Matt vs Automobile 2020

Honestly 2020 can do one. After months of feeling lousy post-COVID and a recent bout of norovirus which was the most physically ill I can ever remember feeling I was finally starting to feel pretty good. I’d had more than a week feeling pretty healthy (for me) and had time off lined up to finally move into my studio office, visit a few friends and generally just relax and recharge for a couple of weeks before a busy run-in to Christmas.

Then 48 hours ago as I write this I got hit by a car at a pedestrian crossing – two minutes from my flat. 

It was a strange one. The car that hit me had actually stopped at the crossing – albeit a bit abruptly – and I didn’t step into the road until it was fully immobile and I’d gotten the nod/eye contact from the driver. If you tried to cross a road anywhere in Bristol you’ll know drivers can’t be trusted to stop so you need to be careful. Unfortunately just as I stepped in front of the car it was shunted – hard – from behind by a car that didn’t stop (and seemed to be moving pretty fast) and the stopped car was no longer stopped. In fact it shot off like a rocket between the knock and I’m guessing the driver losing control of the pedals.

I was clipped pretty full-on, did a T.J. Hooker bonnet slide and then kind of flew/bounced into the iron railings next to the crossing.

It hurt. A lot. I went into shock pretty sharpish. The woman who hit me even more so (which led to some complications as she phoned 999 but was a bit incoherent and not local so she sent them to the wrong place initially.) Lots of people stopped to help and the staff of the Salvation Army charity shop next door got me a blanket and a pillow while we waited for the paramedics. I’m very grateful for the care.

I tried my best to reassure the two ladies involved in the accident as to be honest they both seemed more shaken than me. I immediately thought I had broken my ankle but once the paramedics arrived and removed my shoe it was obviously my foot that was damaged.

The paramedics were lovely – both from South Wales – and the air/gas was gratefully received. Though they did drop part of the lift on my foot as I departed the ambulance. There was some cussing at that point.

A policeman came along at some point but to be honest I was pretty dismissive – given how much pain I was in I wasn’t interested in chatting about insurance details and claims. Fact is I doubt I’d ever be.

I was at Southmead Hospital A&E by about 11am (the accident was 09.40). Being at Southmead is always weird. I was born at the hospital. Grew up less than a mile away and have been there a lot over the years! It is an all-new Super Hospital now but it still has a nostalgic feel.

I was x-rayed quickly and called through to be assessed quickly after that. There were a couple of painful attempts to pop back in my dislocated toes (ouch – more gas) and then I was sent for an MRI because the x-ray wasn’t clear.

All of this was really quick – but getting the final results was slow going. In the end I was told I had a ‘complex Lisfranc fracture’ and would need an operation – but could go home and they’d let me know when the next day (they didn’t!).

So I wobbled off on my crutches (with a pack of codeine) and my folks (who still live right by the hospital) popped down and drove me home. Being on the crutches and moving around identified that I’d hurt my knee more than I realised – my meniscus seems to be damaged – but a combination of ibuprofen and ice seems to have helped with that.

The pain was pretty horrific for the first 24 hours and sleep was pretty impossible but now it just aches until I move and even then it is just wince inducing rather than tears inducing and I slept okay last night.

Honestly it really did kick the stuffing out of me. I was very down Friday evening and had a little sob. The combination of the pain and the realisation that any uptick in 2020 was probably a goner now left me floored. Between 6 and 12 weeks in a medical boot on crutches does not bode well for my mobility. Especially as I am not good on crutches!

For the most part that has passed for now. Everybody has been so lovely on social media. My parents have been brilliant (the challenge will be keeping my mum away), my uncle popped his head in to say hi – and as the pain has eased so has my mood.

I can still work. I can still draw/paint. I can still cook and read (comics) and watch Netflix and blog and listen to music…and – well – do everything I’ve been doing since March. 

Sure some things are awkward and some things are painful and it is a bit cold to be wearing shorts all the time now(!) but given how hard I was hit and how awkwardly I landed I’m a lucky lad. 

So thanks everybody for the kind words and thoughts – hopefully I’ll get the operation soon and be on the road back to my usual only semi grumpy self soon.