It wasn’t until the third ride back from the hospital that I finally asked him what had happened. “Oh, I’m so sorry,” he said in a voice I knew by now was of genuine remorse, “I put something in . . .” He motioned to the glove compartment in front of my passenger seat, not knowing the word in English, which I provided him. “And then I don’t see and go left.”
And that was where I came into this story, as I happened to be in that small 2-meter stretch of road where he swerved left. Headphones in my ears and walking back my normal route after work, we both were on a small street that could barely be considered 2 lanes.
Next I knew, I was on the ground. Except I didn’t know it. My head hit. Somehow both sides of my hand were shredded. And my iPod was still playing, though the white ear buds would later be covered in a good amount of red.
I stood. I think. There isn’t much I remember from then on. But I still thought I was okay to go home.
Thankfully he had stopped. I don’t know what he said to me, but I told him to take me home, only 2 minutes away. The second I tried to step out of his car though, I fell back in, unable to stand without becoming overwhelmingly ill. Breathing heavily in some attempt to settle my stomach, I told him I needed to go to the hospital.
Somehow, somewhere along the way, I had the mind to phone Bobby, a good friend who lived nearby and the person I had known the longest in Bangkok. It’s not often I actually like to ask for someone’s help, but I clearly recall those opening words on the phone, “I need your help.”
I arrived at the Chao Phaya Hospital and walked myself into a wheelchair. From there, I followed the current of he wheeled apparatuses until I ended up in whatever room I ended up in. All the while, Ake, the man who had hit me was there talking in Thai to the medical staff.
Bobby wasn’t long behind. Along with him was his Thai girlfriend Aum. The two of them proved more helpful than I could have asked for in dealing with the very limited grasp I had on everything that was going on. Aum would talk to Ake and the doctors. Bobby would talk to Aum. And then Bobby would tell me what was happening.
Their immediate concern was cleaning and bandaging the wounds. This involved a lot more blood removal than I was aware of, having no idea how I looked. A good portion of my big toenail was snipped away, as it had bent over on itself. In the end, 2 fingers and the majority of my left hand, my right wrist, my left eye, and a good portion of my left leg were in bandages.
The night ended with Aum driving me home and she and Bobby bringing me about 3 days worth of food to keep in my fridge so I wouldn’t have to leave my apartment. Added to that, I also dealt with the self-diagnosed fear of trying to fall asleep overnight after a severe concussion.
I made it through the night relatively unscathed after having told both my bosses, and more frighteningly my mother in the U.S., that I had been hit by a car. Still I wasn’t going anywhere the next day. Except at the insistence of Ake.
The next afternoon, I was again in his car on the way to the Chao Phaya hospital. This time, much more mentally aware than the night before, it became clearer how it might have happened, as he seemed very easily distracted on the road.
Once again, Bobby showed up after returning to the area from work. He then proceeded to stand around the hospital talking to me and keeping me company for nearly 2 hours as my bandages were changed and I insisted on x-rays of my feet and lower back.
Afterward, Bobby declined a ride home from Ake, walking to the nearby mall instead. The doctor gave me a note saying I should stay out of work for at least a week, though I opted to go back after what amounted to a 5 day weekend.
This routine continued for a little over a week, minus Bobby after the second day. Ake would pick me up, occasionally accompanied by his fiancé. He was quite eager to speak in English and relate stories about work, as he was an IT professor at a Bangkok university.
He would also call very frequently to check how I was doing and insisted on paying for everything. It became obvious very quickly that he was doing anything he could to try and make the situation right. And as Bobby pointed out, in the grand scheme of things, if I had to get hit by somebody, it could have been a lot worse and I probably couldn’t have asked for a nicer person.