New bikes, and hospital.

Saturday June 9th I picked up my brand new motorbike, a Suzuki DL650X.  I wanted to get the engine run in before a Scotland trip that was supposed to start two weeks later on the 23rd, so I put the first 150 miles on it that afternoon and took it out again on the Sunday.  All is going well until I’m heading homewards, going gently around a roundabout, when the next thing I know I am sliding along the road towards the rear of a car.  I don’t remember much about lying on the ground, I only remember a couple of items in the ambulance (giving a breath test), and then I’m in A&E (ER) at Harlow Hospital being told I’ve broken my leg.

I was conscious enough to call my Dad to tell him I’ve had a bit of an accident, to remember the radiographer rather unkindly saying “motorbiker, what does he expect,” but little else.  I was warned I was going into theatre and the next thing I remember is the recovery room, nodding as people are telling me things, but not really taking in alot about what happened.  Tuesday and Thursday I had two more operations as they closed up the wounds that had been opened to reduce the swelling as a metal pin had been inserted into my tibia.

The first thing I have to do here is thank all the staff at the hospital that looked after me very well, even that one radiographer.  Then I also have to thank whoever it was that called the police and ambulance and stayed with me when I was laying on the road.  Unfortunately I have absolutely no recollection of you, but I am truly grateful.  After that there’s the ambulancemen and paramedics that got me to hospital.  Finally, and most of all, the friends, family and colleagues that have supported me.

One of the things that struck me in hospital was the “PatientLine” system that allows you to stay in touch when you’re in hospital.  It costs £2.90 a day to activate, and for that you get some TV channels, some games, and basic internet access using a small keypad.  If you want to make calls it costs 24p/min to landlines, mobiles are more, but to be called from the outside it is even more expensive, 39p/min or 49p/min depending on the time of day.   I also note that whilst the beds and surrounding areas are disinfected between patients, the PatientLine unit isn’t — you don’t even seem to get a fresh pair of foam pads on the headphones.

It has been many years since I last stayed in hospital myself — I think I was around 14 at the time, but for somewhere you’re supposed to be recuperating, they are no place to get a good night’s sleep.  Trolleys and boxes being pushed around are one thing, but the pained sounds from other patients can make for a harrowing night.

As for myself, I’ve got wounds from knee to ankle either side of my right leg from the operations.  They should have the staples and stitches taken out in a week or so, after which the main aim will be to get the bone healed.  Finally there may be the need for some physiotherapy after that.  The consultant reckons 4-5 months to be fully healed, but it sounds like my mobility will be severely limited until then.  I asked if I might be able to use the underground to get into work after a couple of months, and he made it sound very unlikely.

When I am fully healed, will I be getting on a bike again?  This is the $64,000 question.  At the moment, I don’t really know.  I love motorcycling alot, but I would never dream of putting the people I mentioned previously through the same ordeal.  However, it could have happened doing any number of things.  Am I less likely to cross the road?  Ride a bicycle?  Go trekking?  Probably “no” to all three.  I guess I need some time to think about it.