Less Hip, More Hop

I blame Paul McCartney for this

me lying in a hospital bed with a mask on
Glasgow University Hospital 9 August 2022

Tuesday August 9, 2022

I blame Paul McCartney for this. Had he never sung a song about the Mull of Kintyre perhaps I would never have found myself on a bike travelling there. I would never have been distracted for a second or two, and never have found myself defending myself from the fate of spiralling down a hill by instead flying over the handlebars of a bike and landing smack on the road.

I replay those seconds many times in my mind. The ways I could have avoided the accident by being more alert, or gentler on the brakes, or at least aimed myself at the softer grassy bank than the tarmac road. But I did none of those things. Instead, I landed directly on my right hip, and instantly broke it.

Now I didn’t know precisely that was the issue at the time. I just knew I was lying on the road with incredible pain and a sense that I couldn’t move. However, I needed to move. I was on an isolated road with no traffic. I hadn’t spied a human or a passing car for more than thirty minutes. If this was as bad as I thought, I needed to get to my bag, where my phone was, and call an ambulance, and the bag was a few metres behind me.

Somehow, I managed to push myself up, relying on the good leg, the left. I was vertical, but couldn’t make my right leg move, how was I going to get to the bag? Force of nature took over, and some mini hops latter we got the bag, took the phone out … no signal!

However, I could spy a house below, if I could get to the bottom of the hill I was on. And who knows, maybe all will be fine when I get going! Of course, getting on a bike when one leg won’t move is not the easiest thing, but after a few attempts I was able to get the bike under my bottom and slide myself on, resting the right leg on a peddle, got myself upright and what felt reasonably stable, and push off down the steep hill that had just tried to kill me!

Down we went, quickly and reasonably safely, but no way we can continue, an instinctive push on the peddle causes incredible pain, so we really need to be calling on the people in the house, but as we try to steer there we fall once more.

This time we are in the middle of the road. In agony, trapped by the bike on top, and unable to manoeuvre to get out and up. At this point we are just hoping that someone comes along the road, or the people come out the house. This isn’t happening, we need to keep trying to find ways of getting up. We can move the bike a little, but just don’t have enough strength to help myself.

Finally, thirty minutes later a van comes along. The driver gets me to the side of the road, but he also has no phone signal. He goes to the house, and they call an ambulance. They are kind people, keep me company till the ambulance arrives, about another thirty minutes.

The ambulance drivers quickly work out what’s wrong when I clearly can’t move. A few quick tests and the good thing is I have feeling everywhere and am speaking normally, no concussion. In the back of the ambulance we go, a few painkillers and off to Campbeltown hospital. I’m not happy to be injured. At this moment I know that I no longer have a holiday, but no sure just how bad this is. At the hospital everything is taken care of fast. We are x-rayed, and the break is clear. That means a trip to Glasgow for an operation. The ambulance drivers don’t want to take me as it would be hell on the roads. Am I getting a helicopter? No, a private jet! Well, at least there’s some fun here.

Several times we are bundled from a bed to a trolley and another place. It’s pretty painful, but all in a good cause. Everyone explains what they are doing, why, and what I should or shouldn’t worry about. Medics and ambulance drivers are all friendly, some of this clearly part of the job – keep the patient distracted with chat and they will be less stressed – some clearly just they are good people who are doing their best for me.

And here is where it ends for now. Lying in A&E in a hospital in Glasgow. A big busy city hospital where for the first time it feels like I’m just another problem to be dealt with – which is fine, but deal with me quickly, please! It’s several hours since I’ve eaten and drunk. I’m in pain, hungry and thirsty. At first, they think they will operate this evening so need to be starved, but when they change their minds, I’m really desperate for food and never so happy to have a cheese sandwich and a cup of tea when a nurse brings it.