something. My memory doesn't speak much to chronological order, but a witness says that was the road. I also remember the expectation that I was about to be hit by more cars, and the fleeting but profound sense, not easily put into words, that I had just made a very very poor life choice. I was I think about 80% expecting to be killed and was quite unwilling and chagrined at the idea.
Then there were people helping me up to support me getting off the road. My leg hurt a lot but I was most careful of my head because I have sufficient second-hand experience (naming no names) of concussion and post-concussion syndrome to be super paranoid of such. I didn't think I'd lost consciousness and more importantly witnesses didn't think so either, but I knew right away that it was a good bang. In retrospect I can understand why people say they 'saw stars' but it wasn't really like that. It was primarily like wearing a bicycle helmet made up of a buzzing which muffled everything, and secondarily the buzzing was kind of like the 'snow' static on an old tv screen except yellow.
So sitting on the footpath it became clear that I had a giant bruise on the left of my knee - this is what hurt the most, in that "How can I position this so that it will stop hurting?" agony that has no satisfactory answer. Also I spotted a bruise on my foot under my sandal and there was of course the huge bump on my head. The buzzing subsided but any movement of my head made me dizzy. I was shaking in shock and expected to get cold so put my coat on at one point, but wasn't actually cold. People were asking if I was normally this pale and you know I'm awfully pale but I bet I was even paler than normal.
Someone was calling for an ambulance and someone else got some ice from the nearby McDonalds. Due to instructions from the phone I wasn't allowed to eat any of the ice which disappointed me because my mouth was super dry. But mostly I was anxious to assure people that a) it wasn't the driver's fault and b) I wasn't going to up and walk away before the ambulance got there (I've seen someone do that though less injured after all).
The ambos (after their initial check) got me into the ambulance in this cool orange wheelchair. It folded out like a campstool, but then it had a belt and they could wheel me on it. Various questions - I told the story many times over the next hours - from the ambo and a cop though just identity stuff there, she met me at the hospital later to get the statement. (I spotted two police cars. Not sure what rated the second one; hopefully it was just a slow evening and not some pile-up I didn't notice, though that's possible since I wasn't noticing anything outside my immediate vicinity.)
Once the ambulance was off, I was allowed a bit of water from a pottle, which they then held for me because I was shaking amazingly and uncontrollably. My teeth were chattering so hard I was consciously keeping my tongue out of the way. They also gave me a bunch of ibuprofen and paracetamol nom nom.
Also they tried to take Blenheim Road in order to avoid traffic on Riccarton Road. Lol. As much as Riccarton Road traffic is my nemesis, even I'm forced to admit that Blenheim Road is never the solution. It took something like half an hour to get to the hospital. At least I was feeling much better by then.
ED was a bit more boring. Short version: I had an instinctive aversion to putting any weight at all on my left foot; dizziness all gone but some weird pressure in my ear, like after you've gone swimming. They couldn't see anything so probably just dislodged wax or something. I got x-rays on the foot - the bruise spread across the top of the foot just before all the toes start, that is all the toes except for the big toe. It turns out that the big toe, almost completely unbruised and sans pain, was the one that was broken.
Once they'd checked I wasn't showing signs of concussion or of internal injury I was left alone quite a bit so I thought I'd get out my e-reader. My e-reader was not in my bag no matter how hard I looked. I eventually resigned myself to the fact that it must have been in my hand, got thrown across Riccarton Road, and suffered some fate less fortunate than my own. (RIP, Pocketbook 360: you will be missed. Shall have to start investigating a replacement.)
When I finally got sent for a cast therefore I eagerly read the osteoporosis poster on the wall. A nurse noticed me doing this and pointed out I'm a bit young for that but it's not like they'd given me anything else to read.
Now, at some point while still on the footpath someone asked me how I'd get home from hospital and I somehow still figured it for 50/50 calling my family vs catching a bus home by myself. Haha. I lost this illusion fairly quickly (especially remembering I'd need to be observed for concussion), but it still took the nurses who put the cast on to convince me that I was not in fact going to go to work next day as usual. Seriously at that point I felt fine: I'd have been careful and kept taking the pills and allowed extra time to move places with crutches and kept my foot up on a chair all day but why not?
They explained it to me and today at my parents' house I felt it: that thing where I was in shock and shaking all over? that was adrenaline firing up All The Muscles. And today All The Muscles are aching. Especially the ones I never knew existed, like the muscles that chew and the muscles that move things around in your mouth so you can chew more effectively; as well as the muscles that hold your neck up and the muscles that help you sit up or even just shift to a more comfortable position.
I did today do some work from home because Bored, but not as much as I'd originally planned because sitting in one spot is distractingly annoying and also the few other things I had to do (eat; bathroom; get driven home for laptop and change of clothes and to feed the cat, and back to parents' via pharmacy for drugs) take extra long.
Anyway though I'm basically incredibly well off considering. Just on orders to be off work with my leg up for a week; then they switch this temporary cast (space left on the side to allow for swelling) for a more long-term fibreglass one, which I can apparently pick the colour for. I'm thinking purple.
Then I'm really hoping I will be able to go back to work, though there may be a lot of working from home in my near future: my work is very flexible about that sort of thing, but I hate it because my laptop is very awkward with the kinds of tasks I have, and yet putting my leg up on a 75-minute bus commute is even more awkward. So we'll see.
Oh also another cultural thing, which is they've given me ACC forms, which is public insurance for accidental injury, in a similar way to how we have EQC for earthquake property damage. I gather the idea was so that we wouldn't have to resort to suing people in order to be able to pay medical bills etc. You know, the usual commie death panel stuff. So I was reading these forms before being discharged, which is how when asked by a hospital aide for the umpteenth time what happened I could much more succinctly answer, "Ped vs car".
- In which she researches shock and head injuries