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Accident at the Gap (The Victim's Version)

I woke up that morning feeling good. I was looking forward to a workout. I went through the usual routine of reading while stretching - hehe, I still remember what I read - muscle contractions by Actin and Myosin fibres - fascinating bio stuff. By 5:20 I was on the road and soon met up with Spiderman.

"We're going to JI to do ME intervals, right?", I asked. It was Wednesday and Wednesday was ME intervals at Jurong Island.

"Nah, that's boring", said Spidey. He went onto outline his plan for a hill interval with jumps and attacks. Spidey is becoming more and more of a roadie - tri-geeks don't do attacks and jumps, do they?

However, it was just the beginning of our 2nd Build period and I thought, why not? "Variety is the spice of life", I agreed and so off we went.

The circuit was South Buono Vista, down PGP, up the Hon Sui Sen Slope, up Kent Ridge Crescent (known as Admin Slope) and down it, up Clementi Road, recover on Pasir Panjang Road and repeat.

The first lap was great! I could feel the legs opening up and the burning feeling of lactic acid in the legs was there to remind you of the intensity of the workout. The second lap was tiring though. Lactic acid was beginning to accumulate. Like I told Spidey after the accident, I felt like a lactic acid jar.

The third lap was where it all came down. I have re-lived those few seconds again and again in my mind. I keep thinking of ways I could have avoided it. Maybe I should have slowed down. Maybe I should have taken the corner wide. Maybe I should not have gotten up that day. Well, you know what I mean.

We were climbing the Gap at a reasonably steady pace. Don't ask me what speed or what my HR was - I don't know. All I know is that my blood-brain barrier must have melting under the lactic acid load. I was using Spidey for pacing and I heard this lorry come up behind us. The lorry was tailgating us, so Spidey waved for it to go ahead. When the lorry went pass us, he jumped.

Now, I don't draft vehicles. I don't like the fumes, but even if I wanted to then, I could not respond to that violent acceleration anyway. So Spidey and lorry disappeared around the corner, and I was left huffing and puffing trying to keep up. I was a bit pissed at getting left behind so I got out of the saddle and started going up and round the corner fast. I was accelerating round it actually.

That's when i saw that the lorry had slowed down CONSIDERABLY. So much, so that I think Spidey had almost stopped!

"SHIT!", I must have screamed, and my front wheel must have knocked Spidey's back wheel and I did a classic face-plant on the road. I remember going over the bars, seeing the road come up and then ...

I honestly cannot recall the next quarter of an hour. All I remember is Spidey saying that I have cracked a tooth, broken my lip and we must get to the hospital. The next thing I remember is that we are in the hospital and I'm trying desperately to fill in a form. He says we cycled from the crash site to the A&E ??!!!! I don't believe it.

I must have been really, really dazed and confused. Shock is the word I think.

Well, I eventually gained all my memory back. Yeah, I think I do, except for some Physics formulae that I could never remember anyway.

The Hospital Experience

I must say, the nurses and doctors at NUH, really tried to put me at ease. The A&E doctor was a bit shocked when he saw my lip. He said that the stitching was beyond him and he was going to put me into plastic surgery.

I was a bit scared then. Plastic Surgery, oh man, did I really look like Frankenstein? Will my parents ever recognize me again? I was still dazed and did not look into a mirror all day until they took me to the dentist and I asked to be shown my broken teeth.

The nurses asked what type of ward my insurance covered - now I'm covered for the B2 type, but all I could remember was B "something" and so they shoved me into B1. Ok, lah, at least the majority of the bills would be covered by insurance.

I was made to change into stylo hospital pyjamas whose pants kept dropping down as I could not secure the waist strap. Later I was made to put on the surgical gown whose straps I broke at the waist so it was like wearing nothing but a barbers cloth secured only at the neck.

I was surprised by Greg popping in. We chatted a while until the nurses came to wheel me away and then OM popped by. His voyeuristic personae must have been out in full force as he snapped several pictures of me lying in bed half my face in bandages. Heard that a whole bunch of you guys came around. Thanks dudes, too bad I was indisposed then.

The OT experience was really numb and I meant it. The nurses and orderlies tried making jokes to keep me relaxed and I was alert enough to crack jokes back and answer all the innane questions.

"How did you fall?"

