... road rash?
Last night I became a true Chicago cliche. I was hit by a cab while crossing the street, on a green light, with the "walk" sign flashing. He made a left turn right into me. Looking straight at me, too.
I saw him out of the corner of my eye. Everything happened so fast that it was only after the fact before I could even complete the thought, "Wait. He wouldn't possibly..." *BOOM* "... hit me." Ow.
Now, if you don't live in a big city, you can't possibly understand the craziness that are the guys and gals that get behind the wheels of cabs and buses in the urban jungle. For most of them, traffic signs and signals are not mandatory... not even suggestions -- just an irritation. Minimal fuel consumption trumps brake pedals and gear shifts. The only things on the road that have the right of way are their own vehicles -- certainly not something as pedestrian as a pedestrian.
This is not necessarily a bad thing if you are in the cab and need to get somewhere in a hurry.
However, if you are outside of the taxi and standing between it and the destination that its driver believes far more important that yours, and you just might be in for some hurting. Trust me on this one.
So there I am, sitting on my butt in the middle of the street. The Middle Eastern taxi driver gets out of his car, whips out his cell phone and starts making calls, speaking rapidly and animatedly in some type of Arabic. I don't know if he's calling 911 or his cab company. Probably both.
A couple of pedestrians come running up to see if I'm okay and tell me not to move. One woman drags out her own cell phone and calls 911. Fortunately, I'm right across the street from Ogilvy Transportation Center, and Chicago's finest are always plentiful in this area.
So a couple of squad cars pull up, and I'm still instructed to stay where I am. (Cold pavement. Yuck. At least there was no... snow.) Info gets disseminated. ID cards provided. Ah, finally! Someone brings one of those chairs that collapses down to the size of a briefcase or unfolds into a full gurney. No more cold hiney.
My right shoe is mangled and the sole is ripped from the upper around the toe. My right knee is damp. Wait a minute! The ground is dry, but my knee is damp. Not good. Lift the pant leg and, sure enough, there's an inch-wide rivulet of blood running from my knee to my ankle. An officer friendly brings me a gauze pad and a blanket. I apply pressure and cover up.
Just then, an ambulance pulled up. The paramedics very quickly load me into their vehicle, and I know I must be doing pretty well since they belt me onto the bench instead of strapping me down to a gurney. Seems I made their night. They'd been on duty for four hours without a call.
Surprisingly, I'm doing pretty well. I know I'm a bit banged up, but I'm not panicked, not shocky (and I know what shock feels like), and I'm actually feeling pretty calm. (All those stories by AD, BabsRN, LawDawg, Matt G and GruntDoc have rubbed off on me, I guess!)
Here was another surprise. Chicago hospitals have a reputation for jam-packed ERs and horrifyingly long waits to be seen. The good folks at Northwestern Memorial Hospital couldn't have been kinder or made intake any easier. (Okay, the one lady who chatted nonstop on her cell phone about highly personal stuff while typing my data into the system -- her I could have lived without. Save your shopping list of feminine hygiene products and snacks for someone else, okay?)
Was my blood pressure up a bit from earlier in the day? You betcha. But really the only damage is road rash up the entire right side of my calf. Good-sized abrasions on my knee and my ankle. Lots of lovely hematomas up and down my right side. A sore upper arm from the tetanus shot the doctor insisted I needed.
Quite frankly, I am one lucky lady.
A big, big thank you to the officers who responded so quickly, the paramedics who were so kind and professional, and the folks and Northwestern who got me in and out in record time. And especially to the officer who tracked me down to the hospital to give me a copy of the accident report.
Another big thank you to my buddy Kat, who made a mad dash for the hospital when she got my call, and gave me a place to crash (heh) last night.
I've got a secret, though. I'm really, really ready for March 2008 to be done. And look what I have to look forward to tomorrow. Great. Just great.