Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Telephone Calls from Disaster

You know those telephone calls you get? They come out of the blue on any normal day, in the middle of doing normal things. But they're not anything normal. They're entirely extraordinary. They're phone calls you never want to answer but you don't know it until you do and then it's too late.

I got that call on Friday morning on my way to do a house call. My normal Friday work day. The patient I was going to see was dying, but the call was about my brother. He was hit by a car training on his bike. He was in the emergency department.

I'm horrified, but the voice of my sister-in-law is calm so it mustn't be too bad. But then, they hadn't let her see him yet. I'm rifling through the possibilities - and I don't like the connection of car and bike with my brother in between. I have many questions but none of which can be answered right now. Shit. I'm thinking more words but I'm a little uncertain of where to go and how concerned to get. He's in another city and I'm due to see a host of patients myself. I don't know whether to cut and run or hold off and wait for more news. I don't really concentrate well with my patient but I get by.

More news and he's alive - he's concussed but has some fractures. Okay that's not so bad.

He has 18 fractures, many involve his neck and back. Oh god that's not so good. Can he move? Does he have any spinal cord injuries...?
He can move, but he's in a lot of pain oh and he's punctured his lung. Brilliant.

It turns out the driver who pulled out in front of him from a stop sign "didn't see him" (he was wearing fluoro yellow) and was upset about his car mirror being smashed up. Lovely.

He'll be months in a neck brace and his Iron Man Triathlon in March is off.

I'm at once pissed off at the bloody driver and trying to be the supportive medically trained family. Thankfully he's in good care. But it's just so unfair.

People, keep a look out on the roads!! I don't want to be the next casualty.


Kevin said...

Hoping your brothers recovery is speedy and complete. Here in Tucson, Arizona we have a large biking population and it has become second nature to always "share the road". Hope you will let us know how your brother progresses.

SuperchilledTrevor said...

There is still a culture of 'cyclists shouldn't be on the road' here to some degree, which is entirely disappointing. Some idiots see cyclists as target practice or targets of abuse. But then a lot of people are great on the road. I hope the culture changes, and quickly. Thanks for your regards Kevin.

Peter said...

I'm sorry to read this happened to your brother, or any other cyclist. Hope he'll heal back over time to his old self.

Anonymous said...

Belatedly sorry to hear that news - I hope your brother is recovering quickly and fully.

Good luck, TomCat in Bondi