Hitting the ground
It is March of 2008 and I am working the late night shift as a pizza delivery guy while finishing my studies in sports science and physical education at the Aristotelian University in Thessaloniki (Greece). I’m driving in a dark alley when suddenly big bright lights unexpectedly blind my eyes. I crash with a big automobile and I start floating into thin air…
Movies tell you that in moments like these, time goes into slow motion and you see a reel of memories playing a short version of your life. Although I didn’t see a short trailer of my life, time indeed felt to be flowing a lot slower. What was probably a 3-4 second flight felt more like 15 seconds. I experienced a weird, but pleasant, state of weightlessness. It felt as if I was going to keep ascending into the vastness of the dark sky.
Then suddenly, I hit the pavement, twenty-three meters away from the crashing point (as they inform me later on). I still haven’t fully understood what happened. I try to get up and I look at my leg. Something is wrong. The lower part of my leg is twisted and my ankle… wait a moment that can’t be right. I close and re-open my eyes to confirm what I had just seen. My leg is twisted in such a way that my ankle is lying on top of my knee. This is not a good sign, I think to myself.
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The weird thing is that I feel no pain yet, which made me wonder if my eyes fooled me for a second. Fortunately, the human brain releases hormones that relieve pain in situations like these. Unfortunately, this doesn’t last as long as you would want it to. Suddenly I sense a weird electrifying feeling. It is as if burning electricity is starting to flow through my leg. The endorphins that were relieving my pain start to fade away and the affected nerves start to wake up.
As I lay on my back, pain and fear start to overwhelm me. I hear people around me shouting to call an ambulance. With the side of my eye I can see a puddle of blood next to my leg on the pavement. I can’t see much more than that because I am wearing long blue-jeans. I lay there and look at the dark sky while I feel people gather around me. The pain is growing stronger and stronger so I can’t pay too much attention them. I just close my eyes and hope that the ambulance will come as soon as possible to take me to the hospital (and hopefully numb the pain). At one moment I feel a presence next to me, I hear a male voice talking to me, trying to comfort me. I don’t remember what he said but he gave me his hand and told me to squeeze it. I did and it helped a little bit with the pain.
After about twenty minutes, which felt more like hours, the ambulance finally arrives. They start placing me on the stretcher and the moment they lift my leg I start screaming. They pain is excruciating. We are now heading to the hospital and I’m in the back of the ambulance with a paramedic. He asks me if I have a phone on me and someone I should notify. I say yes and I reach into my pouch (you know the one pizza delivery guys wear). As I’m reaching for my phone I notice that the floor is covered with my blood. I have never seen so much blood in my life before so I start stressing out again. I asked the paramedic why is there so much blood? I haven’t realized yet, that both bones of my lower leg, the tibia (the thick one) and the fibula (the thin one) are sticking out of my skin. So I asked the paramedic what is wrong with me, why is there so much blood?! I don’t know why, but he doesn’t respond. I asked again. Hey man! Why is there so much blood, am I dying or something? He doesn’t answer again… Well, that can’t be a good sign I think to myself.
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