Monday, 5 December 2016
My Boris Bike Crash 5th Anniversary - the night I opened my eyes in A&E #BritishDadStuff
(It's a self-a&e)
You know that you are a Great British Dad when...
...you end up in hospital, for yourself.
Happy 5th Boris Bike crash birthday to me,
Happy 5th Boris Bike crash birthday to me,
I was knocked out for five hours,
and then woke up in A&E.
I was cycling to Waterloo through Holborn Circus at 18:30 on 5th December 2011.
Literally, the next image in my head is looking up at an NHS ceiling.
I didn't know it then, but 5 hours had vanished.
I am 5 hours younger, and using every minute of it.
I had a big neck cage on my head, I was in a corridor, and I could feel my clothes had been cut off.
I asked a passing nurse "Where am I?" and she told me: "The London Hospital, in Whitechapel." I'd had a bike accident in Shoe Lane.
I was dosed up nicely.
But my face felt weird.
It was like I was checking bits of my body for the very first time, without moving.
Some teeth were missing. And my lips were stitched.
And I couldn't remember a thing after turning out of Holborn Circus.
The road layout was different then - a terrifying mini-roundabout round a statue that's now moved. (Here's what it looks like in 2008)
After turning onto St. Andrew Street, I always looked over my right shoulder as sometimes I'd have a car up my bum on the run down.
But I don't remember that bit.
I think that's how I crashed.
(Embarrassingly, no-one else was involved.
The Boris Bike basket has a really high centre of gravity.
If you use one, never put your bag in there.
Unless you've got really fat feet and backside).
About a week after the accident, I tried tracking down the City of London police officer who was first on the scene. He'd kindly called my wife from the roadside to let her know what had happened and where I was going.
I wanted to thank him for helping me.
Turns out he'd even checked AND docked my Boris Bike, so I didn't have to sort out a fine.
But really it was bugging me that the policeman told her that I was "a bit of a character."
I'm not a character. I am really not a character.
I do not remember one single thing about the aftermath, and I just wanted to know that I hadn't said anything stupid to him.
I sent some wild emails from the A&E bed with my head injury which didn't make sense, and it was around the time of Occupy London.
I felt sick that I'd said something dumb to him, and even dumber almost certainly because growing up in London with school and scout trips to City police stations I think City of London Police are awesome.
I tracked him down via the control room (who remembered the incident and wished me well - I think they get curious about how things turn out), and I got to ask him: what the hell did I say?
A passing taxi driver had flagged him down to get him first on the scene.
(As a cab-driver's son, I liked this detail. London looks after its own.)
He said that I didn't have a clue where I was and I kept asking him if I was going to die.
Seems the brain protects us really well. I do not remember one word of this.
"But this was strange, Neil, you were really good with numbers. You knew your date of birth and even helped guide me through the security pin on your phone."
I do not remember one number of this.
In my head, it's one continuous flow: Turning off Holborn Circus, Hospital ceiling.
Not one beat in between.
Anyway, it changed the course of what I started blogging about, because here's the top ten list I wrote soon after.
Face looks like a themed Google logo. Changes by the day.
Being known to a handful of healthcare professionals affectionately as ‘that bloke who had the Boris Bike crash’.
Talking like Louis Spence.
Chunks falling off face like an maxillofacial advent calendar. Festive.
Patronising kids in the supermarket who stare to ‘always wear a bike helmet’, like some kind of deranged 1950s superhero.
Looking like a vagrant whose stuff never gets touched. Also festive.
Hours spent concussed equals hours not spent hearing about Eurozone crisis.
Drinking through a straw makes 2 year old son feel superior.
Finally being able to look my hero Erik Estrada in the eye.
We both know what this is like.
Looking like a Hitler cat.
Or the bloke from Sparks.
Or Blakey from On The Buses.
When people put things in bold in messages to me but not everything #BritishDadStuff
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