Today was the day I almost died. Or so I thought.
2 years ago (2008), on this day, I was riding a Padyak bike that I borrowed from PJ, a friend from the dormitory. Another friend suggested I bike down on Juan Luna Street. People called it the “heartbreak” for reasons I had definitely understood. It was a great experience I wanted to remember, riding down the “heartbreak” was something I wanted to look back into the future.
So I used my phone to take a video of me starting at the top and the ride down. (I know slightly bad idea)
Half a hand holding the phone, fingers holding the handle, the other hand in full control of the other handle (that’s what I thought).
An elder man had a different goal that day; to jog up the heartbreak. He succeeded (unlike me), if I could remember.
I was going really fast, and seeing that man, I swerved a few centimeters to the right, and then that was when disaster started. I lost control of the bike, felt my phone sliding away and the ground getting closer.
Then this was the sorta scary part: I don’t remember what happened immediately after. I did not see, or remember seeing, my life flash back at me. I did not see anything, I did not feel anything. I probably passed out.
Finally I feel some throbbing in my head. My hands were trembling and panic started to sink in. I smell blood and I hear voices. I open my eyes slowly thinking I would be in a hospital. But no, I felt the hard and rough asphalt under me. I sit up and find my phone, disassembled, the battery was 2 feet away from the body, the back cover was at least 2 meters away. Right away I looked for the video (yes, it sounds stupid, but I did it). I remember cursing because I couldn’t find it. (Wow, all that trouble and the video wasn’t saved, how charming)
Strangers were asking me who I was. A buzz was going inside my brain, as if I just had a reboot. I feel face for wounds, and my heart sank when I felt a bump between my left temple and my eye, and another just above my left cheek. Blood and dirt covered my legs, arms, face, shirt, and shorts. I asked for someone to give me a mirror, like a kid having tantrums asking for candy, I kept on shouting for a mirror. Then when it was handed to me, my heart sank again, this time right up to my stomach. The left part of my face was swollen, my left eye could not be opened fully. Sand, gravel, and blood. What a mess I was. Again, I had a tantrum session, I asked for ice to relieve the swelling. I remember Ate Fe (the Molave guard) taking my arm and leading me into a car, bringing me to the University Health Service.
In my state, any ER would immediately put me in a wheelchair, clean my wounds, and cover them up. But the UHS is different. They made me fill up forms I could barely read from the concussion, and my blood kept dropping on the paper too, my hands were trembling so I barely could write, and they just looked at me (with a curious slash disgusted face).
After ten years of filling out the form, I (not they) washed my wounds, then they finally treated me. Covered me up and gave me some ibuprofen.
The first person I texted was Steffi (my Kalai roommate) and not my mum (yes I was pretty sure she’d be angry). Stef came to the ER and stayed with me til I was at the right mind to walk straight.
So there, I almost died, or maybe I died for a few minutes but neither heaven nor hell were ready for me.
Second chances are rare. Especially a second chance to live. I learned it the hard and painful way.