Tag Archives: Emergency department

Trauma Doesn’t Need to Lead to Drama

I got hit by a van. It happened two days ago as I was walking across a very short crosswalk on Kingsway road in London moments after I left a cafe after having bought a cup of tea. I actually didn’t even realize what had happened to me until I had been knocked over, the tea went flying out of my hand, I landed on the ground, and the left front tire of the van was on my left leg. That’s a lot of lefts for someone who should have been looking over her right shoulder.

The tire was on top of my left leg for what felt like two minutes. During that time I kept repeating: “Please, please, get off my leg, please.” Around me a crowd had formed. The driver was in shock, and someone had rushed over to instruct him on what to do. A lady was by my side. As the van moved back someone slowly dragged my body to the curb. Once the tire was off my leg, I had the thought, “Is this really happening to me?”

I didn’t cry, I didn’t say anything, I just sat there rubbed my leg and breathed. Then the questioning began.

“Are you alright?” “Who are you?” “Is there someone we can call?”

I just kept breathing and responded, “I’m visiting. My friend Sophie works in the building nearby.” I pulled out my cell phone and handed someone her phone number.

I could hear a man behind me start to yell at the van’s driver. “Why didn’t you watch where you’re going!”

The driver was completely freaked out. “I didn’t see her.” He had the right of way, I had crossed when I shouldn’t have. I felt terrible for him. I said, “Its not his fault.”

The lady who had been by my side remarked, “You’re awfully calm, I’d be hysterical.” Yes I was calm, but I didn’t see any reason to get upset, mostly because I felt stupid for crossing when I shouldn’t have, for causing all this commotion, and for freaking everyone out around me and interrupting their otherwise ordinary day.

Within a couple minutes the ambulance came by followed by the police. The paramedics asked if I wanted gas or any pain killers, I said no. My leg was throbbing but it wasn’t unbearable, and I was just breathing, calmly.

Someone said something that made me laugh, which turned the worried look on Sophie’s face into a smile as she came to my rescue.

The paramedics took me into the ambulance and checked my leg out. It looked pretty beat up, but no blood, not even a scratch. I had been very lucky. They proceeded to take Sophie and me to the hospital. On the way I had Sophie email my team, and the people I was supposed to meet with that afternoon to let them know I wouldn’t be able to meet with them.

Once we got to the hospital the long wait began. I wanted more ice for my leg, but apparently the ice machine was broken… Ok no use in getting upset I thought, I was just happy to be alive. I was so thrilled that I was the only one smiling and laughing in the emergency room. Sophie told me to stop or they would never take a look at me. I tried my best to look upset and angry, but I wasn’t. I wasn’t even in pain. I was just thankful. Thankful that complete strangers had come to my rescue, that I could wiggle my toes, and that I was alive and smiling.

Sophie bought me a small bar of this amazing chili chocolate to cheer me up. That pretty much got me through the 4 hour long wait in the emergency room, after which they x-rayed my leg. The prognosis was good. I just had soft tissue damage, lots of bruising, but nothing was broken. I could leave. While I couldn’t walk without crutches that evening, the pain had died down.

When I got home my closest friends and family had learned about what had happened to me. They were all extremely worried, and I spent the evening reassuring everyone that I was OK.

The next day I was up, and today while I have a bit of a limp I’m walking, apparently a little too fast, because Sophie advised that I slow down as we were walking to lunch 🙂

There are a few things I’ve learned from this experience that I wanted to share. The first is that I’m happy that despite a temporary moment of stupidity I still have the ability to walk. The second is that I’m very grateful for those who were at my side, and for all those who loved and showed concern for my well-being, my close friends, family, and employees. The third is that despite a traumatic incident I’m glad I was able to stay calm and return to my normal life. I actually wonder if my calmness is what made the whole incident less tragic, although most of my friends seem to think that all the yoga I do has just made my leg super strong 😀

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