A Letter From The Hospital
For Steven
Dear Dad and Mum,
Just a brief note to tell you how I am. I had a smashing time at Christmas. I was doing about 30 km/hr when I hit the pole and it didn't damage it at all as you can see from the photograph. And I didn't run into the shop either - which is probably just as well because it was closed and there wouldn't have been anyone to say sorry to. Anyway, I think I blew a tire and the car didn't take the turn and I ran up onto the nature strip. The car is a bit of a mess actually and as you always say, Dad, you've got to bend a bit when the pressure's on. Anyway, the car is at a panel beater's place now and the insurance guys will look at it next Monday.
I think I've lost one of my shoes because when the ambulance guys got me out they said I didn't need to worry about it at the moment and, Dad, can you look and see where my watch has gone because I had it on when I put my arm up to protect myself?
Anyway I'm in hospital at the moment and they say it's not too serious but I reckon they've got a fairly generous view. By the way, if you're ever going to have a head-on with a post, don't push on the steering wheel to break the impact. I did and they've got a stainless steel pin in my shoulder to hold the bone onto the ball-joint. It doesn't hurt that much but you can see the end where it sticks out and they'll take it out in about six weeks when the bones knit but it's hard to put a shoulder in plaster and besides, my wrist is already in plaster. Apparently the steering wheel broke the bones in my hand before the seat belt broke. You'll be glad to know I was wearing the seat belt - I reckon I'd have been really hurt if I hadn't so that was one good thing about the accident.
Another good thing is that I didn't hit the windscreen and smash off the crown on my front tooth that cost so much after I hit my face on the bottom of the swimming pool that time. But the radio came out of the dashboard and hit me on the jaw and that's got to be operated on to wire it together. I'll have to wear a steel brace on my teeth as well to immobilise the fracture. Actually the doctor seems to be a bit worried about the old jaw because as well as the splintered teeth, it seems to take a longer time for lower jaws to mend because they take the main pressure of the bite when you eat. Anyway, I'll have to go to the dentist after I get out of here and get the brace off but that'll be a while yet because I've broken my ankle too and it's in plaster. And as well as that I've got a broken leg just below the knee and they've had to put a steel plate in to hold the bone together and that's got to stay there for about twelve months but the operation hasn't left much of a mark really. Not as much as the bolts on the steering column did when they hit the knee anyway - that looks a bit gruesome but it'll heal. Anyway, my right leg isn't really hurt much apart from those two breaks.
The doctor says the main problem is my left thigh 'cos when the car hit the post, it hit it just on the left of centre and the post finished up where the passenger should have been - or almost anyway - so it's just as well I didn't have a passenger eh, or they could have really been hurt. But as I was saying. The engine got knocked back against the seat and my leg was in between and it didn't bend at all really. The doctor showed me an x-ray of the thigh bone and it looks a bit like someone dropped a hand-grenade on it and they've got it pulled out with weights and pulleys on the end of the bed until it settles down a bit. Then they're going to put a steel rod down the leg from the hip to the knee and wire the little bits onto it and leave it there for about two years. Incredible. And the bits of bone are supposed to join back together and become one bone again - the rod's about a centimeter thick or so - and then they just open up the leg near the hip and take the rod out and it's sort of like new again.
The nurses are really nice - most of them anyway - and the word's gone around that I had a bit of a smash-up so I'm starting to get plenty of visitors so, like I said at the start, there's not really that much wrong with me but the doctors still reckon I've got to stay in hospital until after Christmas but that's four weeks away and I can't see it taking that long to get fixed up, can you? And who wants to be in hospital for Christmas?
I must stop now 'cos the anaesthetist has just arrived and they're going to do the thigh operation with the rod. Have a happy Christmas and a good holiday, you deserve a rest - and don't worry about me, I'll be all right in no time.