After the accident

Hobgoblin is doing well after his accident, although he’s in pain. I think it’s often true that the day after an accident is worse than the day of the accident itself. The initial shock is over, the body has had time to figure out what has happened and to protest, and new aches and pains and bruises keep appearing. Hobgoblin keeps saying he feels like he’s been hit by a truck and then laughing because he has, in fact, been hit by a truck. We spent today running accident-related errands, sad about the accident, but happy that we both had an air-tight excuse to get out of irritating meetings at school.

It’s odd how most days are completely normal and not much surprising happens, and then all the sudden one day turns out to be entirely different than what you expected. Yesterday and today both were like that, not at all what I thought they would be. I was settling down into an afternoon of work on my courses for the fall yesterday when I got a phone call from an unknown woman who said Hobgoblin had been hit by a car, she’d called 911, and an ambulance was on the way. It was one of those moments when I realized my life could from now on be completely and utterly different — when I asked if Hobgoblin was okay, the woman didn’t really answer me, and so the only thing I could do was imagine the worst. Her mention of a backboard and neck brace and the fact that they were trying to keep him still and that they had stopped traffic all along the road so there was no point in trying to drive out there just made it worse.

It turned out, of course, that the worst hadn’t happened, but for a good hour or so, I had no idea.

This accident has been hard on Hobgoblin and, to a much lesser extent, hard on me, but both of us agree that, short of something awful like permanent paralysis, it’s better to be the one hit than the one who did the hitting. We both feel a little bad for the driver. When we visited the police department today to pick up Hobgoblin’s bike, the officer who handled the incident said that the driver felt terrible about what he’d caused.

The thing is, I can easily see how I could do exactly what the driver did. He wasn’t out to hurt anybody; he was just distracted or absent-minded, things I often am, and he simply didn’t see the cyclist right there in front of him. It’s impossible to stay aware of everything going on around you at all times, so who can possibly say they will never be responsible for hitting someone? For very good reasons Hobgoblin doesn’t want to have any contact with the driver (I would feel the same way too), but I hope he finds out one way or another that Hobgoblin is fine and suffered only minor injuries. In some ways, Hobgoblin is the lucky one — he has a broken bike and some injuries, but the driver has to live with guilt.

Things should be back to normal soon and we will put this behind us, but I hope to remember this enough to stay cautious on the road and I hope I’m lucky enough never to cause such an accident myself.

17 Comments

Filed under Cycling, Life

17 responses to “After the accident

  1. I’m so sorry for the accident and I am glad The Hobgoblin is OK. This was a terrific post by the way, just describes how we get so caught up in our everyday lives and then BAM, something happens to shake us off course.

    Best wishes to the both of you. Hope HG is feeling better soon.

  2. Sherid’s point is great, about what a terrific post this is about how a single thing can stop us in our tracks.

    Give HG my best; I hope he feels better soon and can get a new bike or repaired.

  3. I imagine the Hobgoblin is going to feel quite sore for a day or two. Glad to hear nothing was broken (other than the bike), though that must have been very freaky for you to hear the news and then see him in a brace! I hope he’s on the mend very soon! And I’d certainly say you both had good excuses to get out of meetings! ;)

  4. Glad to hear Hobgoblin is not too badly hurt – that must have been a terrific shock! I hope he’ll be feeling better soon and enjoying riding again!

  5. My own experience is very much that however shocking the event is in the moment, it’s the aftermath that gets to you. Don’t be surprised if you both feel a bit funny for several days, if not a couple of weeks. It’s fine and it’s normal and only to be expected after you’ve been face to face with mortality, which is no fun. My heart goes out to you both and I send big hugs and much love and grateful thanks that you are both fine. But do embrace whatever you feel right now, as it will clear the passage for the pleasure in being alive that will come in time.

  6. verbivore

    My husband was once in a motorcycle accident and he was the one to call me, but this was years ago and his English was a bit shaky, especially in the moments following the trauma, so I couldn’t get much from him. I spent a rather harrowing 45 minutes trying to get back from Boston to Providence, just holding on to the idea that if he’d been able to call me it meant he was more or less okay. And he was. Thank goodness.

    Like Hobgoblin he was helped by strangers. In fact, a little Italian man who spoke less English that my husband, followed him to the hospital to make sure he was okay because he was alone. Isn’t that incredible?

    I am very glad both you and he are all right.

  7. You are right that the afterwards is worse than the actual event. I know exactly how you felt getting that phone call. I got one about five years ago from a police officer to tell me my husband had been in a car accident and was on his way to the hospital in an ambulance. The best reassurance he could offer me was that my husband was conscious. Then when I got to the hospital they couldn’t find him. And when they did the hospital chaplain showed up and asked me if he had a living will! But I was completely calm and collected the whole time. Not until days and even weeks later did all the strain and emotion come out.

