Gruesome Accident Tales Part VII: "If you drink and drive, we’ll provide the chaser."
They laid me on the ER and diligently worked to determine the extent of my neurological loss. (In case you were wondering, this involves pinching my toes every few minutes, putting a finger up my asshole, and not giving me any painkillers for six hours.)
More painful than the actual injury was the maddening poster on the ceiling above my stretcher. It was a photo of the entire set of police vehicles of some precinct. All the cars and motorcycles were shown in formation, with a helicopter flying above them, and then the picture was shot just as their little airplane was flying head-on towards the camera. The caption read, "If you drink and drive, we’ll provide the chaser." It did not get more amusing over time.
At some point George, my housemate, my girlfriend (of 4 days) and a couple of other people came to see what the extent of the damage was and wish me well. We talked for a little while and then the doctors gently shooed them out of the ER. Shit, I thought, this means they’re going to do something bad to me wherein my orifices get penetrated.
I was so right. They informed me that they were going to catheterize me (read: shove a plastic tube with a balloon at the end up my plumbing), put a tube into my stomach via my NOSE, and then inject some saline directly into my stomach so they could promptly suck it all out again through my nose. It was decidedly unpleasant. But evidently I handled it well, as several nurses bestowed upon me the "stoic award" of the night.
At some point they decided I could have some painkillers. They sent a shot down to the ER just as they wheeled me into the x-ray room. They sent the shot to the x-ray room just as they sent me back to the ER. They sent the shot to the ER just as they set me to the CAT scan room, which is where it caught up with me. "What is it?" I asked, as the pretty nurse gently slid the syringe towards me.
"Four milligrams of morphine."
"Mmm." I said…and then slightly later, "Mmmmmmmmmmmmm" as the cold reality of the pain of life gently melted away and they slid me into the big metal ring that is a CAT scan.
"You have fractured a vertebrae", they told me. "We are going to do some surgery."
"Okay," I said, agreeably.
I woke up the next day with about 40 staples holding me closed. Staples.
(gawd, is he going to drag this on forever?…)