I got knocked off my bicycle last week. Ambulance, hospital, general anaesthetic … the whole nine yards. No nerve damage and brain seems to be functioning okay, but my hopes of becoming a male supermodel have been dashed.
I was cycling down Holland Park Avenue in West London at 12:30 a.m. when a driver pulled out of a side street without looking. The first thing that struck me -- apart from the car, that is -- was how hard I’d been hit. I thought, “That’s odd. He didn't seem to be going that fast.”
I staggered towards the kerb, struggling to retain consciousness, blood dripping from my head. Various good Samaritans peered at me and asked if I was okay. I tried to gauge how serious the injury was by their reaction — and was disturbed by how concerned they seemed.
Someone called an ambulance.
I thought the driver had fled the scene, but he hadn’t. He parked across the street and asked me if I was okay. “Sorry, mate, I just didn’t see you,” he said. He jotted down his details, but I was too dazed and confused to write down his license plate.
I was initially taken to a Hospital in Hammersmith where I was seen by an ER doctor. “Can it be glued back together or will I have to have stitches?” I asked. By way of an answer, she led me to a nearby mirror so I could see how bad the injury was. I was shocked: it looked as if
a small alien had burst out of my forehead. Clearly, gluing it back together was not an option.
I ended up at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital so I couldn’t have been in better hands. The Paediatric Department successfully treated my newborn son for Chicken Pox four years ago and I raised some money for them last year by entering the London Duathlon. Coincidentally, I
completed it on the very same bicycle I had just been knocked off.
I was in theatre by 11a.m., having my wound stitched up by a top plastic surgeon. Just before I went under I told her I didn’t mind having a scar, but could she make it a “Harry Potter-style ‘Z’?” She laughed and said she’d see what she could do. I was home, clutching a bag of
antibiotics, by 8 p.m. How’s that for service? Chelsea & Westminster really is top notch.
There’s a simple moral to this story: If you’re going to cycle in a city, wear a helmet. The car that hit me can’t have been going more than 5mph, but I ended up spending 17 hours in the hospital. If I’d been wearing a helmet I probably could have cycled home. It wasn’t my fault -- it really wasn’t my fault -- but I still feel like an idiot. I called the number given to me by the guy who knocked me off and, needless to say, it’s false.