October 26th, 2006

Army surplus ninja

Face/Still On

Precis (for the TLDR inclined): On Tuesday evening I fell off my bike and grazed my face, but I'm alright.

This is what happened:
Leave the Old Tom after a couple of pints and a very pleasant chat with the usual crowd.
Start cycling home behind tinyjo.
Wake up lying face down in the road in a growing pool of blood. Seem to recall braking hard and (somehow) going over my handle-bars. tinyjo, art_geek and archie are nearby. Reassure them that I'm conscious.
Decide that there's no point in putting it off, and try moving my feet. They work. This is one of the best moments of my life.
Ambulance arrives. Two attractive paramedic ladies strap me to a board, and carry me into the ambulance. tinyjo joins us. They unbutton my coat, and start to push up my t-shirt...
...once again, expectations raised by pornography are dashed by real life. I'm connected to a heart monitor and given oxygen.
Try to talk the nice paramedics into not cutting my coat and fleece off, because I'm quite fond of them both. That I succeed is quite a heartening sign. Clearly they don't think I'm in that much danger and/or they fancy me.
Arrive at hospital. Prodded and poked by nice lady doctor. I seem to be giving all the right answers about which bits hurt, and what I can feel. My wrists, shoulders and right cheek are painful, but they seem to have taken the force of the impact.
Matey male nurse comes by to wipe the gravel out of my cheek (wince), then sew up my jaw. tinyjo leaves to get a cup of tea. I wish I could. Actually, it wasn't really that bad. The worse bit was feeling the blood enthusiastically spurting onto my neck and chest as he did it. Have changed my mind about what to wear to our office Hallowe'en fancy dress day. Was going to go as Alex from Clockwork Orange, but The Phantom Of The Opera is seeming much more appropriate now.
Another few tests from the doctor. I still seem to be giving the right answers. It's looking like we'll just have to hang around until 4, by which time they'll be fairly confident that all is well and send me home.
Lying around. Listening to other patients being interviewed, I realise that nursing sounds a lot like tech support. It certainly seems to involve a lot of talking to unreliable users, trying to isolate what's actually wrong from their unhelpful and vague ramblings.
tinyjo and I sit around playing games on our phones. I'm matching up coloured bubble to make them disappear, she is playing a fish photographer simulation. I am slightly jealous. Must download some better games.
tinyjo zonks out in her chair with her head on my bed. I stand up and wander around my cubical for bit. All seems to be well. Consider blogging, but it seems like it would be both boring and worrying, so instead start writing up my notes on Burning Man. Some day I may even blog them...
Nurse says that a doctor should be by in about 20 minutes to discharge me. Relief. Maybe tinyjo will be able to make it on her planned IKEA trip tomorrow after all.
No sign of the doctor. However, we can hear attempts at diagnosis coming from a few beds away, so we suspect that we know who to blame: a guy who (according to his incoherent answers) hasn't eaten for four weeks, drinks 2 litres of cider a day, and suffers from 'funny coloured' vomit and falling over. Figures.
Doctor comes by to check that I'm still OK, and to hand me some pieces of paper on what to do to look after my stitches and head injury. Home soon.
Wake up on floor of hospital, surrounded by worried looking hospital staff and tinyjo. The back of my head hurts. I fear we may not be going home just yet...
tinyjo explains what happened. Apparently I gave a big sigh, slumped sideways onto the bed, then rolled bonelessly off onto the floor.
There is grave talk of scans, but after running through all the tests again (I'm getting used to this), they conclude that it was probably just me fainting through blood-loss and dehydration, not necessarily anything more serious. Still, I'm going to have to stay until morning.
My bed is shoved through to another ward, mercifully quieter and darker. I'm left in peace while orderlies quiz tinyjo about her Samsung Q1. Truly, her laptop brings all the boys to the yard.
After fitful sleep and a meagre breakfast, I'm finally discharged. Cab home. Much relief.
To my delight, I'm able to take my t-shirt off instead of cutting it off. It's a Brownies t-shirt designed for a 9 year-old girl so it's a bit tight, and I was worried that it would scrape my facial injuries, but I manage to contort my way out of it. After a bath to sooth my various aches and sponge the matted blood out of my hair, I'm feeling much better.

Much better. Wrists and shoulder still painful, but not actually debilitating. Face not too grotesque, and improving. It seems likely that I'll end up with a scar on my jaw-line where it was stitched up, but should be more-or-less OK other than that. Enormously glad that this happened after the wedding season. I'd hate to have the happy couple's once-in-a-lifetime photos marred by my current gruesome visage (though I guess they could always have claimed that there was no-one of my appearance at the ceremony, and that the ghastly images only showed up in the developed photos. That would have been pretty cool...)

Anyway, I'm grateful to art_geek and archie for keeping me company and laughing at my witticisms while we waited for the ambulance, and for all those who have extended their best wishes since. I am, of course, profoundly grateful to tinyjo for looking after me at the hospital and afterwards. I'm a lucky man...
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