I got dropped in on. By a car. And I’m very lucky that I’m still alive. I must have had a million guardian angels.
I was riding my scooter and someone decided to pull out of oncoming traffic and cross my lane. I remember thinking ‘you gotta be fucking kidding’…. I had no chance and T-boned the car with Herman (my scooter’s name). Herman is still in hospital. I think he might be dead. I can’t remember much of the impact but I spoke to someone who heard it and he reckons it was the loudest bang and I hit the ground with the back of my head. Now apparently it takes quite a bit to knock a gidget out. I’ve been told I got up and walked a few steps before I collapsed. I don’t remember any of that. The next thing I remember, was lying on the ground feeling dizzy and worried about my teeth as I could feel bits and pieces of my teeth in my mouth. Yikes. And my knee hurt quite a lot. Within no time I was surrounded by lots of people.
The surf guardian angels must have been on duty because Maxi, one of the Bondi Lifeguards happened to be at the scene of the accident in Bondi Junction and he managed project ‘Gidget Rescue’. You could tell he was an absolute pro when it comes to first aid and knew his stuff about spinal injuries. It reassured me to know that I was in safe hands until the ambulance arrived. There were lots of other helpers around and I think another doctor as well. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I can’t remember that much. Long story short, the ambulance took me to hospital. Little did I know then that the most painful part was still to come. I ended up in a neck-brace for another eight hours unable to move until they finally managed to clear my spine. I was very relieved to hear that I had not spinal injuries. Next, off the checklist was my knee. Nasty gash there. I did not actually see it myself but I could tell it was not pretty by the looks of people who peaked under the blanket to check it out. I ended up having surgery under general anesthetic to get it washed out and stitched back together. And again, the luckiest gidget on the whole planet…whilst it was a deep nasty gash, it did not touch any tendons or joints and they only thing that will remind me of the accident will be a scar across the knee.
I do believe being super fit from surfing might be a contributing fact (apart from massive luck) that I survived a crash like that with no broken bones (Apparently, crashing into a car at the speed of 40km/h is like falling off a four-storey building). Or maybe it’s just the Austrian in me. I must be related to Arnie after all…Joke aside, one thing is for sure, having big guns from surfing certainly helps moving around with only one functioning leg now. Another proof that surfing is good for you…but we knew that already.
I’m not sure if I’ll ride a scooter again but I know a lot of my friends do and certainly many of my surfer friends do ride one when they are on surftrips in Indo. Like me, you probably have ridden a scooter without a helmet there and probably just in board shorts and without proper insurances. Like me you probably thought it’s the others who have accidents. But I’ve just learned from my own painful experience, no matter how careful you are someone else might not be. The helmet undoubtedly saved my life. It also helps that I’m properly insured. So please, please, please, please, please never ever hop on a scooter without a helmet and make sure you wear proper clothes. Make sure you have a valid license and insurances. You would not want to have to worry about that in case of an accidence. If I ever ride a scooter again, I promise I’ll get a bright yellow leather Onesie – Kill Bill style. No one will ever dare to drop in on me again.
I would like to use this opportunity to thank all the people who helped me (and are still supporting me) through this horrific experience. Thank you to the people first on scene who looked after me and called the ambulance. In particular, thanks to Bondi Lifeguard Maxi, who gave me first aid and another doctor who I don’t remember the name of, thank you to a lovely man called Evan who was also a big support on scene and informed my partner of the events. Thanks to all the other people who supported me at the scene of accident. I know there were heaps of people but it’s all a bit of a haze and can’t remember so much. Thanks to the police who was there straight away as well. Thank you to the scooter tow man who took care of injured Herman.Thank you to the nice paramedics who took me safely to the Royal Randwick (yes, I remember…I will give you a surflesson). Thank you to all the lovely and competent nurses and medical staff at the Royal Randwick Hospital. They did an amazing job looking after me despite a not so perfect health system (no it’s not fun having to wait for eight hours in a neck brace in emergency after you just head-butted a car…there’s a job for you Tony…). Thanks to my family and friends for lovely and supporting messages and visits. Special thanks to Johanna and Amy.
But my biggest thanks of all to my beautiful man Daniel, who has not left my side since the accident. Thank you for being my rock. I love you. You are the best. Thanks to his loving care, I’m sure I’ll make a return to the line-up in no time.
See you in the water soon.
PS: sorry to my loyal readers, I know I know I’ve promised a new Venus Goes Gidget site. It is a bit delayed as I was busy getting x-rays and surgery instead of launching the new site. Also, weekend wave wraps and first account surf stories will be on hold as long as I’m out of action but will sure to find some other exciting stories to report about remotely.
PPS I’m high as a kite on painkillers while writing this so please pardon if anything does not make any sense.