Narcissus' Echo

Thoughts, tears, rants, ruminations, hopes, fears, love(s), and prayers of just another being passing through this wracked sphere...

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A round peg in a world of square holes...

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Spring is here... and howl

So, another guy crashes on his bicycle (road bike this time):

In his own words:

We had lovely weather yesterday here in Delaware. As I drove home for lunch I knew I would be riding my bike back to the office. As you might recall, just a day before I took my neighbor on a ride, and he fell and hurt his wrist. I sensed some premonition in the air, yet I put on my good watch and took off.

It was around 6:30 when I left office for a pleasant ride home. The sun was still out there, weather warm, and the ride easy.

The intersection of Rt. 48 and 141 is a busy one. Six lanes in one direction, four across. And right after it there is an inviting stretch of a nice road, where cars start gaining speed.

About quarter mile from that intersection I need to cross the lanes and make left turn. I have done it many times, letting the traffic pass first.

I am riding on the right shoulder, look back and see one car in the right lane, pretty far.

At that point my recollection misses a bit, and recovers - fully and completely, crisply and vividly - just a short second later... when I look back and see the green car approaching me... fast.

Then comes the impact, which I feel with my whole body.

In my life I felt many impacts. Fist. Gloved fist. Boxing gloved fist. Stick. Even one good hit on the head with an empty trash can.

All these have their unique flavor, but the one of a car hitting you at high speed is special. It has that sense of finality to it. You feel like being hit with a huge 2x4, and the overpowering force of it is so overwhelming you immediately feel lonely and... gone?

It hit me like a driver hits a golf ball, and that directness of that simple action leaves no doubt and no room. I become airborne.

As I am flying through the air, about 8 feet above the ground, I can clearly see things around me. The car comes to a full stop. My bicycle, for some strange reason, is flying in the direction orthogonal to mine. I see the bent frame and two wheels, folded in perfect figures 8. It hits the pavement, bounces, then comes to rest on the divider.

I continue my flight, but it is now time to land. Hard.

I hit the pavement with my back and head... I bounce, and tumble a couple of times, before finally ending on my self side... with my legs in some strage position ala the Georgian folk dancer, my left arm pinned under my body and my right one on top... I can see it clearly from the wrist to elbow and it is all covered with bloow. The elbow is one bloody mess. The left glove is torn and from that tear blood rushes. My helmet is still on me, but I do feel that nasty wet stuff on top of my head. My glasses are still here, but there is blood dripping into my right eye.

I try to get up, but only raise myself about a foot before realizing I can't do it. So I gently lower myself back, and start watching the scene around me.

The car stopped full 20 to 30 feet behind me - that was quite a flight! Its windshield is fully destroyed. I can't see its hood, it is too far.

Good people appear and it is obvious they have no idea what to do in such cases. They stand around, someone is already on the phone, others are just asking me silly questions - my name, the year, the day... I remember everything with no problem whatsoever.

I start mentally going over my body - limb by limb. I can feel and move all my digits - that is great news, so I am not paralized. I can see. I can hear. And I can feel pain.

My whole back hurts, it is obvious it is one large road rush area, but that spot to the left from my spine, at the waist line level... it is REALLY calling my attention to itself. The pain there is growing and begins to radiate into my left leg.

Someone brings a pillow and puts under my head, I have enough general knowledge not to move - but I hardly could, anyway. The shock is still there.

I ask someone to pull my cell phone from my saddle bag. I want to call my wife later, when I make it through the emergency room, no need to worry her early, before anything is known... I just want to have the phone with me. I realize I will be put on my back on something hard, and my back hurts from the scrape wounds and that area by the spine, and I know there are the house keys and the facility key fob there in my jersey pocket, they will get under my back hurting even more... but no, someone already found them near me. Good. I ask one guy to take my bike, and dictate my phone number to him.

The ambulance arrives. The good people tell me not to move and bring the board and the collar. The collar is on, now they are strapping me to the board... I am fighting one good but inept guy who keeps trying to put the strap right over my mouth - the hostage style. He does it twice, I moan something, finally he rearranges it. The other straps bound me to the board in what seems like a specally designed torture position - my back is hurting more every minute... the position was designed by a master. But I can't even speak.

