A few weeks ago, I received a summons to appear in court. I had no idea why, or if I had been accused of something and couldn’t imagine what for. Would I receive 2 minutes for looking so good? Had I not paid a ticket? No idea. Looking over the summons later, I saw the name of the defendant, and then it all made sense. Said defendant was the fella who doored me last June.
Because I was carted away in an ambulance, I really didn’t get to see what transpired afterward. I saw the word “instruction” on the summons, and assumed that this would be some sort of legal learning exercise. I’ll probably be asked some questions, and that’ll be it. So, last night, leave from work and drive way over to east-end Montreal. And I mean way east end, into Pointe-aux-Trembles, to the municiple court there.
Once there, I take a seat and get to watch a bunch of folks contest their speeding/parking/whatever tickets. Few of them are acquitted, as their excuses run the gamut from unbelievable to completely hilarious.
At a certain point, the judge goes back to his chambers, and the prosecutor (or whatever his role is) calls me outside. Also there is the cop who took my statement last year, and the defendant as well. The defendant and the prosecutor go off to talk about something, and the cop and I rekindle old memories (hubba hubba). The prosecutor comes back, and he, the cop and I go into an office. Cop and prosecutor talk, prosecutor mentions that, “hell, the court fees will cost more than the ticket,”—this is where I realise that some funny shit is going on—and I explain my version of the events. The judge comes back, and this is when I learn why I’ve been summoned.
I’ve been summoned to testify because, after admitting that he opened the door to his truck while I was cycling by, which resulted in me being thrown into oncoming traffic and run over by an car, the defendant was given a ticket.
Which he was contesting.
I tell my version to the judge, the cop tells his version to the judge, the defendant tells his version to the judge. Pretty much all the same story. Of course, according to the defendant, he looked before opening his door, didn’t see anyone, and I magically appeared out of no where, so in his mind it was my fault but, besides that, same story.
The judge pretty much laughed at him, and bemoaned the fact that nothing more could be done besides him getting a ticket. So, judgment against him, he has to pay the ticket plus $50 for court fees.
Oh, and how much was the ticket for nearly killing me?
You know, because his arms are spread out like on the cross…
Oh, and because his father has delusions of grandeur.
There’s a book out there, called My Last Supper, which compiles what some of the top chefs out there would like to have as their last meal, and with whom they would like to share it. I haven’t read it, so can’t comment as to its worth. On the whole, however, I find the concept disingenuous. Oh, sure, if we assume we’ll find ourselves on our last night fit and hale, then yeah, I can see the point. You want to eat something you love, something to have made it all worthwhile. And, truthfully?
- Croque madame, with a side order of spring greens, topped with pomegranates and champagne vinegar.
- Onion soup on the side. White onions slowly confit’ed in butter, at low temperature, to bring out the sweetness. A broth of home-made chicken broth. Sourdough croutons. A (heavy) mixture of Gruyère and Emmenthal almost blackened on top.
- Tarte tatin for dessert. Maybe topped with homemade ice cream. Egg yolks and cream. Hello, I’m dying, why not?
But the thing is most folks don’t get the chance to prepare for their last meal. I remember back in 1994, while he was touring in Europe, that Kurt Cobain had overdosed and, upon coming to, requested a milk shake. “Fucking poser,” thought I back then, “couldn’t it have rather been ‘a single plum, floating in perfume, served in a man’s hat’?”
Unfortunately, as is so often the case, my words and thoughts came back to bite me in the ass. It’s true, I have the scars to prove it. Almost two years later or, to be exact, twelve years ago yesterday, I awoke from a biopsy that had gone horribly wrong, certain that I would never see the morning. I hadn’t be able to eat properly in weeks, but that night I was starving. It was the one thought in my mind: I want this meal.
And what was that meal?
The #4 trio from McDonald’s. In other words, the quarter pounder with cheese, fries, and a root beer (I’m not a big Coke drinker).
I begged and pleaded. I never did get the meal, but my brother (I believe) went down to the cafeteria and got me the equivalent. It took the rest of my energy to eat it, and took about two hours. It just wasn’t the same thing.
I thought of going to get the trio last night, as an anniversary gift, but I could just couldn’t stomach (pun intended) the idea.
Burgers and fries. Who knew?
Me: And, how are you feeling today, doc?
Doc: Oh, you’ll understand when you get to be my age.
And then he laughs uproariously, as if I’ll ever get to his age.
Nurse: So, when did you get your transplant?
Me: Twelves years ago.
