It began last Wednesday, somewhere around 7:30 or 8 p.m. It was dark and rainy, and I was on my way to the local Provigo supermarket (actually, it's only semi-super), located near my apartment building at the intersection of two busy streets. Although it's illegal, I usually jaywalk, crossing the street in front of my building and walking to the corner on the Provigo side. This way, I only have one street to cross at a traffic light. Because I know the traffic pattern, which usually leaves large gaps between eastbound and westbound cars, all of which are visible to me, and because it's more convenient (and, I've learned, safer), I prefer jaywalking here.
The other night, traffic was unusually heavy, so I didn't jaywalk, but kept walking toward the corner. I waited for the walk light and crossed from the south toward the north corner, where I would have to wait for another light to cross from west to east. As I reached the north-west corner, I was confronted by a huge puddle, wide and deep. I hesitated for a moment trying to decide how to get around it, and wishing I'd waited for the chance to jaywalk. Suddenly, I felt a hard bump and my body falling to the pavement, my head hitting the pavement. In that instant I wondered, have I been hit by a car?
I have no memory from that time until the moment I looked up into the face of a policewoman who was asking me questions to ascertain if I was conscious and how badly I was injured. I think I told her that my head and shoulder hurt. She asked my name, my address, and the date. I gave my name and address correctly, but said it was October 26, 2015. She told me that actually it was October 28. I was close enough for a 69 year-old retired woman who spends most of her time far from the quotidian world, in a place where there are few "important days." The most important day of the month for me is the first, when I pay the rent for my apartment and guarantee a place for myself where I don't have to be concerned about what day it is. The officer and I both knew that, most likely, I didn't have a traumatic brain injury. She told me that an ambulance would be coming soon. Someone said that the driver of the car didn't see me.
Time passed, I don't know how long it took for the ambulance to arrive. During that time I was aware of being cold and wet; but it didn't seem to matter.
The ambulance arrived. I think the female attendant ran through the questions again about my name, address and the date, and asked whether I was taking any medication or had any allergies. Either she or the male attendant put a neck brace on me. It dug painfully into my right collarbone, and I used my left hand to lift it away. The attendants put me on a gurney and lifted me into the ambulance. During the 7km ride to the Montreal General (which I can see from the balcony of my apartment), I stared at the lights on the ceiling of the ambulance and wondered if this was really happening. Would I be able to finish my novel? Why didn't I wait to jaywalk? The ambulance attendant asked me to let her know if I had to vomit, so she could provide a kidney basin.
The ride probably lasted 10-12 minutes, and suddenly I was being whisked through the doors of the emergency entrance and down a hallway to the emergency room. At first I was thinking that the lights on the ceiling were along the wall. I don't know why I thought that.
The emergency room didn't seem very busy. There were several ER staff. At least one, maybe two, were doctors. I sensed that there were one or two other patients, but I couldn't turn my head to look because of the collar, the pain, and a feeling of drifting. The doctor who cared for me, a handsome, down-to-earth young man, commented on my dress being "nice" or "unusual" or something along those lines. I told him I got it in Mexico. It's something I wear at home because it's so comfortable and because it reminds me of the wonderful experiences I was having during my first trip to Mexico, seven years ago. When I decided to run out to Provigo to buy a couple of items that were on sale that week, I pulled on a pair of pants and tucked the dress up under my jacket. I wasn't thinking about the old warning, to "always wear clean underwear when you go out in case you get hit by a car." I'm not sure I was even wearing underwear.
The doctor offered me morphine, either a small dose or larger one. I thought it was pretty nice of him to involve me in my own care. I told him I'd never had morphine before, and said I'd start with the smaller dose. He couldn't get a vein on my right arm, so he tried the left and was successful. He told me I was a good patient. I didn't complain about being poked, or moan in pain from my injuries. I didn't demand attention. Despite the feeling of drifting, I was trying to pay attention to what was happening to me. The only times I cried out were during the process of removing my jacket and when someone tried to turn me onto my left side by lifting my right shoulder.
I was sent for a CT scan. The doctor told me that the scan showed a fractured right clavicle. After that, I asked for more morphine. At least there was no indication of a brain injury, despite a huge lump and a headache. I was glad for that and for the fact that I hadn't broken a hip.
Around 2:30 a.m, I was dressed in my rain-soaked clothes and sent home in a taxi. At 3 a.m. I was on the corner where I had been hit, looking for my glasses. (I never did find them.) I was feeling nauseous from the morphine, so I returned to my apartment and vomited.
I'll finish this for now. One week later, I'm still feeling pretty banged up and kind of lost in Dilaudid. The most important thing now is to rest and allow the healing to progress. This, too, shall pass.