Too many broken hearts have fallen in the river…
I’ve done a couple of stupid things since Bob went in to hospital, not least of which was letting the front wheel of my fold-up electric bike get jammed in the Luas track at St James’s resulting in four+ hours in A&E with Ritamary holding my hand…
It happens: you’re miles away worrying about the person you love or the future or the past and then you’re face-down on the concrete trying to breathe.
My first – and last – sick day since I began to work for Fanagans was that day. I’d left the hospital at about 7.25pm on my way to Aungier Street to begin work at 8pm and became indecisive at the Luas line – should I go through Basin Street flats or down James’s Street? I’d forgotten that my new super-fast electric bike had fatter tyres than my old bike but luckily the engine hadn’t kicked in when my dithering resulted in the tyre getting stuck in the track.
The bike came to a halt, I hit the steering column with my ribs, went over the handlebars and landed on my face. Not the nicest experience. A kind lady came to my rescue: ‘can you breathe?…are you dizzy at all?, she asked, as I panted through what once had been relatively normal lips. Two young chaps came up carrying my bike (how did it get over there? I remember wondering….) and the lady – (‘are you a nurse?’ I asked and she said no) said she’d come with me to A&E because she thought I’d need stitches.
Worrying about being late for work I phoned my colleague Pearse Mullarkey: he assured me that he’d take the phones that night and I should not worry. Pearse is a lovely gentleman and most supportive. I assured my guardian angel woman that I’d be okay and she could go visit her friend or whoever was fortunate enough to know her. She was so very kind. If she ever gets to read this, thank you very much.
I phoned Robert’s ward, Bennetts, and got Kieran on the phone. ‘Come on up, we’ll look after you’. Of course they would, and of course they did. I arrived there with my nose bleeding, my chin scraped, lip pumping blood and the other cuts and grazes a bike fall will occasion. Kieran looked at me and sighed. He’s a big bloke is Kieran, whose movie-star good looks are only accentuated by the fact that he’s built like a brick wall, and he’s athletic – is a hurler – so I guess this was just a bit of a ‘spill’ in his book.
Nikki, a lovely blonde nurse now in Saudi Arabia, also sighed but assured me we all are capable of these things. She took me in hand: mopped me up, cleaned me down and then fast-tracked me to A&E after collecting Ritamary from Robert’s room to keep me company. I did look miserable.
A most-efficient nurse cleaned and Steristripped my lip almost immediately and then Ritamary and I waited four hours in A&E until the doctor could see me. Let me just say I ended up holding both my cracked ribs and my split lip several times to stop them from splitting more from laughing – watching the behaviour of some of the other patients and listening to Ritamary’s murmured comments was putting strain on both. All joking aside, watching what nurses have to endure in A&E from the not genuinely sick – also called ‘the drunk’ – is eye-opening.
I tried to convince Ritamary that my lip was feeling fine with the great job the nurse had done, but she rightly said that, as I had already paid the €100 A&E charge I should wait and see the doctor to be absolutely sure. So he came in, ripped off the Steristrips nurse 1 had put on, squeezed my ribs and said I didn’t need stitches. Then another (not so efficient) nurse slapped on new Steristrips and we wandered off into the night. I collected my broken bike, folded it up and put it into a taxi. Ritamary very kindly stayed with me that night.
Cracked ribs are very painful but it was the humiliation and feeling like an eejit that hurt the most. My lip has healed very well though I do have a scar – and Robert looked at me quite reproachfully when I arrived Steristripped the next day; I’m sure he knew I’d been a big fool – but the lesson was learned. Our friend Jane in England gave me a bit of a rollicking about paying attention, etc., and she was right. She wasn’t harsh, but she was right. I needed to start being aware of danger.
It wasn’t the fault of the electric bike but some time later, about a month, it showed itself to be an unreliable mode of transport and I had to get rid of it. I won’t go into detail but I have reverted to a normal bike which is fine.
However, one thing I learned from the experience is that I don’t want to be taken out by a truck: there have been times over the last ten months when I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep going I’ve been so lonely and lost: wouldn’t it be easier to just give up? wouldn’t they be doing me a favour? But that accident showed me I believe Robert and I have a future – I want to be there for that.
Other stupid – albeit harmless – things I’ve done is put on two different shoes; left the bike in for a service and completely forgot I’d done so, and wandered around the garage wondering where it was, etc.
I’m sure I’ve done more than that but can’t remember right now. Will likely continue being an eejit so expect updates…