Friday, October 01, 2010

this evening

What I had planned for tonight:

A leisurely dinner with the kids
A walk through the woods (maybe to feed the ducks?)
Grading
Early bedtime--SO exhausted all day

What actually happened:

Spent the last six hours in the emergency room.

Here's the short version:  somebody took (or it somehow detached itself and walked away?) the axle from Neil's bike while he was at work.  When he was crossing an incredibly busy street near campus--where there have been pedestrian deaths from oblivious drivers--the front wheel fell off his bike and he was thrown over the handlebars out into traffic.  He managed to drag himself to the curb before he blacked out.  When he woke up, he was covered in blood and surrounded by passersby who'd seen the whole thing; they called 911.  Fortunately one of the guys walking by was also trained in emergency medicine.  The students all stayed with him until I got there.   I had just walked in the door (at the library with the kids) when I heard the phone ringing and answered it to hear a very confused Neil telling me, "The paramedics fixed me...can you hear me?  I got my new jeans really bloody.  There's just a lot of blood, but they fixed me up."  Which of course was terrifying to hear, because he was not exactly coherent. 

We went right over to urgent care; they told us it would be at least an hour wait, so we took the kids home and called a friend to come stay with them.  Neil changed into a set of clothes that weren't covered in blood and I cut away the gauze that was completely covering his head (and scaring the heck out of the kids, who were absolutely terrified.  As was I when I first saw him.  Removing the massive bandages and cleaning off the blood helped a lot). Then we went back to urgent care, where we waited for two hours and tried to remove the rocks and gravel from his skin.  I noticed that his pupils were unevenly dilated and he was really nauseous, when I tracked down a nurse she finally got the doctor to come look at him, who came in and immediately ordered an ambulance to take him to the emergency room.  Following that ambulance with my husband inside was not one of the highlights of this year.  

So we spent about three hours in the ER (trying to keep someone with a concussion awake by playing Phase 10 is interesting); they X-rayed his chest, which had been pummelled by the handlebars, and took several CAT scans of his head and jaw and neck.  (Six hours after the accident, he still does not have feeling in his jaw).  They stitched up his chin, which had a really ugly laceration--really nasty--and scrubbed again at all the rocks and gravel.  Apparently some of it was driven in deeply enough that he may have permanent black marks on his elbows. 

Funniest/saddest part of the night:  the nurse asked him what the date was, and he said, "Oh...we're not on a date. I wanted Rachael to go to the library tonight and have some quiet time to herself, but then I fell off my bike so that couldn't happen.  We're playing cards right now to keep me awake, but this isn't really a date.  Not like a real date, because we're at the hospital, so that wouldn't be a very fun date."  Then I said, "Um, honey, she wants to know what the date is today, like what day it is" and he said, "Oh!  I'm sorry!  November 30.  No.  October 30.  Yes, October 30.  Nine-thirty, October 30, nine-thirty.  Wait...that's not the same thing, is it?  I don't even know what the date is when I feel okay."  (Now I can remind him of this when he teases me about telling the nurse "I do feel a bit discombobulated" before I totally passed out while having my wisdom teeth out.) 

The short story is that he has a concussion, but no fractures.  He ended up with three stitches in his chin, which has a really ugly gash (it kind of looks chewed).  Both his elbows are very lacerated and raw, and he has punctures and abrasions all over his arms and hands.  His face looks like he was in a fistfight; his jaw and browbone are swollen and we were told to expect massive bruising.  His cheek and eyebrow are lacerated and bloody.  We were SO fortunate that his injuries were comparatively mild, since he landed right on the side of his face and elbows.  No shattered bones.  And I am so, so, so grateful to the people who sprinted over to him to get him out of traffic and started taking care of him right away.  And to our friend Andrea, who dropped everything and came over immediately to take care of our kids for the next six hours.  What a blessing. As is the fact that Neil's laptop landed on him, not the road.

But on the other hand, as Neil commented very feelingly, if I found the person who took that axle out of his bike, I would punch them in the face.  With a brick.

