Tuesday, November 14, 2006

how the mighty have fallen

**NOTE - I've now been given permission to name my friend by my friend. His name is Ross, and he is recovering nicely. Thanks for all the emails and phone calls I got from the expert worriers.**

Mr. Ben and I intended to have a fancy dinner at Babbo to celebrate our (re?)engagement. Instead we ended up feasting on reheated veggie burgers & fries in the Bellevue Hospital Center Cafeteria because a friend of ours (and Ben's best man) Ross, visiting from Philly, got hit by a car.

We had all been standing at the corner of 12th and Broadway at about 6:00 PM, in front of the Strand bookstore. Ben and I crossed the street to escape the rain; Ross waited for the light to change and then attempted to join us. Two steps into the intersection, a speeding car caught him, carried him forward and onto the sidewalk, dropping him there before careening into a store and down the sidewalk, finally coming to a stop at the end of the block.

It was the most horrific NYC street scene I've been a part of. Ben and I had turned away, so luckily we didn't see the collision; but we heard the panicking and the screaming, and when we turned back, Ross was gone. "Where is he?" I asked Ben. "Where is he?" I called his cell phone and Ross picked up, sounding dazed and incoherent, and then we saw him, a heap on the sidewalk, about thirty feet from where he'd started.

He was lucky. The guy the car hit next was bleeding from the head, immobile, covered with glass. The sidewalk seemed littered with people who I couldn't focus on because I was holding onto Ross. "Ow," he said from time to time, and, "I can't see very well. It's getting dark. I can see lights. The lights are cool."

When the ambulance came, Mr. Ben and I rode with him strapped down to a stretcher alongside a very reassuring EMT. The EMT even told our friend how to avoid getting his much loved sweater from getting cut off.

We landed at Bellevue Hospital Center and there we stayed for about seven hours as our poor friend was poked, prodded, bandaged, x-rayed, x-rayed again, casted, slung, and told repeatedly how lucky he was. Lucky indeed: aside from the two fractures (elbow, ankle) and lots of scrapes and bruises, he was okay. But the night wore on and the ER doctors showed no signs of running out tests to perform on him, and the poor guy showed no signs of being able to hobble all the way to Brooklyn. Finally Mr. Ben and I tagged out at 1:15 AM, when another friend came to relieve us.

The experience was exhausting, in part because we spent most of our time hovering by Ross's makeshift bedside in the ER where there were no chairs. Once the nice orthopedic doctors let us follow our friend to the x-ray room, where we sat on the hallway floor marvelling at the various pieces of bad art someone had hung to try to dispell the hospital gloom. Then a nurse sternly instructed us to get up, wash our hands, and burn (all right, wash) our clothes. God knows what contamination lingers on hospital floors.

We did manage to chase down a balloon for our friend that read "Aliviate, pronto!" And I think we managed to make him more comfortable. And at least, thank god, he's okay.


nate said...

Dude. Holy shit.

Anonymous said...

"Ow ... I can see lights. The lights are cool."
That certainly does sound like Ross. Poor guy.

Ross said...

i think that's my favorite part too

Anonymous said...

Thank you Esther and Ben for taking such good care of my boy. Betsy