In late summer of 2001, a car hit me while I was biking my usual route to work. For a short while I thought I was dead. Events from my whole life were streaming on many parallel channels in my head. An excruciating pain in my left leg returned me to life. I realized I was lying halfway under a car with the bike next to me. I heard the car engine running.
“Stop the car”, I shouted in Danish.
The engine sound stopped. The next thing I remember was an elderly woman shouting at me.
“You must not bike here. I have been driving here for 30 years and there has never been a biker”.
People came to see and help. Someone dragged the shouting woman away. Someone called the emergency center for an ambulance and to alert the police. Someone asked how he could help me.
Realizing I was in the middle of the road and all the morning traffic had stopped because of me, I asked the person offering to help to move the bike to the roadside to allow the traffic to flow. The pain in my leg was diminishing. Endorphins had probably kicked in. I should call my work and tell them I will be delayed, I thought, but I couldn’t move.
The ambulance came and took me to the nearest hospital. I was asked all kinds of questions and my leg was X-rayed. Before being put to sleep and operated on the leg I had time to call my husband and the office.
In the evening I woke up with my left leg exploding from pain. I was lying in a room with five elderly ladies. One of them was rambling something incomprehensible. I rang for help and I was given an injection in my butt. It felt immediate relief. I was half awake when my children and husband came to see me.
“You cannot stay here. You can get some horrible hospital infection here. I will take you home”, my husband said.
“No way”, I responded. “I want to stay here, they give me injections that remove the pain immediately”, I answered.
After arguing back and forth, we agreed I would stay overnight at the hospital and my husband would talk to the doctor the next day. He would inquire whether I could be released from the hospital. My husband was going to take the responsibility to give me pain medication at home.
A few days later, I was alone at home lying on my bed in our big living room. The others were at school or at work. My husband had moved the television to the opposite side of the room. It was on all the time, muted, and the remote control had fallen somewhere out of my reach. It didn’t matter; my concentration was close to zero. I had taken a morphine pill just before my husband left for work and he left me only one, because the prescription said “one every four hours”.
Now I had only one hour left and the pain was returning. It started near the knee, then came closer and closer before it settled in the joint, muscles and bones. I was staring at the clock and sometimes glimpsing at the television screen. Some horror movie was showing. First an airplane hit a high building, there were flames, people were jumping out of the windows, and then another airplane hit a high building, more flames, more jumping people. It was not my kind of film, but I could not turn to change the channel.
Some time after taking the next pill I fell asleep. When I woke up the same film was still running. I dosed off and woke again as the same scenes were repeating themselves onscreen. At that point I concluded there was something wrong with the television as the same film was running in a loop.
Around 3 pm I heard my son in the entrance. He had brought a classmate home. They both came rushing to the living room.
“Mom, have you heard what has happened in New York?” my son asked agitated. Two airplanes have hit the walls of the Trade Center”.
Often reality is worse than any horror movies!