There is nothing like a Blogger with a lot of free time, it can happen for a few minutes because there is always a lot of thoughts rushing through the head. I happen to have a lot of free time and guess what, I'm going to blog it away. You might be wondering why I have so much free time when there is so much to do, well I was involved in an accident, a bus accident. So I might as well start blogging about that experience.
Day One: That Drizzly Morning Ride
I took my bus at the right time about 0635 in the morning, it was a chilly and damp Friday, so I had my nice and fluffy jacket for warmth, a pair of blue jeans and those shoes that look like All Stars but cheaper ones. I never convinced myself to buy All Stars for R650, no that's a ripoff, for that amount I would rather have Adidas Superstar 2 but it's hard to find the scarlet and white I so love. So I settled for these cheap knockoffs meanwhile. The bus driver was that quiet and careful gentleman, never in a hurry and always on time. I cringe reading people judge him as reckless on news websites, they label him a careless and speeding driver, how wrong they are. I went onto the bus, exchanged greetings with him and put my bus tag for a ticket and proceeded to sit in a comfy seat towards the back, the one behind the wheel with leg room of a first class flight on an A380 plane. It's exam season so I took out my Unisa textbook and started to read. As the bus was about to leave the driver asked one lady standing outside if she was not going. She told him I'm waiting for Mr. M's bus which is coming to park just behind you. This lady I call her Madame Speaker Sir, she is a happy and chatty soul, Mr. M is the driver of bus number 85 and also member of parliament, along with other 3 youthful guys, they bring the bus alive on those trips especially back home after a hard day's work. So she hurried to Mr. M's bus and we pulled off.
A few minutes into the journey we hit Jan Smuts Avenue & some 7 or 8 passengers waved him to stop but he proceeded perhaps he wanted to leave some passengers for Mr. M who was closely behind. These passengers felt hard done, as I looked over my shoulder I saw them waving hands and cussing. They didn't understand another bus was following. So the journey went smoothly. This is one driver who could afford me to read knowing he will travel safely so I don't have to raise my head every now and then to see or react to sudden breaking. That is how much I trusted him behind the wheel. But as you all know, bad things happen to good people too.
It was about 0705 when he approached the sharp curve before Zoo Lake, motor vehicles are amazing creatures, they will give you expected performance under certain conditions for years without showing signs of wear and tear. This driver had done this trip and road many times so he knew what to do but he must have not known that his vehicle was giving in to old age. He hit brakes to negotiate the sharp curve and on a wet surface it simply glided out of the road. In a flash he hit the guard rails, steered back onto the road & the bus wouldn't just obey instructions, the usually reliable bus couldn't take anymore, by the time it was on the road it was facing oncoming traffic in the wrong lane. At that moment my spirit left my body, what was to follow I saw nothing. He struck another Metrobus head on, it was a crashing stop.
When my spirit had occasion to enter my body again, I was lying in the aisle of the bus, further to the front from where I was sitting at the back, it was a chilly morning but the air filled with eerie voices, a mixture of male and female voices crying. I was on my left side so could not see much outside, a boy was not far from me screaming in pain, his name was Tapiwa and with his sister Samantha who was not hurt much but visibly shocked. I looked forward and saw the bus driver trapped, half his body hidden behind metal and glass. I thought he was dead, called out to him and nodded his head. It was then I tried to move my right leg, got some of the worst pain I ever had. As a kid I broke my right hand but I don't remember the pain matching this. A Parktown Boys High student was the lone figure in the bus who was doing what he can, came and felt my leg and said looks like it's broken so hold it still. I asked him if he was a Christian, he said yes & mentioned some church, I said look at the driver he needs our prayers, we held hands and did a prayer for him and all passengers. I called out to Tapiwa in Shona, he was still screaming, he mustered a "mhaaa" which is how someone responds when called, told him in Shona not to worry as everything will be fine, his sister Samantha simply said "oh, munotaura Shona" (oh, you speak Shona). It's soothing having a homie in a worst moment far from home, it made Tapiwa calm, I figured he had broken his ankle.
