When shit hits the fan
I had an incredible experience 48 hours ago. I fell off my mountain bike while out on a training ride. Not a spectacular crash, just riding fast along a narrow track in a mountain bike park above Adelaide, South Australia. My front wheel slid out on a narrow section and my knee smashed down into a rock. What followed was amazing.smashed down into a rock. What followed was amazingsmashed down into a rock. What followed was amazing
Quickly I worked out something was badly wrong with my lower leg, just below the knee. The rock had clearly speared in and had it's wicked way with my tibia bone. There was a 5cm (2inch) hole and it was incredibly painful to move. The area below the kneecap looked compressed. The blood and goo escaping told the story of damage inside.
Apart from that, I was fine. My adrenaline was doing a super job of masking the pain.
First things first, I held my skin together with my hand to slow the bleeding and called my wife. My logic was to ask her to pick me up. It did freak Sonia out a little, as at the time I was just starting to come to terms with what was actually going on. It dawned on me during the call that I needed medical help quickly.
I ended my call with Sonia knowing she knew my exact location on Life360 app and called emergency services (000). The person on the line was amazing. Using an Emergency App on my phone I was able to advise my exact longitude and latitude. I was in dense bushland in an old quarry area about 20 minutes drive from Adelaide so my location was critical and phone coverage was my savior.
The emergency call responder was able to assess my state, help me stem the blood flow and keep me in good spirits. While I was told the ambulance had arrived, it still took 40 minutes to reach me and by that time my wife and son Juan had just arrived too.
That 40 minutes on my own in the bush on a bright sunny day was insightful. My days of learning meditation, breathing techniques and positive attitude shone through. I sat there calmly looking out through the bush at beautiful trees, rolling hills and my favourite birds flying overhead. There wasn't anything else I could do. I just sat. I breathed calmly.
When my family and the emergency crews arrived I was feeling OK about everything and their calm confidence put me at ease. They were straight into action, assessing & dressing the wound, immobilising my leg, getting me onto a stretcher and comfortable and calling for a helicopter to get me out.
So many smiling and caring faces all there to help me in my time of need. More people arrived, local volunteers from the State Emergency Services and the local Country Fire Service. So many people giving up their Sunday time with family to help me. It was a beautiful day to spend with family. I'm certain they would have preferred to be somewhere else but didn't show it.
Within one hour of the accident, there were Police, Fire Brigade, Ambulance, Emergency workers and my family and even the local TV station to document it all for me. (check out the coverage here) Soon I was being winched up into a state of the art helicopter by a caring and smiling crew.
Arrival at the hospital rooftop was uneventful - especially so when you're lying on your back strapped into a stretcher. As soon as we went through the doors it was another round of amazing people, caring, concerned and straight into action.
I was surrounded by real people, heartfelt people who we often refer to as nurses and doctors. We talked about puppies and shared a laugh and my diagnosed fracture came up on a screen in front of me. Amazing stuff.
Further X-rays were performed and within minutes of arriving my injury was assessed and the treatment process began. I lay on my back as more kind people in uniforms wheeled me around the hospital, all conscious of my state and pain levels. Was I OK, how is the pain?
At 9pm that night I was operated on to flush, clean, assess the fracture and sew up the wound. By 11pm I was back on the ward and at 10am the next day (yesterday) I was home.
How incredible is that?
In 24 hours I was able to experience something we don't see and generally take for granted. The emergency workers, hospital staff, pilots, police, firies, volunteers, nurses, orderlies, family and friends they were all there for me.
For me, when I needed help.
In the hours since I've received wonderful messages of support and some from people I haven't heard from in years. It's been awesome.
When shit hits the fan, that's when you realise what you have around you. It's the silent support network that drops everything to pitch in and help.
I would hate to think how many people were impacted by my rescue and treatment yesterday. It would be in the hundreds I'm sure. They were all wonderful and I thank them all sincerely.
No doubt some people reading this might not have access to such incredible resources just a phone call away. I know that I'm incredibly fortunate to live in a country that has such facilities at call when things go wrong. I wish everyone was so lucky.
When you think you're all on your own or wonder if anyone would be there to help you when you're in need, think again. You are surrounded by amazing people who are there for you when you need it. Sometimes you just need to ask.
Take care out there everyone. Look after each other and thank you.
It's an amazing world we live in.
Wellteam Instigator, Curator and 10 metres unassisted indoor crutches champion.
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