18 comments:

Ruth said...

Oh no!! I am glad Neil is ok. Sound like a date you will not care to repeat!

Ruth said...

Oh no!! I am glad Neil is ok. Sound like a date you will not care to repeat!

Jolena said...

Holy cow! That is one crazy night and I'm so glad things weren't worse than you described. What a scary night. I do have to say that your funny story part made both me and my husband laugh pretty hard. This one is definitely going down in your family history of crazy experiences. Glad to hear that the injuries are minor, though I bet he'll get some pretty great comments for the next week or two as he bruises.

Kayli said...

Oh Rachael--I'm soo sorry for you and Neil! Pretty much you lived one of my biggest worries (only luckily it still wasn't the worst)!
I hope you guys can rest up and relax a little after this.

Anonymous said...

We are so grateful that Neil is alive and without significant injury.

Love you all,
Dad

Meghan said...

Amusing and poignant story. I'm sure it was much more frightening to go through it. We're so grateful he's OK. Relatively. See you soon.

Sarah Harward said...

OH MY! And you thought you were at the end of your hectic week, didn't you? I'll tell you, when it rains it pours. I'm glad his injuries weren't much worse!

Shayla said...

Hey Rachael- I stumbled across your blog. We are hoping Neil a speedy recovery and that he gets to put a brick to good use.

Anonymous said...

We are so very sorry to hear about Neil's injuries. Hope he heals quickly. That was a very devious person that stole his axle. Uncle Kevin would like to find that person and clobber them with a brick too. Take care. Love, Aunt Pam & Uncle Kevin

Ashlee said...

Good grief! I am glad to hear that he is okay. I can't beleive that someone would steal his axel. What a terrible thing to do!

Rachel Mae said...

Oh my goodness! Yikes! So glad he's relatively okay . . . But sorry nonetheless.

Brett Gilbert said...

What a horrible ordeal! The thief should have taken the entire bike instead of the one part. At least then you would have only been out the value of the bike, rather than the insurance deductible cost and your recovery time.

Have you considered reporting the incident to campus police? They would love the important work, and there may be some surveillance footage of the thief/saboteur. The perpetrator is probably some dumb punk (who definitely belongs in college because he clearly isn't smart enough yet), but it would still be nice to catch 'em and get an apology (although I don't know if I, myself, would allow them the chance to redeem themself by paying an insurance deductible or repairing the bike).

This incident reminds me of the first Harry Potter movie when Hagrid says, "It's an outrage! It's a scandal!" It makes me want to cause a pig tail to grow on the perpetrator.

Neil, you're in engineering. Sounds like it's time to design a new style of bike axle (a "strainer," as it's called in biking parlance) and market it with your chin.

sarah said...

that is terrifying. I'm so glad Neil is okay.

And yes, I would be punching that person in the face with bricks too. A couple bricks, actually.

Jen said...

Holy spumoni! The medical stuff just keeps on coming for you guys, doesn't it? I'm so sorry, love.

Tell Neil I hope he feels better soon. And that David had a similar accident (except it involved a horse instead of a bike) when he was younger...now they can be chin scar twinners!

Dani said...

Wow! I'm so sorry that you had to go through that, but so glad that Neil is ok (relatively speaking). Hopefully you can get some downtime this weekend and relax.

Elise said...

oh my goodness!! I am SO glad Neil is okay, and I hope that you all recover quickly!

aLi said...

You have got to be kidding me. I am glad your husb turned out OK. That answer to the "what is the date?" question was hysterical! I hope he heals up alright. What a pain.

Afton said...

Wow Rachael! What a nightmare! I'm so glad he's okay, but that would be really really scary to get the call, to see him, to have your kids see him, etc. What a punk that stole his axle! Did he get hit by a car too or was it just the impact from the road? I hope you guys both get a nice real date soon and a good nights sleep. I think that is the cutest thing about what he said about your date. I bet the nurse got a kick out of that!

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