My Experience With A Scooter Crash

      We were in Bali, Indonesia, our first destination outside the United States. We had been there a few weeks, and after a trip to imigration to renew our visa, we decided to enjoy the excursion and go to a temple. There was a group of temples on the ocean, and the main attraction was Tanah Lot. After enjoying the views while sipping our fresh smoothies, we headed back home. We were coming off of a little side street with 

about fifty speedbumps and trying to merge onto a much larger road. We saw traffic coming and everyone, including me, urged Mom to go, and she listened. Dad and Brenna didn’t go soon enough to make it through with us, and they sat on the other side of the road, witnessing what was about to transpire. Mom looked around to check for traffic, and, turning her head left, saw a car coming down the lane, very, very close. I started to see the cruising mass of metal in my peripheral, and instinctually, I knew this encounter wasn’t going to end well. I vividly remember merging with the car instead of the lane, and the impact was brutal. My left leg hit the very end of the car, and the scooter came flying in behind it, effectively sandwiching my leg. The scooter then fell onto the left side, and we slid along the road for at least fifteen feet. I was completely numb and in shock. At the beginning of the crash, Dad knew we were going to need to help, and slipped through traffic like a true scooter driver. A local on a scooter behind the car had stopped and dragged me out of the road. My thoughts during those few moments were “Stop it, I can get out of the road myself.” Testing this theory as I was dragged out of the road, I realized I could barely move my legs; I was still in shock. Not being able to move my legs scared me the most out of this entire experience. Sitting on a ledge on the sidewalk, I inspected my wounds while Dad and Mom sorted things out on how to get us to the hospital. The bottom of my left knee was torn up, as was my shoulder.

       During the crash my left leg had been sandwiched between the car and the scooter, and it was still numb. I was more concerned with my shoulder, as it was much uglier. I didn’t realize how bad Mom’s wounds were until much later. I was helped into the back of the car that we crashed into, and on the ride to the hospital was when I started feeling the pain in my left leg. Near the ankle and mid-shin were absolutely throbbin; It was the worst pain I had ever felt. After getting two beds in the hospital, we had our wounds cleaned, with water, soap, and iodine, the second most painful part. After the cleaning and some waiting, a doctor came and examined my shin, and told me he didn’t think there was a fracture or a break. I lay there for another thirty minutes or more before I was finally bandaged up. When we were ready to leave, Mom and Dad went to get the second scooter, because after the crash, Dad drove Brenna to the hospital on his scooter, but Mom’s scooter had been left where we crashed. Brenna and I waited for what felt like forty-five minutes, and when they returned, we found out that they had passed it three times.

Mom's description: "You look like a crash-test dummy."

       I was really nervous getting right back on a scooter after crashing. The ride home hurt, since every time we stopped or slowed down, my instinct was to use both legs to slow my momentum, but my left leg was still pulsing, and putting pressure on it didn’t help. Dad piggy-backed me up the 20 or so stairs to our house, and upon entering, I lay down on the couch and got my leg up. Dinner was not enjoyed as much as usual, and I went to bed with a few Advil. The next da I laid on the couch and did schoolwork, with my leg up to reduce the swelling. For the next week I hopped and hobbled, and every day tried to walk again and again. I couldn’t stand with half my weight on it, and I was a complete couch potato for over a week.

       One day, after lunch down Monkey Forest Road (a tourist-y area with lots of nice restaurants), Dad drove past a scooter with large bags hanging off the sides, and my left leg twisted on hitting it, putting me in complete agony. At that point we knew something was wrong, and we stopped in the nearest clinic to ask them if they had an x-ray machine or if we had to go to a hospital. Mom and Dad had been planning to get an x-ray in Thailand, since Dad had been inside one of the hospitals and said he thought it was better than one in the United States, but we knew we couldn’t wait. We had to stop back at the house to drop our stuff off and get the phone for directions, and we immediately drove to the hospital. Upon arrival, I was assigned a hospital bed and prodded quite painfully in my left leg. After about ten minutes, I was in the x-ray room, which was over quickly. Seeing the x-ray, it was extremely obvious that I had a fracture in my tibia, near the ankle. Next was the strangest thing – a splint. Their only orthopedic specialist was out of the country for three more days, and the doctors said only the specialist could put a cast on. The splint was  wooden slats with a very thin layer of foam on the inside. They were placed on the bottom and sides of my leg before being wrapped in ace bandages. For the next two days I endured my knee bone being forced into the board, and needing to itch my toes, calf, and inside of my thigh. It was not a comfortable splint.

