The scene of the accident

5 Apr

Unsurprisingly, the fall left me in a state of shock, and if not for the other cyclists surrounding me and telling me to sit down, I just might have gotten back on my bike again. Waiting at the side of the road, I realized that I was bleeding in at least a few places, at least one of my front teeth was chipped, and the left side of my jaw was sore. The bleeding didn’t seem like a big deal to me. I’ve always been the sort of person who is getting scrapes here and there, and they’ve always healed quickly enough. I was rather disturbed by the idea that my teeth had broken, having had a longstanding fear of breaking or losing teeth. I wanted to look in the road for the pieces that had chipped off, but I knew that others would restrain me if I didn’t restrain myself. Instead, I contented myself with a hope that a dentist would be able to replace the lost pieces with something artificial.

The ride leader made a call, apparently to an emergency number, and a few minutes later, a fire truck arrived from the fire station that I was told was just down the street. A firefighter looked at me, asked me some questions about the accident, and somehow determined that I had full recall of the event and no loss of consciousness. He asked whether I had somebody who could drive me to the hospital, and I answered in the negative. In truth, some of my friends would have been able to do it, but I always tend to be averse to asking people to do things for me, and I wasn’t going to overcome this weakness while in a state of shock. As the ambulance arrived, one of the other cyclists said to me, “We’ll see you back on the bike soon!” I reacted with some skepticism, not because I didn’t want to ride my bike again, but because I didn’t see any reason to hurry back to the club.

An EMT got out of the ambulance,  examined me and asked me a few questions. Most of the questions weren’t any trouble for me to answer, but when he asked how fast I had been moving before the collision, I couldn’t say, not having a speedometer. He asked if I had been going 50 miles per hour, and I couldn’t imagine that I had been moving that fast, so I said I hadn’t. He asked me which hospital I wanted to go to. I  explained that I was new to the area and wasn’t familiar with the hospitals. He again repeated the question about my speed, this time emphasizing that it was actually fairly important. He didn’t seem to understand that I didn’t have any way of knowing this information, and the fact of it being important wasn’t going to change this. He asked if I had been in the 20-30 miles per hour range, and I said that I probably had been. He decided that this was slow enough that I could be taken to Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley.

At this point, the EMTs had me lie down on a stretcher (which seemed wholly unnecessary to me given that I was able to walk), and the ride leader said that he had talked to my father (whom I had listed as my emergency contact for the ride). The EMT relayed this information to me, saying, “You hear that? Your Dad’s going to meet you at the hospital.” I told him I was doubtful of this claim and explained that my father lived in Massachusetts. Shortly thereafter, I was loaded onto the ambulance and on my way to the hospital.

One Response to “The scene of the accident”


  1. The accident revisited « Shock and Jaw - July 4, 2009

    […] but I also could easily have forgotten in my post-accident shock. (It also occurred to me that when the EMT asked how fast I had been going and eventually got me to agree that I had been going 20 to 3…, I had admitted to breaking the speed […]

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