Who Am I?

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A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

09 November 2010

Collateral Damage

In the words of Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, the Chief Engineer on the Starship Enterprise, “Ya canna change the laws o’physics!” When you throw yourself off a motorcycle and go tumbling down the pavement at 25 mph there are consequences to pay.

Although my broken arm was the focus of my attention immediately afterward, there were other injuries suffered in my accident. I mean, thinking back, even though I had just grabbed the brakes and had started to slow down, I honestly hit the ground still going about 25 or 30 mph. Trouble is, the pain from the other bangs was so comparatively less than that of the arm that they temporarily faded to near insignificance. It wasn’t until the pain in the upper arm abated that these other injuries made themselves known. Then boy, did they!

For one thing, my whole arm was beat up, not only from the shoulder to the elbow, but the elbow itself and down the forearm as well. My left foot also hurt like hell, so it must have hit something either on the motorcycle or on the street (probably the latter). Oddly, I had a strange, sore, black and blue mark on the back of my leg below my knee. I couldn’t figure out where this one came from, except to assume that my leg must have whacked the rear turn signal as the bike and I were going separate ways.

The worst-looking injury occurred to my side. My entire left side, from my beltline down to my knee, front to back, was black and swollen. It looked and felt like a ripe plum. So swollen and tender in fact that I thought the skin might split open. It was scary-looking. And painful. I took progress pictures, but since they reveal parts of my body that only a cheap hooker should see, you won’t be getting to. And believe me, you don’t want to. At least, I would hope not.

The side injury was disturbing to the few who saw it. It’s amazing that you can take such a beating with only one broken bone. So I guess I’m fortunate. Equally amazing, the black patches soon faded and within two weeks were completely gone, although the soreness remained.

The arm is healing well, just not as fast as I’d like. I don’t have full range of motion yet, and it’s a painful struggle to get it all back. Then again, it’s only been five weeks since the accident, and the doctor told me it might be as much as eight weeks of healing. They gave me some rehabilitation exercises to do, but maybe I’m pushing things a little.

I dwell on this accident because it’s the first one I’ve had in 38 years of motorcycle riding. Oh, I’ve dropped bikes before; low-speed get-offs that were more embarrassing than anything else. But this was the first, dammit-better-go-to-the-hospital accident I’ve had.

Speaking of which, the more I think about my treatment at Sacred Heart Hospital here in Pensacola, the angrier I get. We all know that people who work in hospitals have a prejudice against motorcycles and those who ride them. “Donorcycles,” they snidely call them.

What makes me angry is that none of the people who saw me in the Emergency Room that evening bothered to find out if I had any other injuries…never bothered to inquire as to the circumstances of my crash. They focused on the upper arm and the upper arm only. Truthfully, I was sore all over – all up and down my left side from my shoulder to my foot. I just didn’t know how badly I was hurt. The fact is, nobody even asked. It wasn’t until two days after the accident, when I was finally able to get my pants off when I looked in the mirror and went, “Holy good-night!” or words to that effect. It was ugly. …Err, uglier than usual.

And not that there was anything the E.R. staff could have done for me – thankfully they didn’t have to. But nobody knew that at the time.

I guess the takeaway here is that if you’re involved in a motorcycle accident, the treatment you receive in the hospital may vary. Next time (and God-forbid there is a next time), I’ll go to Baptist Hospital.

4 comments:

Bob said...

Yes you deserved better care than you got. Glad the arm is feeling better and hope your recovery is speedy from here.

Greybeard said...

On July 4th of 1974 my wife and I were driving home late at night on a two-lane road in Southern Indiana when the driver in the oncoming lane went to sleep and hit us head-on. We were able to slow our car almost to a stop, but he was still probably going 40 or so when he hit us. After the impact, both cars were perpendicular to the road on its centerline. My wife was pouring a cup of coffee from our thermos when it happened and my first worry was that we were scalded. Ha!
Like you, we woke the next morning with strange aches and the BLACKEST bruises I had ever seen, some of which were in very odd locales. Barring slow-motion photography there is just no way to know what happens in that accident sequence, and I love watching videos of accidents for that reason.

I'm glad you're getting better. You may end up with aches that remain with you the rest of your life... and if so I hope those are just "friendly" reminders that others are constantly trying to kill you.

In the Spring, I hope to bring a bike down and let you show us some beautiful places to ride.
Plan on it.

Anonymous said...

Scotty was Italian?

Bob Barbanes said...

You makin' fun of my Scottish accent?