    So as Litlove says, be good to yourselves and don’t be surprised about feeling funny. Hugs to you both.

  8. Best wishes for his speedy recovery, and for both of you to feel less unsettled – ARGHHHHHH!

  9. I must echo the others that said how great a post this is – certainly puts things in perspective, on *both* sides of the bumper. I’m glad H is relatively ok, but you certainly have your hands full. Mrs. Suitcase and I will be sure to keep you both in our prayers – especially over the coming days.

    And we’ll be looking forward to pics of the new bike! (third one in two months?! Whew!) Just glad he sewed up the TNWCs just in time!

  10. LK

    I’m sorry to read this. Can bikes and autos co-exist peacefully? Can’t we all just get along?

    Best wishes for Hob’s speedy recovery.

  11. What a terrifying call to get! I am glad to hear all is well, however. Take care, both of you.

  12. Cam

    You never know how someone will react at an accident scene, but it is heartening to know that there were people who did the right thing for Hob when this happened. There is nothing worse, imo, than having a bunch of gawkers stare at you when you’re at the side of the road being worked on by the paramedics, rather than being useful. It’s too bad that the woman wasn’t able to hold the phone so Hob could talk to you, but it sounds like she was out of the way of the medics where she should have been. Hob is right not to talk to the driver — at least because of possible legal issues — but perhaps the driver will be comforted by information from his insurance company on Hob’s condition. BTW, don’t let the ins comp talk you into submitting bills to your health insurer first, and then they pick up the bill. You shouldn’t have to pay anything — and neither should your insurer if the driver is at fault — a lesson I learned last year.

  13. SFP

    We came upon a biking accident last summer when we were leaving NYC and it was frightening. Another biker had already called 911 and all we could do was help block traffic.

    I don’t think I could ever be brave enough to ride a bike in traffic around here.

    My best to both you and H. I hope he heals quickly.

  14. Thank you, sherid — Hobgoblin IS doing better, although still in some pain and discomfort. But he’s on the way to recovery.

    Bardiac — thank you very much! We have yet to hear from the bike shop about whether the bike is salvageable or not, but we’re hoping …

    Danielle — yeah, he’s quite sore, for sure. But we both keep in mind how lucky he is not to be hurt worse. It was certainly no fun to see him in the emergency room, but at least he was all right!

    Booksplease — thanks! He’s already getting a little anxious to ride again, which I think is a good sign!

    Litlove — thank you so much! Yes, we both do feel a little strange, but at least we’ve got a few relatively quiet days and a long weekend ahead of us to help us recover. I can already see that Hobgoblin is going to itching to get on his bike quite soon, which is good.

    Verbivore – that IS an incredible story, and I’m so glad your husband got some help and that he was all right! People can be amazing, and it’s good to remember that.

    Stefanie — wow! That must have been an awful experience! To be asked about a living will ?! Good for you for staying calm, but I can see that the emotions would have to come out sooner or later.

    Jenny — thanks! I’m relieved that it’s the end of the racing season, so it seems like a proper time to rest up a bit and take it easy.

    Suitcase — thank you so much! I’m sure you’ll see plenty of pictures when H. has the new bike. We’re planning on watching the last Tuesday race and cheering people on — it should be fun, although sad too.

    LK — thank you. Considering how much time we spend on bikes surrounded by cars, I suppose we’re pretty lucky and that cars and bikes do most often get along — too bad it can’t be 100% though.

    Melanie — thank you! All is definitely well, especially considering what we could be facing right now …

    Cam — thank you for the advice — we’re new to this kind of stuff (a good thing!) and don’t know what we’re doing. The woman who called me happened to be a nurse, so I think she knew exactly what to do, to stay out of the way, as you say — I’m guessing it looked as though things might have been bad, and she was trying to protect me.

    SFP — thank you! He’s healing already. Riding in traffic takes a certain amount of bravery — or foolishness, I’m not sure…

  15. Oh dear, I don’t log in to Bloglines for a couple of days and look what happens. I’m glad Hobgoblin is not seriously hurt. Here’s hoping the shock wears off quickly, for both of you. :)

  16. Oh gosh… I had no idea that you were dealing with this! I kind of switched over to your other blog. That is scary! Glad to hear he is okay but it so easily could have been a different story. It is crazy out there!

  17. Sylvia — thank you! We’re both doing better now; Hobgoblin’s wrist still hurts, but he’s getting around better than he was.

    BettyBetty — I’ve been neglecting that other blog — it’s a little much to keep up with sometimes. It IS crazy out there …

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