"Oh, I fell off my bike"

"Yeah, motorbikes are fast and dangerous"

"Oh no, I was on a bicycle"

Stunned silence for a little while. You get the idea.

They then grounded me and stopped the bleeding with a 60-70K volt cauterising machine. I mean I could smell burnt flesh! They covered me with a gauze so the docs only had to look at my lip and they must have put a ton of novocaine into the area cause I could feel the excess drops wash over my tongue and it almost gagged me.

The stitching was fast and well done. I never saw the doc. All I know was she came up and said that it would not hurt. Which was true, I didn't feel a thing. Even now , the stitches don't itch or hurt. I was then wheeled into a recovery room where they put a clip on my finger that read my heart rate and oxygen level. Curious device. I'm not sure how it worked - it had a little LED that shone brightly onto my finger.

I was then pushed back to my ward and bed. A very liquid lunch came. I was ravenous and finished it despite my aching tooth. Later in the afternoon, I was wheeled to the Dental Center and the dentist made me take three X-rays and told me the deal about my dental problem.

My front incisor is chipped (can be crowned/capped). My second right incisor is toast. My right canine is slightly cracked but no problem.

The dentist has already given me my options:

1.Leave it blank (she was adamant I not leave it blank - "It would be very ugly", she said).

2.Braces to extend the root and then cap it. (or crown it?).

3.Bridging works

4.Dentures

5.Fake tooth implant.

I've done some research on the web and it looks like an implant is the best option. But it is bloody expensive and not covered by my insurance - better get insurance for dental work boys and girls! So I don't know yet, what I'll be doing. In the meantime, I'll have this silly-looking gap in my fabulously toothy smile (or what is left of it).

She proceeded to remove my loose tooth and de-nerved the rest of it which she says she will remove later. So now there is absolutely no pain in the area. It feels funny though, to have food escaping out of the gap. Not without its uses entirely. I can put a straw there to drink my coke. Hehehe.

So right now, the left side of my face is perfectly ok, but the right side is positively ghastly. So, Wanker, I can still hook chicks with my left and if I don't like them I'd show them my right side ok?

 

Aftermath and Recovery Options

Following my accident and hospitalization, I have been discharged from the hospital and on Monday, they will take my stitches out and examine the abrasions for any infection. I'm doing my best to stay as clean as possible.

I've had discussions with the doctor about the injuries and while they think its not serious - they advise caution in getting into any physical activities real soon. Homeostatis appears to be the word in play here and that after a shock, the body would be trying desperately to heal itself. The system is out of balance and so I should give it time to heal itself.

So that means no cycling for sometime until my injuries look fine - that'll take about 1 to 2 weeks. I'm afraid, the Team Time Trial is looking extremely unlikely. But I'll be there to support you guys if you do ride! Heh, we should organize a support vehicle with spare wheels for the team and someone to bang gongs as a metronome, eh?

So I guess I'll be taking the next few weeks easy, maybe some riding on the rollers but that's about it I guess. November race anyone?

 

Thoughts and Reflections

This accident has reminded me in extremely graphic detail, the dangers in our sport. I keep reading of accidents and falls on the websites and I keep saying "Man, I better be careful", but you know, you really don't BELIEVE it could happen to you.

The truth is that it could happen. And all it takes is a split second and then WHAM! you pick up the ace of spades (or a relative of his).

I mean, no matter what time you are out riding or where you are riding, you just have got to be so careful. I have never tot it possible to crash going uphill for that matter.

My accident ranks among the top ten nastiest accidents I've ever seen. But I'm so grateful that I escaped with relatively little. Those road rashes will heal. The lip will heal. The tooth is not an eye, limb or a major bone. I did not get major concussion or muscular contusions. My bike is mostly intact.

But it could have been a lot worse. I shudder to think of what would have happened if I had not worn a helmet. I guess, that piece of plastic saved me an extra world of hurt. Sometimes, I just wonder at all the other horrifying scenarios that could have happened but am just so grateful that it did not turn out worse.

I'm no good at philosophy ok, so I'm not going to go into all that. I am glad, however, that when the accident did happen, it happened under the following circumstances:

i.I was riding with a partner. It is so important to have backup and help in case of an accident.

ii.I was wearing a helmet

iii.There was no vehicle behind me.

I guess what I'm trying to say is if there is traffic around, take it EZ!

In the meantime folks, ride fast and ride defensively.

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