They shove me into the ambulance and we take off. This is road of pain. Several people start working on me. One IV in the left arm... one in the right one. They manage to get the veins with the floor under them jumping and tossing us around. This is not a pleasant ride, but the good guys know theis business. They connect me to several sensors, take my EKG and do a few more things while we complete our 20 minutes journey to the Christiana hospital ER.

Someone... somewhere... sometime... will have to design a smooth rolling stretcher... with soft wheels and suspension... every bump hurts like crazy.

Turns out, someone already called my wife, told her I was OK and being taken to the ER. She will arrive shortly. The pain seems over the top now, so I almost don't notice it any longer. They undo the straps. Two female nurses pull off my biking shorts, and what is inside doesn't even acknowledge that fact. They start probing my body, pressing here and there, someone shoves his finger up my ass with some lame sounding excuse... suddently they come over the broken ribs and stars start to fly.

Someone informs me that just yesterday their doctor, a surgeon, was killed in a bike accident. Lovely...

My wife is in the reception area, but they would not tell her anything. They say - doctor will come out and talk to you. She immediately sees the familiar scene with the doctor coming out, saying: "I am sorry!". She finds a nurse willing to go inside and find out whether I am dead or alive...

There should be better way of handling this.

Now - endless X-rays, Cat-Scans, and more probing, bending, pressing... more stars... and finally the preliminary verdict is in. Two broken ribs. Six broken vertebrae transverse processes. Too many scrape wounds to mention... the whole back one giant hematoma with several areas of severe road rush. So when I get up, there is large 10" bloody spot on the bed linen, and more blood on the pillow.

Finally settling in my new room. Bed is comfortable and the pain begins to subside. The IV is dripping and they are rolling out the heavy artillery - the MORPHINE PUMP!!!! 5mL per self-administered shot, 25 ml per two hours, or something like that, I don't pay much attention to details. I am inclined not to use it again. I still recal the last experience, where days on the pump followed by a couple of weeks of Percoset turned me into a junkie.

The accident happened at 7. It is 11 now, and I have not peed through that time. I know the time to do it will come soon, and I know the pain is just too strong for me to get up on my own... I decide to give myself ONE morphine shot... a bathroom shot.

That was my only one. No other painkillers at this point. Such a great opportunity wasted - they removed the morphine bottle shaking their heads.

This is getting long. My wife brought me home an hour ago. I can walk and can even get in bed and out. It hurts like there is no tomorrow doing this, but as there is no danger, just pain, I simply do it the hard way - over the pain. There is no remedy for those broken bones - just time.

The memory of that impact is still fresh, and I find a mazochistic pleasure in reliving it - it has that unique sharp tone to it. Given the distance I flew it is really a miracle that I did not suffer more extensive injuries. The bike is most likely gone for good. I know I would like to ride again, but I just don't know how it all will pen out. My wife is reminding me that so many people depend on me, and I know those are not empty words.

This was a really close call.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Conversation with mother

So my mother is here for a visit ;-) and she has already began expressing her horror at the conditions in which I live in. (Hey, it's NOT that bad, OK? I have been thoroughly housebroken by my ex-gf. No, really.)
Anyways, here's a brief excerpt of what went on:

MUM: Ben! I can't believe this! You live like a pig!

ME: Mole. I prefer the term, "mole." Pigs wallow and roll, I burrow. I live like a mole. I burrow through my belongings, toys, old fast-food containers, empty cans of Red Bull, soiled clothing, stacks of books, research papers, journals, overdue library books, etc. I don't roll in them like a pig.

MUM: Ugh! Nevermind! What's with all these warning signs?

ME: They are there for a reason. Some of these electrical gadgets I built are not really complete yet. [Aside: I'm not EE trained] So... if you don't want to get electrocuted...

MUM: Are they on?

ME: Yes, they are always on.

MUM: Isn't it dangerous? How can you live like this?

ME: It makes life exciting.

[MUM steps away warily and resists urge to wipe dusty electronics clean]
[MUM walks to bathroom]

MUM: Oh my goodness! Look at the scale on your sink! It's all built up and encrusted!

ME: That's a natural process. Trust me. If you don't, check it up with National Geographic. We have hard water here. I believe it is called calcification or something.

