Sunday, August 10, 2014

An Unexpected Stay At Lenox Hill Hospital

On Wednesday evening, I decided to see Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell perform at Lincoln Center Outdoors. Rodney was once part of Emmylou's Hot Band. The two have sang together for about 40 years. Finally here was my chance to hear them LIVE.

But the night didn't go as planned. Instead I was hit by a speeding bicycle as I crossed Central Park and ended up in Lenox Hill Hospital for several days.

Over the years, I've traveled that same path many times to get to the west side and was so stunned to be struck by a bicyclist. The road beyond the intersection was clear when I stepped off the curb. Out of nowhere came 2 or more bikers, peddling with all their might. They caught up with me fast and furiously, and I sensed the cyclist approaching me had no intention of slowing down. At that point there was nothing I could do.

After being hit, I was taken by ambulance to the emergency room. It's amazing how a bike collision can injure a person. I received a nasty gash in the back of my head (the back of my head because I nearly made it across the road. Lord knows, I tried my very best to clear those high flying cyclists!) In the emergency room a doctor put some staples in my scalp. This next part sounds bad, but I am told by my neurosurgeon that I am very lucky ... considering. I have a concussion, some bleeding in the brain, a few head fractures and a broken arm, with some bruises on limbs and my hip, where I was knocked to the pavement. 

As it turns out, Lenox Hill Hospital has the best neosurgical team in New York City, and the doctors are taking excellent care of me. I was in intensive care for the first night. After three days, the hospital sent me home and told me to take it easy for a couple of weeks. Not hard to do as I am sleeping a lot.

Skilled doctors and nurses are so vital. The medical team took ex-rays and cat scans and told me they will watch me closely and believe that after some swelling goes down, I shouldn't have any lingering symptoms. My emergency room doctor will take the staples out of my head in about 10 days, and the neurosurgeon will take another cat scan next week to monitor my progress.

As mentioned, the 30-something-year-old-woman-cyclist who stuck me was very cold. I will never forget the icy, determined look in her eyes as she screamed, "Watch out! Watch out! Watch out! over and over again. She had plenty of time to slow down, or stop and didn't. I have driven a car for many years and know she is clearly in the wrong. There was no way I could have moved any faster. She should be forbidden to peddle a bike in New York City before she kills someone! If she plans to join your family by ... say ... marrying a brother, be sure to run away. Such a chilling, angry sense of entitlement will likely rear its ugly head again one day.

After I was injured, three Good Samaritans, 2 women and a man, helped me and called the ambulance. The man was a medical doctor, who told me that because my head received a hard blow, I had to go to the hospital to be examined thoroughly. It is foolish to simply go home after a head trauma, which someone might do, without knowing the danger. I heard the Good Samaritans explain exactly where we were in the park so the ambulance could find us, and the kind women helped stabilize me and tried to make me more comfortable. I will forever be grateful for the kindness of these three strangers.

I have a few kind friends and co-workers too. Thanks, Rhonda and Carl for getting me home from Lenox Hill Hospital and helping me get my medicine, as well as, Sarah for worrying about me and Clorinda for your basket of goodies. I didn't even know I was hungry and thirsty until Clorinda brought me treats and diet Ginger Ale from Fairway. Her visit lifted my spirits.

The world is a cold, unpredictable ... as well as, a lovely place. Accidents bring out the best and the worst in people. At such times, we become aware that, indeed, it does take a village. Random acts happen, and despite our best intentions, life can take a different direction.

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  1. Oh Debra, I am so sorry. What an awful thing to happen to you, and quite serious too having concussion. The 'rights' of cyclists is under discussion a lot in Australia these days, and attitudes such as you describe are frequently observed. Noone has total right of way at all times, and everybody should look out and look after other people. The kindness of strangers is a magical thing, as you found at the scene. Similar people took care of me when we had our major car accident in 2011, and I wonder how I would have fared without them. I also had concussion, and despite being discharged as fit and well, it came back as post-concussion syndrome and was a problem for many months afterwards. Take care, my friend. xox

  2. @Patricia,

    Thanks my friend for your good wishes!

    A bike-riding friend of mine said, "What kind of people crush into pedestrians and then do nothing!"

    I don't know how a person justifies not slowing down when they see they will hit someone. Since I, personally, know there is at least one person who believes it's acceptable, I think cities must protect us from such scary people -- with speed bumps, speed limits, fines for riding with little regard for others and removing their bicycles.

    The reason why cars and bikes must yield to people on foot is you can kill and permanently hurt someone. Flesh and bones are no match. All because you could not be bothered to take a few seconds to slow down, you kill someone!