Nurse: Wow! Twelve years? And you’re still doing okay??
Nurse: So, I guess you go to all those rendez-vous with all the other folks with transplants?
Me: Um, no. Never met any, to tell the truth.
Nurse: Oh, it’s great fun, from what I hear. They meet and discuss their experiences, how they’re doing, etc.
Me, thinking: Eek, sounds like a Yulblog meeting. (kidding!)
Or, more to the point, busted up.
Note #1: Long post coming up, as accident reports usually are.
Note #2: Wrote this while waiting in the ER, six hours after getting there.
Tuesday, mid-afternoon, General Hospital ER:
I’ve been injury-free for the past few years, thankfully, but of course it couldn’t last.
I was riding my bike to work this morning, making good time, enjoying the ride, when every cyclist’s nightmare occurs: just as I’m riding past a parked City of Montreal truck, the driver’s side door opens. I have just enough time to swerve, thereby not ending up flying throught the door window. What I failed to do, however, was to completely avoid the door, so that the side of truck door clipped my handlebars, with the expected results.
“Shit, this is gonna hurt,” went through my mind, as I was heading face- and shoulders-first toward the pavement. (Clipless pedals, I love ’em so much that I want to have their babies, but they don’t always release.) As I’m sliding on the pavement, all the loose pebbles embedding themselves into my calf, I barely have time to realise that it isn’t too bad.
What I didn’t have the time for, unfortunately, was to see, and get out of the way of, the car driving behind me. And she, the driver, didn’t have the time to get out of the way either. Everything happened so fast then, as I saw/felt the front wheel of the car drive over my back tire (ouch!) and the process repeat itself as her back wheel followed suit.
Did I mention that I was still pinned under the bike? I remember watching the car bounce, I remember trying to pull myself out of the way. I might have whiplashed into the side of the car, which might explain why the left side of my body is incredibly sore today, but I don’t know for sure. Time kind of slowed down then. I saw the car come to a stop further ahead, I’m lying in the middle of the road, pinned under the bike. I’m trying to move, but my body doesn’t seem to respond.
There’s no real pain anywhere, but my left arm is still stuck behind me. “How ruined is my bike anyhow” I’m thinking, “when it’s both over my right leg and behind me?” Silly me, the bike isn’t on my leg any more, it’s just that my leg is the part that absorbed most of the trauma, and nerves are giong wild-simply-wild over me. I perform a quick, subconscious scan of my body (I’ve gotten use to doing that), but nothing is really screaming. However, something tells me that I won’t be standing up and riding away from this. So, instead, I lie there, hoping no other cars come along and drive over me again.
Someone comes up, I think the city worker, to ask if I’m okay. “911” is pretty much all I can squeak (they’ve already been called), and go back to trying to get out from under the bike. More folks approach, hands to their mouths, making me wonder just how badly screwed up I am. I’m not screaming, I’m not talking, I’m just waiting for something worse to happen, for the bones to start complaining that they don’t appreciate being broken thankyouverymuch.
Another cyclist stops by, and tells me that she’s a first responder. Well, that’s a bit of a relief, someone to take charge. The city worker, perhaps according to protocol, is back by the truck. I’m guessing, because I haven’t seen him any more. So, the first responder checks me over, and it’s pretty much what I suspected: my right leg is fucked, but that’s about it.
Things get weird just about now. This crazy lady comes along, skirt flapping high in the wind, proclaims to ask and sundry that she’s a doctor, has been for 27 years, and is here to save the day. Feels me up, gives my breasts an extra-special squeeze, undoes my belt, checks my alertness level and that’s about it. But, like I said, there’s a weirdness going on, and I’m looking forward to the ambulance guys coming along and getting me out of there. Which they thankfully do. Come along, that is.
So off goes crazy doctor lady, but not before bending over me, skirt still flying wildly all over, and kisses me! Both cheeks! BAD TOUCH! OOOO, bad touch! Who does that?!?
I’m still worried about my bike, which is still lying in the road behind me, but the nice (and sane!) cyclist/first responder volunteers to take care of it for me. I hand her my U-lock (it was in my pack, which is under me), and she goes off and locks it to a parking meter. Thank dog for folks like her. The bike? Were it a horse, I’d have to shoot it.
The ambulance folks asks me if I can get up onto the stretcher by myself, but no go, so I get a boost. I see some cops talking to the driver, who seems to be in a state of shock, and other cops are talking to the city worker, who’s staying near his truck. Get loaded into the ambulance, where the paramedics make an educated guess that all these cuts on my leg—including the one on the ankle that goes all the way to the bone—were most likely caused by the bike chain.
