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Mpls, MN, United States

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Incidents & Accidents

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Lucky me

Tonight I was supposed to see Oscar Wilde's Salome, one of the Fringe Festival shows, with three art history friends at a venue downtown. I borrowed my neighbors' big cruiser bike, and was doing well, about half a mile from the theater, until I tried to enter a driveway to ride on the sidewalk instead of the street. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but I'm going to blame the bike's super-slick balloon tires for the freakish spin-out that happened next.

I stood up quickly, my sunglasses askew, feeling both stunned and foolish (I'm fine! What wipeout?) and wanting to make sure I was entirely out of the road. I tried to stand the bike up, and was afraid it was completely mangled until I realized that the handlebars had just rotated to the point that the tire was facing the seat. Then I realized that I was dripping blood. And that I had little chunks of tooth in my mouth. I spit them out and headed for the nearest building. (Doesn't that sound hardcore? It felt pretty hardcore, even as I felt ridiculously stupid.)

Inside, I got directions to the restroom and got a look at myself. There was a gaping gash just under my chin, and a quick look assured me that that bad boy wasn't going to close up on its own. Thankfully, other than some road rash on my bony parts--elbows, knees, and one hipbone (through the skirt(!)--discovered after the others)--the chin and tooth (a piece off the inside of my upper right first molar) were the only real damages. I went back outside, discovered I didn't have my phone, checked the scene without finding it, and was unlocking my bike while thinking about what to when a police officer came down the steps near me.

I approached him and asked him if he knew where the closest hospital or urgent care was. Actually, I think I babbled on about my University insurance and how I wasn't sure where I could go that would be covered and didn't know what to do. He told me Hennepin County Medical Center was just a few blocks from where we were, and that they were really good (they were where a lot of the bridge victims were taken a week ago). He said he'd be driving right by it, and offered to drop me off. "Is that legal?" I laughed, thinking of how having even an adult student in my car is grounds for termination from teaching. "Sure!" he said. "I'm just a citizen helping another citizen. The only difference is that I'm in a blue suit." I'm glad he was, and also that I'd gotten all cute for the play before splitting my face open. He was young--probably younger than me!--but drove a beautiful new-smelling Beamer and was super-nice about taking me right to the door of the hospital, and reminding me twice of where I'd locked my bike.

Once there, I was helped immediately by a triage nurse who took my blood pressure and the details of the accident before sending me to a large and friendly black woman for contact and insurance information. She asked what my job was ("You look like a reader!" "Is it my squinty eyes?" I laughed) and what nationality I was ("You look like New York," she said, "With your curly hair and all." I laughed again. "I like you!" she said.). I didn't cry at all until she asked for emergency contact information. Then I couldn't remember my parents' phone number, only Bryant's, and sort of fell apart. I did manage to come up with both numbers, and recover, and was sent to wait.

It took about two and a half hours for them to see me, and when I was called in, I got to go to the pediatric wing. That ended up being awesome, as my doctor was incredibly gentle and friendly and explained everything he was doing. Looking at my chin, he said, "It's a little bit smashed in there." "Smashed?" I laughed. "Yep. Smashed like a tomato," he said. "But it will come together really nicely. I've put sutures in much worse." He ended up putting in seven stitches, and chatted with me the whole time ("I'm allowed to talk?" I asked. "Yep! Just don't sing!" he laughed), about running, triathlons, and even Bowling Green, where he'd had a friend who played football. I left feeling infinitely better, with a bottle of Tylenol with codeine, and even able to bike home.

My jaw muscles are really sore (he said I probably dislocated my jaw a little bit and that the "little muscles all around it had torn some") but the actual wound feels fine and I'm trusting that it will either heal to invisibility or give me a hardcore scar to remind me of my first time getting stitches--and not to be stupid.

I have a dentist appointment for tomorrow morning, ironically enough--my first in about five years, and scheduled six weeks ago. I'm hoping they can do something about that chipped tooth while I'm in there. I'm also hoping I can open my mouth.


Kenzie said...

Wow! I hope you get feeling better. That would suck really bad... I'll pray for you! :)

Carissa J said...

Isn't it interesting how, if you hadn't crashed, you wouldn't have met all those nice people? Hmm.

Glad you're okay.

Ellen said...

Minneapolis police officers drive new Beamers? Was he selling crack on the side?

Daniel said...

So your phone wasn't recovered?

some poems don't rhyme said...

oh wow. i'm so glad you're ok! and i've totally lost it over that damn emergency contact question, too.

Cerise said...

Thanks, everybody! And Daniel, I forgot to mention the best part of the whole night, which was when I came home and found my phone there. Such a relief--especially since we now know I can't remember phone numbers at all.

Karen said...

That sounds like something that typically would have happened to Ellen. Glad you're on the mend.

april said...

i did like the bit about spitting out your broken tooth parts. sort of akin to wrenching one's own arm back into socket or finding the finger severed by the table-saw so you can put it on ice for the surgeon! ha! glad you're ok, sister.

The Churches said...

Nevermind about not being able to remember emergency contact numbers- did you get the *cop's* number? That's the important thing here. He has a car (Beamer, no less) and is predisposed to give rides to cute girls. He may come in handy and prevent more maxillofacial damage!

Curly Sue said...

Jeez Louise, Ceri. I'm glad you're OK. Hang in there, and if it's any consolation, I think you're super hard-core, even before the wipe-out.