The Accident – 1
Two days before, we had started renovating the bathrooms and kitchen in the apartment. So we moved to one half of the apartment, and the workers had the other. But this meant that all the furniture in the house was moved into one half of it. That particular morning I woke up to go to work, and started hunting all over to find the stove to start my coffee. I found it in the salon! I finally got ready and left for the office.
I loved my car. It was a minute Seat, yellow. I used to go zooming in it everywhere. I used to brag that I could park it with its nose to the curb, and the end of it would not exceed the width of any other car. I got into the car and started on my way to the office, which at this early hour in the morning took me half an hour. Half way through, just at the end of an underpass I usually picked up a colleague and gave her a lift. That day she wasn’t there (thank God) in hindsight.
I continued on my way, I neared the turnoff into the side road where the office was and the light was green for me, so I went ahead. Going into the side road, I had to slow down as there were pedestrians crossing the street. I saw a slight blue blur to the right and back of me, and that was it. Nothing.
I don’t how long it was before I started coming to. First thought I had was: he hit? Total surprise. Then a lot of people talking, some shouting. I became aware that I was in the car, clutching the steering wheel for dear life. I must have moved, or groaned, then I heard someone shout, “She’s alive! Lets get her out of the car”. I tried to tell them that I will do that, just give me a minute to catch my breath, but it seemed that nothing came out. Hands grabbed me, pulled me out of the car, and laid me on the curb. That cinematic shot of a view of a victim, from ground level, looking up to a circle of strange faces surrounding you is quite true. I tried to tell them that my office was a couple of hundred meters own the road, but still nothing came out.
Then a familiar, shocked face of a colleague who worked in Finance. Vaguely i heard him say that he knew me and would take me to hospital. I still had no pain, I must have been still in shock. I was bundled into the back seat of his car, and a stranger, an army cadet, came in as well to hold me in place as I seemed to be totally helpless.
Then the trip from hell began. He went looking for the first hospital that would take me in as an emergency case. I lost count of the number of hospitals that turned us down. But the potholes we passed over were legion. I must have started to come to, because half way through the pain was getting so bad I started screaming every time we hit a pothole.
Two excruciating hours later, we arrived at a public hospital which finally took me in. They moved me onto a gurney and pushed me into Emergency. A few minutes later a young intern, on duty in emergency, came in. He asked my colleague what happened and was told I was involved in a car accident. By that time I was just moaning, exhausted from all the screaming I did. He asked me where it hurt and I mumbled “right side”. He dug his hand and started feeling my back on the right side, and I promptly went into a crescendo of screams again. He withdrew and called a colleague of his to come and verify, which were the ribs broken, 4 to 8 or 5 to 9? By then I was cursing them in my mind in language I didn’t even know I knew. Finally I just managed to ask for a pain killer and miraculously they gave me a shot in the front of the thigh. A few minutes later, it took effect and they told me that the X-ray room was not open yet!! and that they will park me in the women’s ward till it opens!!
They pushed me down a corridor, the only part of which I could see was the ceiling, and it was filthy. How could that much filth reach the ceiling? And if the ceiling looked like that, what did the floors look like?!
They pushed me into the women’s ward and left me there. It was quite noisy, but the two women next to me started speculating about me and what happened to me, a passing feeling of sympathy, when there was a commotion in the ward and a rush of feet and bodies to the windows. Loud exclamations, a lot of encouragements and a great deal of laughter. It seems there was a woman down in the courtyard beating the hell out of her husband.
I never found out the end of that story, for then a whole team of my colleagues from the office came in, including two Medical Directors, the HR Director and started the ball rolling towards getting me into a decent hospital and some proper medical attention.
I asked to be taken to a hospital near my house, so they ordered an ambulance to transfer me there. When I was moved into the ambulance there was a bit of a skirmish about the blanket that covered me, as it belonged to the hospital. When they took it away, I was very glad they did, for I never saw a filthier piece of rag.
They got me into the ambulance, and the Senior Medical Director rode with me. She was a very kind woman, but kept comforting me by patting me on the right side, and every time I screamed, she patted me a bit more. That was the second ride from hell in one day.
We finally reached the hospital, I asked for our family doctor, and when I saw him, relief, I knew I was in good hands, I let go and promptly went under.
To be continued …..The Hospital – 2
The Accident – 1