Naturally, being the olde thyme blogger that I am, I whipped out my camera and took a picture. A cop is in the ambulance with me, taking an incident report. I’m worried that I’ll have to buy a new bike, which? I really don’t have the coin for. (Hey, if I sound obsessed about my bike, it’s because I’ve had it for about 15 years, I worked on it a lot, it’s my primary mode of transportation, and I rode it a lot post-op.)
Grab my cell-phone, which finally serves its purpose, call the milliner, tell her what happened, and that I’m heading to hospital. You know that you’re injury-prone when your beloved’s response to such news is, “Same hospital as always? I’m on my way.”
So! Spent the day in ER, the triage nurse simply wrote “cut on right foot” on my record, so response was slow. Got x-ray’ed 3 hours into my visit, and stitched up last night. Nothing broken, just a bunch of stitches on my leg, my left side is killing me, but hey!, besides that, I’m unscathed.
I was thinking of getting a fixed gear, velodrome bike next. And yes, I’m keeping the clipless pedals. What could possibly go wrong?
Waking up this morning, the milliner turns to me and says, “Happy birthday, honey.” Still groggy, I make a quick calculation in my mind and think, wait, we’re not already in March, are we? Because, wow, that was a long sleep. I might be late for work. After a delay, I realise that, hey, it’s December 13.
Wow, 11 years later. I amaze myself sometimes. Top of the world, ma! Top of the world!
Had a biopsy this morning. I usually have one every couple years, but today they chose to go through the jugular. Less invasive that way, rather than the femural artery, something that will keep you bleeding for an hour. I didn’t think I would ever have a neckal (all terms highly technical) biopsy again because, for reasons of self-preservation, that particular vein seems to retract whenever a scalpel gets near it.
Anyhow, I spend last night going hungry, drinking lotsa water, because the docs want your blood vessels thick and liquidy. No coffee this morning, no food in the past 12 hours, and off to the hospital I go. Sign in, strip to my (clean, thanks for the childhood advice, mom!) skivvies and go to OR. Get prepped by three really hot nurses (I swear, they hire young, attractive nurses in order to give us something to hope for) and get laid out like a slab of meat.
The doctor is training a resident, so I get to hear even more about the procedure. “So, we freeze this part of the neck, but we have to find an area that isn’t scarred. Oh, and we only freeze partly, so that the vein doesn’t retract even more.” They then cut into the jugular, and stick in a tube. This tube is used to guide the biotome (a wire with clasping hooks at one end) to the heart. When this biotome is inserted, you can actually feel it passing under your lungs, bumping against your sternum and, worst, your oesophagus, causing a slight gag reflex. It then travels through the right atrium of the heart, and presses against the tricuspid valve. Watching via a monitor, the doctor waits for the valve to open and, when it does, pushes the biotome through, reaching to the bottom of the ventricle. And then, grabs the heart muscle and tugs, until a piece pulls off. You can’t feel that, because there are no nerves in that part of the heart, but you feel the muscles and other body parts around that area react as the heart is pulled upwards. Repeat. Again. And again. Those little pieces are then sent off to a lab, and I’m sent off on my merry way.
But, damn, my neck hurts.
We went to a friend’s house on Sunday for some pre-Christmas cheer. Good times, good food, lots of wine, met new folks and others who I hadn’t seen in over a decade. Funny how these parties change over time; instead of starting after 10 on a Saturday night, it was more of a “drop in some time in the early afternoon this Sunday.” Right.
So, we go look at a loft that day (no one was there, wasted trip), drop by the SAQ and then head over. There were a few folks there, either leaving or just getting there, some with kids, some not, etc etc. At one point we’re thinking, damn, it must be late, we’ll never get to the grocery store at this hour. I look at my watch and realise it’s only just past 6. Yikes!
At one point, this couple appear along with their boys. I don’t pay them more than a cursory glance, as I don’t know them and I’m concentrating on my wine. One of the boys starts monkeying around with all the knick-knacks in the living room, so his mothers says “R, settle down.” R? Damn, the name sounds familiar. I ask the other boy’s name. When I hear it, I look at the mother and say, “Hey, you’re J! We went on a date once.” At which point, her husband looks at the milliner, and says the exact same thing.
That’s just really bizarre.
Ten years is so long, that back in 1995 the CBC was still broadcasting Montreal Canadians games, and the Habs weren’t playing the Maple Leafs. Oh, and this guy finally got to meet the Wizard.