I remember turning up the gas (I was on my bike pedalling as furiously as I could) and mashing into this corner I have done over and over before. It was early, and I’d done a thorough scan — there were no cars, there was no danger, so I chose a pretty aggressive line at a decent speed. I started to lean maybe halfway through the roundabout at Suncorp Stadium. The road dips down here and I was taking a line (because I was on a bike) that not many vehicles can use. Suddenly the bike just washed away and I was sideways, sliding and sliding. The road was so wet I wondered when I would stop.
When I eventually came to some equilibrium I took a breath knowing I wasn’t in any danger and laid down on the road just pondering what was next. If the lady with a takeaway coffee in her hand hadn’t suddenly been towering above me I might have stayed there a bit longer.
“Are you alright?” she said.
“No,” I said rather pathetically and embarrassingly. I instantly knew this was going to be bad. As I picked up my bike I could see the blood had already streamed all the way down my arm only stopping at my right glove. She had a look at my arm and was visibly and audibly horrified. She apparently could see tendons – maybe bone. (I refused to look). It was then I saw a bunch of other people there congregating around that “hole-in-the-wall” coffee place. She asked inside for something to stop the bleeding and he offered paper napkins – but she was like – I need something more substantial.
I sat down as she wrapped up my arm in a cloth tea towel and I considered what to do. I called Dee but she didn’t pick up. It was still very early in the morning. Maybe just after 6am.
I was only about 2km from home, but the blood just kept coming, so after a minute I thought the best course was to call an ambulance – have them check me out – then give them the option to get Dee to pick me up cause I was probably fine. Easy.
But the woman who came to my aid, named “Renae” I found out, started calling 000. So it was decided. Renae had to answer a billion questions – mainly about how to describe the bleeding (which she found very complicated).
By now I just laid down on the footpath as far out of the way and waited. A few other people came and sat with me. A doctor even stopped on her way to work but I said I was fine and an ambulance was on the way. “Do you want to look at the gash?” I said. “Not really,” she said. LOL. Another woman put a picnic blanket under my head. Of course I accidentally managed to knock over Renae’s coffee just to be THE MOST WORST person to randomly rescue.
By then I had got through to Dee. In the confusion of waking her up she thought Dan Angus was the one in trouble through some breakdown in communication. She was soon there and after many thank-yous everyone else filtered off. Another tea towel had to be appropriated cause my blood had soaked up the first one.
The guy from the coffee shop was checking on me every so often and wondering if he could help so I asked him to take the front wheel off the bike. I was guiding him through the process on my back, looking backwards and was saying, “No, turn it counter-clockwise!” And he was like, “I am – you’re just upside down.” UGH – I am the WORST.
To add to the entire indignity of the situation it started to rain – so I put my sunglasses back on so at least the water wasn’t attacking my eyes.
A few minutes later there was a mysterious woman above me holding a massive golf umbrella. “Gday,” she said. I looked up and said “Hi!” well before I realised she was a paramedic. “Rescue at last,” I secretly thought. She asked if I could walk and I instinctively got up and I went and sat in one of the chairs at the back of the ambulance. The paramedic’s name was also randomly “Renae”. After we had a good chuckle about that, she took off those improvised bandages and had a decent look. She said the tissue had sort of rolled up. It was a pretty deep laceration and I would need stitches etc. And off we went to the RBWH.
At that point I lamented, “Dammit. I am going to miss the Mars rover landing.” My phone had disappeared and I could only hope Dee had it. (She did). So Renae got out her phone and dialled up the live feed just in time to see the shute successfully deploy. Then what seemed only seconds later the rover was confirmed to be safe on the surface and I got to see all of mission control getting excited, although there were no hugs and high fives. And everyone had masks and were naturally spaced apart.
I tried to make conversation saying my last trip in an ambulance wasn’t as interesting. (That time I was on the gurney in a neck brace looking straight up the whole time.) Now I could look out the window, see all the cool stuff they had, all the signs and important-looking medical equipment — AND — see a freaking landing on Mars for fucks sake. Wooshka!
At the RBWH I was checked in and they noted that the last time I was there was a “Bike vs Car” incident. Renae led me to “Fast Track” and even she got lost. The place was pretty quiet. It seemed like I was the only patient around. Renae was like, “You are lucky. It will get very busy soon.”
As I shuffled in, everyone kinda looked at me like that vibe you get in the doctor’s surgery waiting room — “what’s he here for?” I could literally hear them thinking that but I figured my bike-kit-lycra was a dead giveaway.
Once I was at a bed Renae had to say her goodbye and a doctor called Felix and a nurse whose name I didn’t catch was in charge of me. They asked if I needed pain relief and I was like, “Nah – I’m fine. I can’t feel a thing.” They were then a bit like YODA. “You will be….You will be.” So I got the vibe and took the drugs. Just panadol and nurofen. A bit later they gave me another pill which apparently was called “ENDO”.
Then I had to get out of my lycra and saw there was a massive goitre-like lump on my right thigh. To call it a “Lump” is a massive understatement. It was the size of a rockmelon and seemingly growing. It was covered in scratches and naturally inflamed.
Dee magically appeared wearing a “VISITOR” sticker. That was a massive relief because sans-phone I was wondering all the old-school ways of contacting her and letting her know where I was. Like a PA announcement or something!
Suddenly the pain started. It wasn’t in my arm. It was my leg. It was that pain that makes you shiver. Retrospectively I imagine it was the swelling meeting the road-rash and so this onslaught of STINGING ensued.
Next was X-rays and here I was in a purple smock without the back tied up and I had to get in all sorts of different positions for the many, many X-Rays to work and I am utterly convinced that my pathetic bike-riding-shrivlled-up-junk was exposed. I am so sorry to the two radiographers who did their best not to notice. I really did expect someone to say, “Wow – maybe you need that looked at too.”
WARD and NITROUS
Back in the “Fast-Track Ward” there was a shift change and I got a new doctor. They were asking me about my last tetanus shot and I was like, “It’s cool. It was just the other day! It was when I got bitten by that dog!” But then Dee and I dug through my phone and worked out it was actually 6 years ago. So I go that shot. They also gave me some more ENDONE (which is what it’s actually called I have now worked out.)
Then that nurse came in with a big bottle and a funny tube. “Have you ever had Nitrous Oxide before?” She asked. “No!” I said, “ But I am looking forward to this!” It was very complicated getting the gas out (you have to really gulp) but it did the trick. My wound got thoroughly cleaned. (He could see bone so if I got an infection in that area it would be near-impossible to treat.)
After the stitches where the doctor confirmed that gingers need more anaesthetic — look that up — we got to go home. The pain was pretty intense but I managed to get the clothes on Dee had brought me. Getting shoes on was impossible so I just walked out in socks. Dee had to run off and get the car from the car park so I just waited at the main entrance. But the pain and the shock was just crazy. I was dizzy and nauseous and I really thought I would faint. I tried leaning on a bollard but it wasn’t good enough. The seats were wet with rain. So I just laid down on the concrete where it was dry. Everyone just walked past me like it was natural. Some people practically brushed past me. I’m not complaining about that — but wow! I didn’t want to make a fuss but what if I was in real trouble? Eventually Dee was calling me saying I am here and I had to get up and I made it that last 30m. PHEW!
GORY PICS BELOW: (don’t look unless you want to).