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Monday, 5 December 2011

What Do You Mean I Will Never Walk Again?

                                                               photo courtesy of Maired Crowley
After much deliberation over what cabbagy moment I would share I have decided to go with my partners favourite story which pretty sums up my mental state in times of an emergency!!

One sunny summers day before the Euro took over, I was driving my motorbike from Clondalkin to Ballsbridge to get some Irish Punts changed into the Spanish Peseta.  At the time I also had a car but in order to avoid traffic I used to like the bike....

The bike is handy for cutting traffic along the canal.  You can just slip into the middle of the road while all the cars are backed up like a pack of dominos and sail along the centre line and arrive at your destination on time and totally calm.

Anyway, there I am sailing along the middle of the road when out of nowhere a dude in a big black car gets pissed of with sitting in traffic and decides to pull a u-turn at the exact time I am coasting along beside him.

I make contact with the drivers door, fly up onto the bonnet and end up landing on the opposite side of the road.  Now picture this...I have about £3000 in Irish Punts (half of it is my friends that I am travelling with who just happens to work in a hospital up the road) in my bag.  I am lying on my back in total shock when out of nowhere some woman runs into my line of sight shouting something about being a doctor.

Then some dude who..and I am not joking....looked like a drug addict runs up and asks me in his half awake state says..."hhhheeeerrrreeee..I'llll mind yeerrr baaaggggg" as he sways in and out of my line of sight...I say line of sight because I still have my helmet on and cant see much, kind of like a horse with blinkers on..

As I clutch my bag the Dr lady tells me an ambulance is on its way... The guy who was in the car is wailing standing over telling me of his apologies and I am just lying there thinking "mother f@$ker, Leslie is going to kill me"...Les is my pal that I was going away with...

The ambulance crew arrive and remove my helmet...I'm feeling grand bar my elbow is killing me, must have made contact with the concrete.   I'm placed on one of those board like things and they tape my head to the board so I cant move.  The Dr Lady gets into the ambulance with me...I arrive at the hospital and am brought straight through...I knew something was wrong cause I wasn't left waiting for twelve hours.

So I'm in the hospital, rushed through and X-rayed and all that crack in a matter of minutes...Dr Lady has dissapeared now...a nurse comes and moves me into a private room attached to A & E..she asks me am I ok..I tell her I'm bursting to go to the loo....she tells me they are just getting a second opinion on the X-rays and I would be let go as soon as they get the OK.  A little light goes off in my head.

The nurse is really nice and gets me a walkman to listen to...I think its Barry Manaloe, not my cup of tea but hay, she was trying her best.  About a half an hour passes....Les arrives....the conversation goes a little like this..

Les:     What the F*&k happened?
Me:     Not sure...I hit a car...
Les:     Did you get to the bank?
Me:     No......(I'm starting to wonder why she hasn't asked how I am considering I am still strapped to the board thing)
Les:     But we are flying tomorrow!
Me:     Les...I swear...if I could get up I would kick ye in the snatch...
Les:     Oh right...sorry are you ok...
Me:     Do I look OK. I'm bursting to go to the toilet.

With that a Dr comes in, a nice chap...I ask him can I go to the loo....he tells me he will sort that out in a minute..but he needs to talk to me..I tell him its ok...Les is cool...this conversation goes like this...

Dr:      OK....I dont know how to say this but it looks like you have crushed two of your vertebrae...
Me:     Right...what does that mean...
Dr:      Well, your third and fourth vertebrae appear to have crushed together and there could be some   damage...
Me:     OK....(I'm still not sure what he is shiting on about, but I need to go to the loo) I'm sorry about this but I really need to go to the loo...I'm sure its grand...sure I can still feel my legs
Dr:      Well I can get a nurse to put in a catather  
Me:     Ehhhh, no you cant..just let me up (I wriggling on the bed thing)
Dr:      Look...(the Dr is now shouting at me)  if you get up you might never walk again....
Les:     Eh...does this mean we cant go to Spain
Me:     You Selfish f*%ker..you can still go..
Les:     I'm not going without you
Dr:      Look, Spain is the least of your worries...if you put any weight on your spine it may sever..Les..is it, maybe you need to give Joy a little time....they both leave...

As I lie there crying cause I need to pee and at this stage I think I may just pee all over myself a nurse comes in..Les comes back and I have to endure the humiliation of peeing into some bed pan like thing with the assistance of Les and the Nurse.... I swore Les to silence which I think we broke the following afternoon.

Anyway..they leave me there dealing with my own mortification for a couple of hours when another Dr comes in...this one looks different...glasses, those ones that when someone wears them they look over them every so often.   I have had a while to take in all the information...so I am ready for this one..He introduces himself...Basically they had sent in a shrink or something like that to prepare me for whatever they were going to do...

Dr:      So Joy, you have had a little time to take in some information...
Me:     Yeah
Dr:      So your aware that you may need surgery and could possibly end up needing intensive work and quite possibly need a wheelchair
Me:     Yeah..sure what can one do?
Dr:      You don't seem to put off!  (I can tell by him he is a little confused)
Me:     No sure it will be grand. Was probably for the best!
Dr:      What....for the best, your probably still in shock?   (Defo thinks I am crazy)
Me:     Well its like this...Now that I am a cripple the corporation are going to have to give me a nice bungalow.  I probably will never have to work again so I can join some cripple basketball team and probably go on to be in the parolympics where I will get a gold medal and probably some sponsorship money...it will be grand!
Dr:       Right...(he scribbles something down in his sheet)

So I'm lying there another bit....realise I must be here about eight hours....I still haven't told any of my family..they have enough to be dealing with what with my mam sick.

Another Dr comes in...tells me he is some specialist from another hospital in Dublin and wants to x-ray me again...I am wheeled into a big x-ray room...the x-ray people pull me onto the table thing and stretch me out..this cant be good for my spine I tell them..I am wheeled back and the doctor comes back in with the x-rays...he starts un-harnessing me from the board thing...I tell him my arm is still sore...he tells me its swollen and cut but not broken..he then tells me that I am one of 100,000 children that are born with fused vertebrae and I am OK that maybe I may need some treatment when I am older.  I am confused...

So what about my bungalow and Olympic medal...he looks confused.....I am discharged and my Olympic dreams are dashed... Truly a moment of pure cabbageyness.....this story from beginning to end is totally and utterly true!

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