Worse than Death
When I was young, I’ll freely admit that I did some stupid things. When I first got married, I bought a Harley Davidson. It was a 79 Sportster. When I graduated, I got a job working night shift in the ER, at a level one trauma center. I would get these young guys all mashed up from a high speed motorcycle crash. I’d think, man, multiple splintered bones, that’s gotta be the pits. I was soon hit with the real life results of stupid + motorcycle = bad day.
Then I started working in the Neuro-Trauma ICU and found that a lot of these patients ended up paralyzed or comatose and on a ventilator.
So, okay, I had to revise my things-worse-than-dead scale. If you are a young healthy guy just starting out in life, and don’t die, but end up in a vegetative state… meaning you cannot hold your own body fluids, that would have to be the worst.
I bumped along satisfied with my “bad things scale”. Then I moved to Montana and took a job at the “Libby Care Center,” a long term care facility. Just a little note for the record, motorcyclists are not required to wear helmets in that state… nor do they have a maximum speed limit. So back to the classic formula (with a few added variables), alcohol + motorcycle use = very bad day.
Working in the great state of Montana, where they don’t really have any EMS services to brag about, I had to revise my “scale ‘o’ bad things” yet once again.
So really… no busted up femurs, no paralysis, no vegetative state, but what we DO have is a return to a 3-4 year old level. Now this is pretty bad.
Can you imagine? You’re running along in life, minding your business, have a pack of great kids, beautiful wife, then, Crash!… Now you’re a permanent three year old. Now really think hard, no not about your own selfish need to get potty trained again. Think what it would be like if you’re the spouse in this happy little family. Suddenly, your once loving husband, (the bread winner of the family) has the mind of a three year old. Yikes! I can not imagine how bad this could possibly be. I feel so bad for these families. This horror, (to be the wife) with kids, bills, and a severely mentally delayed husband, is for sure the worst there is.
I don’t like to sound crass and unfeeling, but a career in trauma nursing tends to makes you a realist. I’ve seen more horrible death and dismemberment than most people have eaten big Mac’s. My scale ‘o’bad things, is once again revised. Married to a dead guy, you’re a widow. Okay, that’s pretty bad. But, on a brighter note, you get some life insurance cash and are free to pursue another husband. Married to a vegetable… goobering away in an ICU somewhere, eventually you may pull the plug. You may even give his organs to donation and feel like you’ve turned some of your husbands stupid bad luck into something really good for another family. I used to think this was the worst. Married to a permanent three year old? How can he be a dad, a husband, a bread winner for the family, anything but a horrible burden? How could any sane woman stay committed? This had gotta be the worst.
I will never ride again… and as long as I have any influence, my kids will never own a motorcycle.