Before long the air was filled with sirens, it was chaos outside which I could only visualise. I had lost sense of time, the pain on my leg was unbearable so when it got hectic I must have slept off. I gave the Parktown student my wife's phone number to contact her. Later the paramedics broke a window at the back to use as an outlet, I was turned over to face up on a stretcher, the pain went overboard in an instant I was sweating profusely from it. The paramedics apologised but it was no solace, they had to do it that way or else I'd be stuck in the bus. I was given morphine for pain, it must have knocked me out, I was conscious feeling drunk. Onto the ambulance I went and they said close hospitals were full because of the accident so I had to go to Morningside Mediclinic. A small bump in the road always raised the pain stakes, all I could do was grit my teeth and ride it out.
In no time I was at the hospital Casualty ward, the attention was swift, paramedics explained the injury. Nurses and doctors soon converged on me, they diligently looked for veins to poke a needle for the drip and more pain medication. I was told my pair of jeans would not be taken off the normal way as the leg had to be immobilised, along came a scissors and they cut it off me. My head was in between the fluffy red stuff to keep it stable while the body was strapped to the stretcher. In no time I was freed up, filled some forms, asked several questions in that state of drunken stupor. The Doctor came and ordered a full body X-Ray, I was three quarters naked by then, wheeled away between passage ways and elevators. The X-Ray room was dark, they would come and position me then run out, some bleeps went on they return again, it went on for about 12 times before I was done and back to the Casualty ward. I realised this was first class response, state of the art equipment. I was thankful for this, my mind shifted to countries like Zimbabwe, Malawi, DRC and wondered if the system was anywhere near to this. I felt a disdain for Robert Mugabe and his rule by plunder. Health care is a right but in Zimbabwe it turned into a luxury few can afford, revolutionary thoughts went in my head for a while, I asked God if this is too much to ask? Mugabe travels 8,000 miles to get medical help, his citizens simply endure the rot and by God's miracle some survive, many simply go to hospital to die.
So the Doctor told me I had fractured my tibia and fibula bones in a communited way, in lay man's terms, my bones had been crushed by some force, must have hit a metal as I flew around the swerving bus. I was told I will go for surgery by 6pm that day. I then regained my sense of time by asking a nurse, it was around 2pm, some 7 hours after the incident yet it seemed like it was early morning, I would have put time at 9am. I asked for a phone and they gave, dialed my wife's number, by then they were frantically looking for me at many hospitals only to be told we have no such patient. They quickly rushed and saw me, it's a nightmare to not know where someone is after an accident, I figure the mind can think morgue and stress hits a high, but God is good, I was alive! Before time anticipated I was taken to the theatre for surgery, before I could figure out much the anaesthetic knocked me out. I had never experienced this phenomenon, the world turned black like my life switch was turned off. No wonder I had to sign an agreement stating many things can happen, I might not wake up. But I had no option but to sign for it. I am sure there is a place between life and death, just a blank space. This is where anaesthetic takes you to. Everything happened while I was there. When I woke up it was like I was sleeping for a few seconds so I was shocked to hear the doctor say we have finished the operation. My leg was now covered in bandages from toe to behind the thigh and on the back was some heavy plastic thing (cast). I was wheeled away to the ward where I found another older man who had knee issues, ice was around his leg to reduce swelling. I saw a few visitors before they went off, I had a remote to call nurses, change channels on a TV fixed to the ceiling, so I had Super Sport for company, again my revolutionary senses kicked in, what about Zimbabwe I wondered. I am now thoroughly convinced, Mugabe and his plundering crew must go as a matter of urgency. Our people deserve this treatment, access to healthcare. I had Dstv so I would not stare into the dark, I took my pain medication, leg still numb from anaesthetic and drifted off to sleep. This is how day one ended...