Wednesday 3 September 2014

Angel on his shoulder

Mrs. Bastard likes to say that everything happens for a reason.  Good or bad, she seems to think everything is part of a master plan.  According to her apparently the universe's plan includes our shower breaking for the 295th time, my burrito exploding in the microwave (again), and me getting stuck in traffic so long that I feel like the road and I are becoming close friends.  I don't always agree with her beliefs, especially when she tells me that she believes asparagus is good for me.  Regardless I don't really believe in fate or destiny, and to me everything feels more like random chance.

But sometimes the universe smacks me in the face and reminds me to listen to my wife.  VERY CAREFULLY.

'The witching hour' in popular culture usually refers to midnight, but it can also mean any arbitrary time that something bad happens (or so Wikipedia tells me, and the internet has never lied to me before).  For me, the witching hour for trauma is right around 5 AM, because by the time I'm done working up the patient, it's too early to do anything else but too late to go back to sleep.  So when my pager woke me at 5:06 AM, I groaned, grumbled, said a few colourful curse words, and went down to see what was going on.  When George (not his real name) was wheeled in a few minutes later, I groaned even more.  He didn't look injured at all, and the medics admitted that they could barely find any outward signs of trauma.

"This is George (not his real name).  He was the rear-seat passenger in a rollover motor vehicle crash.  Looks like they hit a tree and flipped.  Pretty severe damage to the car.  George says he never lost consciousness and has a bit of a headache and some pain in his neck."

My first thoughts whenever I get a rear-seat passenger are 1) Where's the driver? and 2) Where's the front-seat passenger?  Are they injured?  Uninjured?  Taken to a different hospital?

A detailed examination showed that George only had minor abrasions on his forehead and knee, and CT scans confirmed no serious injuries.  Once the dust settled I had a chance to chat with George and get a bit more information.  It turns out he was texting with his head down when the accident occurred.  When the car flipped, the roof caved in, entrapping his head between the roof and his seat's head rest in that awkward downward position.  Even the severe impact of the accident wasn't enough to jar his mobile phone loose from his hand, however (I'm convinced some young people glue their mobiles to their hands), so he was able to call emergency services.  As you may have already surmised by his good outcome, he was wearing his seatbelt.

His two friends in the front seats were not.

As I was preparing the discharge paperwork, a police officer approached me to ask if I had heard The News.  I didn't know what "The News" was, but in my line of work "The News" is never good.  But I had a feeling that I was at least about to get an explanation about the driver and the other passenger.

George's two friends were both dead.

I still find it astounding that in a crash where two people in the car die, a third passenger can literally walk away with barely a scratch.  It speaks volumes to the safety features that modern cars have and how well they work when used properly.  I don't know if George believes in fate or destiny, but whatever the case may be he certainly seemed to have an angel on his shoulder that morning.

I'm seriously considering starting to listen to my wife more often.


  1. well, good for George. not so much for his friends.
    much as I agree that drifting off topic is not good - we had a bad one last weekend that I feel deserves another PSA.
    a family was having a good time digging a big hole in the sand on our beach - when their 9 year old daughter sat or knelt or otherwise got her head below the lip of the hole. unfortunately, the hole chose that moment to cave in, and buried her. - now, some people know that sand is a very unstable structure. these folks didn't, and found out the hard way. so here is your PSA: holes in the sand will cave in. if a person is below the lip of the hole, they will get buried. The odds are extremely good that the outcome will be extremely bad.
    Wear your seatbelts
    If you are going to ride a motorcycle, wear your protective gear.
    stop smoking
    don't expect crosswalks to magically keep you safe
    and stay out of deep holes in the beach.
    don't make your guardian angel compensate for your lack of due care.
    (see how I brought that back around?)

    1. oh, and man can survive indefinitely without asparagus.

    2. The beaches of nearby Santa Cruz are good for one "sand tunnel" fatality each summer. It's as predictable as newly-gratuated high school students going out drinking and driving en masse.

      The message fails to resonate or penetrate the consciousness of those who believe "it will not happen to me."

      I love your list, Ken Brown.

    3. Thanks - and if we can just educate one person who doesn't know - that will help.

    4. I didn't know that, so I guess your work here is done :)

  2. I'm sure the psychological injuries to George will far outweigh the lack of physical ones.

  3. Grilled Asparagus with lemon and olive oil in a foil packet, next to a perfectly cooked lean piece of chicken or ham. BAM! as Emeril says. Nasty pee and all, I'd eat a plateful of the green or white kind before digging into a plate of sweet or sugar peas.

    George's guardian angel was on his shoulder and he was blessed. Why people live and others don't is a question for the ages.

    1. Things happen for a reason. the reason George survived and his friends didn't is because George chose to wear a seat belt.

  4. Completely unrelated Doc, but how are the little ones doing these days? :)

  5. What the fuck is this?! Doc! I think they're on to you! RUN!

    1. I'm fairly sure the Doc doesn't own an entire blogspot server.

    2. I don't know who w3snoop are but it might not be the best plan to follow that link!

      The link above is nothing to do with blogspot. It's a page on the "" domain. Be pretty sure your PC has all it's shots up to date before you go wandering around there.


      PS - I shall, just this once, forgo my usual lecture on why it's an insult to engineering not to wear your seatbelt - just trust what the Doc' says and buckle up!

    3. The site isn't a part of blog spot, but it's a domain tracer/lookup. All it can tell you is the up and location of the server itself, not where the good Doctor may be.

      Have no fear Doc, unless you live onsite with the blog spot servers we still don't know what planet you live on

    4. Any "blogspot" site site lookup there will you yield Mountain View, California as the location, it appears. I'm not worried that anyone is on to me. Yet.

    5. You can't find DocBastard using IP tracing with the current information provided because everything he's told us about is through a website not owned by him. This means all traces for his email and blog address will go to google servers in Mountainview, CA, and his twitter will go to twitter servers in San Francisco. The only way I think it would be possible to find him is to find a location in which all of these events have happened within a 2-hour drive of each other in the last 20 or so years, which would be impossibly difficult because a normal person does not have access to that information, and even if they somehow did, there is not a program that can narrow the information down in such a way. DocBastard is safe, guys.

    6. By website owned by DocBastard I meant hosted by him, and 2-hours was just a rough estimate.
      I can't review my post on my phone easily, and one time when I tried to I accidentally deleted the post.

  6. I must say that I detest when people comment after an accident that they were protected by angels. What does that say to the families of those injured or killed? That God cares more for you than them? Seatbelts and airbags are lifesaving..though in Sam's case, he was found hanging upsidedown in his, and suffered hypoxic brain damage along with the tbi and meningitis. His heart stopped twice in the copter, accounting for additional damage. Seatbelts. Can't say it enough....


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