Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I Left My Leg... In Brooklyn, New York!

And my laundry in a bar on Fifth Avenue. Okay, it was just part of my leg. What the hell am I talking about?

Well, I had a little accident last night. I was wheeling my laundry home, thinking about Chem class the next morning and grumbling to myself, when I came to the well-known fucked-up curb ramp on 16th St and 5th Ave. "There's that well-known fucked-up curb ramp," I thought briefly to myself. "I hate that thing. Now I'm going to have to dykehandle my laundry cart over the big holes in it." Which I proceeded to do, while looking away from it for oncoming traffic. And that's when I had the accident.

If you are familiar with New York, you probably know about the Ubiquitous Metal Cart, or UMC. Because most New Yorkers walk everywhere and many don't have laundry facilities in their buildings, on a daily basis you may see dozens of people pushing their UMCs full of groceries, junk, or bags of laundry. What you did not know is that, apparently, the UMCs should also be known as The Carts of DOOOOOM!!!

All of which is to say that my cart wheel wedged in the hole, tipped over forward, and somehow gouged a large chunk out of my leg. I wasn't even sure what happened at first - I was just mad it fell over and thought I had a scrape. Then I saw the blood filling my shoe.

Fortunately, a very kind stranger named Cathy happened to be just behind me with her shopping cart, and saw the whole thing. She righted the cart, helped me fish an old towel out of the laundry to staunch the flow, let me use her cell phone and wheeled the cart into a local bar for safekeeping. If that weren't enough, just a few moments later an ambulance happened to be passing by, and she hailed it so they pulled over to help me. She even hopped into the ambulance with me, asking if I needed her to go to the hospital with me for "emotional support"! By then, I had gone from pissed but calm, to blubbering mini-panic when I actually saw the severity of the wound, and back into bemused but calm again, so I told her thank you and I'd buy her a drink at the bar sometime, but she could go.

I was very lucky during the whole thing, besides the weird sort of foul luck that allows one to get disfigured by a runaway, nine-dollar shopping cart, that is. The truth is, I had almost no pain the whole time, until they did the lavage and numbing shots, and even that was just a sting now and then. I had a kind stranger look after me, some very nice paramedics who just happened to be there at the time (guardian angel, much?) and a cast of cute young doctors out of Scrubs cast by a fashion shoot. I expected to finally be in pain this morning, both from the 29 stitches (8 inside, 21 out) and the infamously sore-making tetanus shot, but so far, barely a twinge. In fact, the only bad consequences so far have been missing my first Chem lab (boo hoo), a probable very ugly scar to come, and the loss of a blood-soaked sock (the paramedics' advice of washing the sneaker in hydrogen peroxide seems to have done the job, which FN might appreciate knowing). Well, those things and a lingering feeling of nausea after seeing my leg open down to the muscle (I'm hoping I'll be able to better handle seeing animal injuries than this, or vet tech school might be a mistake), and washing out my shoe to find sizable... bits of me still clinging to it. You're welcome for that image, by the way.

And that's my story, kids. My lessons learned?

1.) Be careful where you're going, especially when pushing a cheap, sharp metal cart.

2.) Relying on the kindness of strangers really isn't so bad
3.) God as my witness, from now on I will have my laundry picked up and delivered!

P.S.: Do you think I can sue the various nurses who kept walking by and recoiling, then commenting how bad my cut looked, for emotional trauma? What about the one who gasped and said, "oh, that looks so bad! And you had such beautiful skin!" Do they teach that kind of bedside manner in nursing school?

P.P.S.: Can I sue the city for the fucked-up curb? I don't think I was being inordinately clumsy, and I have a witness! Plus, then I wouldn't have to work while in school. Hmmm...


Warrior Two said...

Seeing animal parts and seeing human parts is different, at least for me. But I confess I could never be a vet tech after watching one of them hold a bucket under the nose of a dog about to vomit. Bleeeurgh.

Kris said...

So sorry to hear about your accident. I hope you recover in a very timely fashion. btw - I have a curb like that too - on 6th and Carroll. I once tipped a child out of the stroller on it and later - obviously not having learned any lessons - tipped one of those annoying gray coop shopping carts over too. There should be some kind of warning sign...

Heather said...

Criminy woman! First George Clooney gets road rash from his unfortunate motorcycle incident, now you remove portions of your leg on an eeeevil curb. When will I stop reading such horrible news?!

Hoping your recovery is swift and continues to be painless!! If you need some, um, bits for cosmetic reconstruction, I'd be happy to offer up my own ginormous calves as a donor for lipo and grafting...

oneofhismoms said...

Your post first made me LOL (UMC... ha!) Then it almost made me hurl. You have insurance, right??? Please say yes.

Da Nator said...

WT - I think dog vomit I might be able to handle. Realizing that the stuff I'm made of looks like slab bacon? Not so much.

kris - thanks. I hope the kid was alright! Maybe we can start a lawsuit together?

heather - lipo is about right, since most of the bits I found were pieces of surprisingly firm fat. Looks like caviar... mmmmm!

oohms - yes, I have insurance through Mrs. Nator's job now, thank Zod. Otherwise, they might just have taken the leg off at the knee.

claire said...

omg! are you ok?? and where did this magical good samaritan woman come from? that just doesn't happen like that. like ever.

eeech. hope it heals nicely. at least now you can be all "look at my scar" and be all cool and stuff.

BigAssBelle said...

oh. shit.

"washing out my shoe to find sizable... bits of me still clinging to it."

that image . . . will cling to me for years. ugh. that's my greatest fear, finding some piece of my body separate from the main part. and there you were with flesh splattering everywhere and dangling from the gouged out leg. geeze, i'd have just died. so sorry, cupcake.