Image by Jacob Pries
My bike had a brief and heroic fight with a car. I was on it. I fell. I broke a bone, hit the pavement pretty hard, but other than that was safe and quite alive. I rode an ambulance to the emergency room, and while waiting there was rather inspired by the experience. The next bit is what I wrote down in my notebook while waiting in the hospital for care, and my friends to arrive.
- “At St. Mary’s hospital emergency in triage. I got hit by an effing car on my bike. Shit balls. No helmet – idiot. Always the time I consciously risk it and decide not to be safe and something happens. Such is life! My road burns are hurting something terrible. Leg is swelling. But I’m fine! No torso or head injury at all. Lucky Janice. Extremely lucky. I feel bad for the driver who hit me, it was totally my fault. I stopped traffic! Was lying down in the middle of the street on the hot asphalt. I’ve always wanted to stop traffic by doing that at rush hour. Cross one off the list! I felt like I was sun tanning or something. The people who stopped and helped me were so kind. They called the ambulance, told me not to move, first aid kit, one guy started directing traffic, and I was totally conscious the whole time, chillin. Only when I heard my bike was done did I get upset and teary-eyed. I am grateful I did not die. That would not have been good. Phil, my paramedic was such a nice guy. Completely different from the mean woman I encountered last time the ambulance was called. Phil told me he is also a firefighter and works out at the Laurier AC because Laurier lets the regional firefighters use our facilities for free. Nice.
So I got bandages for my road burns. They look pretty B.A. I’m working the mummy look.
Man, this is incredible. I got hit, and from then on everything was taken care of by people I don’t know. It was a given, no question, call the ambulance, somebody direct traffic, don’t let her move, block the sun, give her shade, give her water, what’s your name, where do you live, when’s your birthday, with me cracking jokes while lying on the ground. At the hospital, trying to let them know I appreciate everything they are doing for me. Feeling very privileged. Phil wheeled my sweet wheelchair (smooth ride!) to triage, and then I without hesitation, without registering the fact, put all my trust into the staff that I would be taken care of. Of course I would wait. Day of service baby! What a system of trust, what a community.”
Reflecting on the whole experience, I am so glad that community exists. Community exists between people who know each other, and even between people who don’t. These are two communities and they are interdependent. Sometimes you will be without one, so you need the other. It’s a “bi”-cycle. Get it? Two wheels that need each other for balance and work at the same time when you engage in it by pedaling and…uh, this metaphor worked better in my head. Anyway!
Community springs up where you don’t even realize it exists. Strangers took care of me until my friends arrived. They took me to the hospital, they bandaged my wounds, they gave me an amazing warmed blanket (St. Mary’s has a blanket warmer, everyone should want one), they wheeled me deftly down the halls of the hospital on a clean bed, they shook my hand, they did it all in four hours. Wow. Let’s be explicit in declaring that universal healthcare is an absolute treasure to be protected!
Somehow the system we’ve created worked for me that day. The system was set up so that we are looking out for each other, trusting that others will help. That’s community. And once the cast comes off…
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like