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Cycling



Geoff's Accident Saturday 20th November 2010

or

What ever Happened to Baby Geoff

or

The Miles and Smiles on Dr. Miles

Returning the Next Monday

This is an honest account of my latest and, hopefully, last bicycle accident.

I was travelling south along the Old Pacific Highway, feeling like a middle-aged cyclist, when I ran over Andrew Goode, who had fallen across in front of me! I only meant that I felt as though I was a middle-aged cyclist, not that I felt that I wanted one lying across my path. Anyway, I don't want to dwell on that aspect of the event.

As Andrew was spread across the lane, there was no way to avoid him, so, after hitting his back, my bike stopped dead, sending me over the handle bars and face-first into the road.

However, after rapidly picking myself and the bike up, I headed left and leant against a nearby wall. I was trying to stop the blood that was profusely flowing from my forehead.

Being a lucky guy, within two minutes of hitting the road, a fire rescue truck pulled up. Like clockwork, they had their first aid kit out and were immediately attending my wounds.

Half an hour later, I heard the ambulance - déjà vu - Hornsby, here we come again. However, with some hurried discussion, I managed to persuade them to take me to Royal North Shore Hospital instead. Where would we be without these compassionate people.

Upon arriving at the hospital, a lady doctor asked me if I had any previous injuries! Several hours later, after filling out all the medical records and having to ask for extra pages, she proceeded to remove my brand-new Castelli top. I pleaded with her not to cut it, however it now has provision for a two-headed cyclist. Fortunately, those shorts, which Matt had so admired survived unscathed (the reader is referred to my “Go for Broke II” write-up).

Poor Carol arrived sometime later, just as I was just about to have a clean up and get some stitches in my head. As they were inserting the stitches, Carol came over quite nauseous and faint.

View from Geoff's hospital bed
View from Geoff's hospital bed

Five hours later, after consuming most of the nurses rations for the next three days, the nurses took me up to a private room on the next floor, sporting the best view in the world, all on public hospital funds.

Speaking of views, at two o'clock on Sunday morning, I heard a whirring sound. I was wide awake at the time, as I found it impossible to sleep in the neck brace that I had to wear in order to protect the cracked C1 and C5 vertebrae. I looked out the window to see what the noise and flashing lights, high in the sky, were all about. I first thought it was a reenactment of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, happening right outside my window. Being ever the optimist, I checked my heart monitor - 65 bpm 105 over 60 blood pressure - so, obviously, I hadn't carked it and wasn't about to be whisked off to cycling nirvana by angels in an extra-terrestrial saggin' wagon ("cycling nirvana" is rumoured to be located on that stretch of road from Wollombi to Broke - again the reader is referred to my “Go for Broke II” write-up).

I then realised that the lights were beaming down on the hospital's helipad, from a helicopter about to descend with another poor accident victim.

Geoff's face
Geoff's face, featuring bruises, swellings, and stitches

As I couldn't sleep, I spent the rest of the night walking about the ninth floor and occasionally lit my somewhat altered visage with a torch in order to frighten the chronic insomniac patients.

The side of Geoff's face
The side of Geoff's face, featuring bruises, swellings, and stitches

I decided, after breakfast (by the way, the food here is great - almost worth running over a middle-aged cyclist for), that I had better inspect my face, with my new-found glasses, so as to better understand what all the running and screaming was about. Oh dear, what a sight! It was then that I realised that the job that I had done on my face was far worse than Danny's facial rearrangement upon his hitting the tar in almost the same spot that I did.

Straight away I ran down the corridor to ask the first, frightened, nurse that I came across, who, upon reflection, was probably about to call security, whether they had a theatrical studio, from where I could borrow a Phantom-of-the-Opera mask. She replied that four in the morning was no time to be running around scaring people and looking for masks. Strange how some people react to facial scarring.

Since entering the hospital, I have been asked to attend my grand-daughter's kindergarten's Christmas Party, probably to impress upon these little minds the warnings about stranger danger. They also expressed deep regret that I could not have done this to myself last month, as they would have loved to have had me attend their Halloween Party.

Anyway, all joking aside, it is good to be sufficiently able bodied to be able to walk about and talk with the nurses and doctors. It makes one so thankful for their every effort, be it the humble tea lady and cleaner or the professors. They all do a great job in keeping this colossal machine running.

While wandering around talking to patients far less fortunate than I am, I met this chinese nurse. She had struggled all of her short life, spending four years training in China, then two years here (with possibly another two to go), working tirelessly for little money, before needing to return to China to look after her aging parents. It seems her whole ambition in life is to care for others, foregoing the fine trappings of wealth and prosperity that most of us enjoy.

Meanwhile, as I am writing this at two in the morning, another road-trauma patient has been flown in. No doubt a team of doctors and nurses will be working tirelessly for several hours to save, yet, another life. I think that they should erect a great big neon sign that tells you how many lives have been saved today, how many disabled people have been made mobile today, and how many depressed people can again, today, face the world with a smile, all thanks to the work of the doctors, nurses and other staff at this hospital.

Again, sorry to digress from my warped sense of humour, but I would seriously like to thank my friends in the Round Corner Wheelers for their kind thoughts, visits, cartons of VB, brown paper envelopes stuffed with money (Steve, I know yours didn't contain money, but I appreciated it anyway), and, Mike, for the bag of prunes, which certainly helped things at the other end. In particular, I would like to thank Peter, for his fantastic advice as usual, and, of course, my own family and my dear long-suffering wife. Thanks again. And, Peter, may you have good luck in the future, my dear friend.

Kind Regards, Geoff

Returning the Next Monday

Returning to Royal North Shore Hospital the following Monday, whilst sauntering along the dimly lit basement corridors, I plucked up the courage to remove my Phantom-of-the-Opera mask; afterall, who would notice a 68 year-old cripple with serious heart-problems. Just then a young doctor appeared walking towards me, with the left sleeve of his Saville Row suit rolled up to reveal his Rolex and his head in the air, reminding me of Roy Orbison singing that rather ancient ballad, “Running Scared”.

Upon seeing me he called “Hi, Beautiful!”. As I was thanking him profusely, adding that I never expected that anyone would ever compliment me again, I realised that he was actually addressing a nurse walking behind me. My dreams of being whisked away in his Aston Martin to an expensive restaurant for a quiet, intimate lunch were suddenly dashed. I resolved, instead, to blow the $6 pocket money, which my dear wife had issued me (afterall, I had “forgotten” to give her a receipt), on a Subway Roll.

Now that my hunger was sated, I was itching to get home and play the new CD that they had made for me in the X-Ray department. This promised interesting cross-sections through my cracked C1 and C5 vertebrae. So, back at home, I rigged up the computer to the big-screen television, dimmed the lights and settled down with a few bottles of VB, ready to enjoy the slide show, and, hopefully, drift off, finally, to sleep. Instead, these images brought home to me just how lucky I was to still be alive, given that the cracks in the vertebrae came within two millimetres of severing my lumber artery. Clearly, someone must still love me besides Greg!