MUM: Yucks! There's mildew all over your shower stall! It's disgusting!

ME: Mildew is a form of life too. Besides, I have been thinking of turning vegan.

MUM: [Returns to room, wrinkling her nose] And what are all these CDs on the walls? You can virtually open a small CD shop!

ME: They serve as as sound diffusers as well. Two-in-one. Pretty good idea if you ask me.

MUM: Your scuba tanks! What... why are they all over the room?

ME: Well... when they are out of the water, they serve double-duty as my earthquake sensors. When they fall over, I know for sure we have a big one coming, and will proceed to make my hasty exit from the building, pronto.

MUM: You have to have an answer for everything don't you?

ME: Well, that's one of the aims of higher education, isn't it? [grin]

[MUM throws hands in the air and gives up]

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Giving it up for someone

In a poem by the Chinese-American translingual writer, Ha Jin, titled, To Ah Shu, a line queries, "How can we tell sacrifice from suicide?"

To which my answer is: I can't, so I won't.
There may be people who will trade their kingdom for a pearl, but how can I be sure you are the real thing--and will stay the real thing? Forgive me for being blasphemous, babe, but, pretty and desirable as you are, you are not the Resurrection. Find someone else to martyr himself for you. I never found necrophilia appealing anyway.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Tech Support

Joe M. posted the following on a forum I frequent.
Someone give the tech support guy a medal!
(Please don't comment that you don't know what Word Perfect is: it makes me feel old).

This has got to be one of the funniest incidents I've heard in a long
time. This guy should have been promoted, not fired. This story comes
from the "WordPerfect Help line," which was transcribed from a recording
monitoring the Customer Care Department.

Needless to say, the Helpdesk employee was fired. However, he is
currently suing the WordPerfect Organization for "termination without
cause." This is the actual dialogue of the former WordPerfect Customer
Support employee. (Now you will know why they record these

"Rich Hall, computer assistance; how may I help you?"
"Yes, well, I'm having trouble with WordPerfect."
"What sort of trouble?"
"Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went
"Went away?"
"They disappeared."
"Hmmm. So what does your screen look like now?"
"It's blank. It won't accept anything when I type."
"Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out?"
"How do I tell?"
"Can you see the C: prompt on the screen?"
"What's a sea-prompt?"
"Never mind can you move your cursor around the screen?"
"There isn't any cursor. I told you it won't accept anything I type."
"Does your monitor have a power indicator?"
"What's a monitor?"
"It's the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV. Does it have
a little light that tells you when its on?"
"I don't know."
"Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power
cord goes into it. Can you see that?"
"Yes, I think so."
"Great. Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it's plugged into
the wall."
"Yes, it is."
"When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two
cables plugged into the back of it, not just one?"
"Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other
"Okay, here it is."
"Follow it for me, and tell me if it's plugged securely into the back of
your computer."
"I can't reach."
"Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is?"
"Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over."
"Oh, it's not because I don't have the right angle it's because it's
"Yes, the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in
from the window."
"Well, turn on the light then."
"I can't."
"No? why not?"
"Because there's a power failure."
"A power..a power failure?..Aha, Okay, we've got it licked now. Do you
still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came
"Well, yes, I keep them in the closet."
"Good. Go and get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like
it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it
"Really? Is it that bad?"
"Yes, I'm afraid it is."
"Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them?"
"Tell them you're too stupid to own a computer."

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Oink and the man

So I took the Pig Personality Test (PPT) (props to zeenie).
It's a hoot (all right, an oink)!
Here it is:

The results?

You are a realist.
You are direct, enjoy playing devil's advocate and neither fear nor avoid discussions.
You are emotional and naive, care little for details and are a risk-taker.
You are secure, stubborn, and stick to your ideals.
The size of the ears indicates how good a listener you are.
The bigger the better. You drew large ears, you are a great listener!
The length of the tail indicates the quality of your sex life.
And again more is better! You drew small tail :)

Hmm... naive?
How so?
Emotionally naive?

Quality of my sex life...
Well, considering that I am recently single again, and spend more time in the library researching than I do sleeping or socializing, I guess that is a given.

Care little for details...
That is definitely wrong.
I am supra-anal with regard to details.

I have no quarrel with the other points.