       After a few days of pain because of the thin foam, we drove to Denpasar, with our flight in three days. When the orthopedic specialist in Denpasar (the capital), took my splint off, he took multiple wet wipes to clear the dead skin off my leg. Putting the cast on felt interestingly wonderful. The fact that it was fitted to my leg was amazing after the boards and immobility. He started by putting the mesh sock over my leg, so that the cast didn’t stick to my leg, and then three layers that he said were very soft now, but when they hardened, my leg would be hot. He was right. He applied a final fourth layer, with a soccer player pattern, then asked if we were flying anywhere soon. “In two days” was the answer. He spoke to one of his assistants (in Balinese or Indonesian, I don’t know), who ran off and came back with a case that looked like it contained a power tool. Opening it up, the saw was exposed. I promptly tensed. I only calmed when he tapped it against his hand to demonstrate that it doesn’t cut soft materials. After he split the cast on one side, he wrapped the entire thing in another ace bandage. Dad and the doctor explained that splitting the cast was to prevent pain during the flight, in case of any swelling. I was given instructions to wiggle my toes often, to encourage blood flow. The doctor was also very adamant that I don’t apply pressure to it, because the fracture could become worse, and then require an operation. I was still nervous after the splitting, and asking dad what the operation was did not help. “They put screws in your leg,” was Dad’s explanation, said with a nice, big smile on his face. We got crutches so I could walk and left, with my leg feeling much more comfortable than before.

       We started on our way to the villa we would stay in for our last two nights in Bali. It was a very nice place, with a pool in the center and three large bedrooms, each with a luxurious outdoor bathroom. There was an open-air kitchen, and on the other side of the pool, chairs and a large cushion seat. I spent most of the time reading, typing, or practicing with crutches. I loved that place; It was a very nice finale to our time in Bali.

       The next day, at the airport, Mom, Dad, and Brenna had to carry all of the luggage (three personal backpacks, two very heavy carry-ons, and two suitcases (after checking three bags)). I didn’t carry anything (I felt incompetent), and they hauled it along. Getting on the plane was even better.We had to get on a bus to get to the tarmac, and then there were stairs to get onto the plane. Stairs! My favorite activity with crutches (NOT). The flight was uneventful. That was the flight I started writing this blog post. We arrived in Bangkok at about one in the morning, got a SIM card, and took a Grab (asia’s Uber) to a hotel. The next day we had lots of toast for breakfast, and around noon got on another plane to Chiang Mai.

       At the Chiang Mai International Airport, we got a Grab and crashed at our hostel. It was about three in the afternoon, and we were hungry. We happened to be in a part of the city that Dad new well, and we walked just to the end of the road to have a very nice lunch.

In late 2018, Dad went to Chiang Mai, Thailand to learn about business and came to know parts of the city very well. He found some great restaurants, amazing views, etc. It helped us have a destination, when we didn’t know what to do.

       After lunch we took showers and chilled for the rest of the afternoon, before going to meet one of Dad’s friends at a rooftop restaurant. Another amazing meal, and a wonderful view.

       The next day, it was already time to go house hunting. Dad started looking, and the woman who managed the front desk drove him around for hours, made phone calls, and was amazing at trying to help us find a place to stay. A day later, we had a nice apartment to stay in for the two months we would be in Thailand. On arriving, we found it very modern, and settled in nicely. After doing some furniture shuffling, it started to feel like home. 

       It was around four weeks before we went to the hospital, this time to get my cast off. The orthopedic doctor had an x-ray taken, and then after evaluation, deemed it risky to take it off at that time. He said if we took it off, and I twisted wrong, it would need surgery and maybe six months to heal after that. We followed his advice and it remained attatched to my leg. His recommended we wait another two weeks, but it was still severely disappointing. I would have my cast on for my thirteenth birthday. After another three weeks—just to be safe—we went back to try again. After another x-ray, he said the bone was healed, but even after I got the cast off, I should walk with crutches until I was comfortable without them.

       After getting my cast off, I couldn’t bend my knee, and my leg was half it’s normal size. It was three weeks before I was finally confident enough to walk without crutches for short distances. I would have been able to do it much sooner had I enforced a self-improvement routine on myself. It was quick progress after I started walking again. I began to work harder on improving my leg, with the goal of running again. I started to bend my knee, walk farther, and move around with ease, instead of hopping. It wasn’t until Christmas Day that I stopped using crutches, in Đà Nẵng, Việt Nam.

I had used them to get on the plane, and on Christmas Day in Vietnam, I decided I didn’t want to be hindered, especially not with the beach nearby. Since then, the crutches have sat in the corner of our apartment by the door, unused. I have began to run some, on the beach, and I go for walks every day on the beach, sometimes for a mile or more, easily. I’m entirely healed, and all that’s left is to get my muscles back to normal. It was a long road to get back to normal, and I hope I never do this again, but sometimes life throws something at you that you don’t expect.

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