I was dragged under a bus by my hair

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It was January 2000, and I had just finished the final semester of my year abroad in Auckland, New Zealand. A girlfriend and I went shopping for gifts in the city centre to take back to our families in Malaysia. As the day came to a close, we said our farewells and I made my way home.

I have always been very conscious of road safety, often teased by my friends, who don’t like crossing the road with me because I take the pedestrian bridge or wait religiously for the green light. But, for some reason, on this day I did not take my usual precautions and quickly ran across the street without looking. At that moment, a minibus turned the corner. I was in the driver’s blind spot so he did not see me, nor I him. I remember touching the side of the bus with my right hand, unaware of what it was or what was happening.

Warm feelings and happy thoughts flooded into my mind. I began thinking about the trip I was due to take with my friends over the summer, across New Zealand. I was distinctly content, a vivid feeling that, to this day, reassures me that dying might not be as bad as we believe.

It was January 2000, and I had just finished the final semester of my year abroad in Auckland, New Zealand. A girlfriend and I went shopping for gifts in the city centre to take back to our families in Malaysia. As the day came to a close, we said our farewells and I made my way home.

I have always been very conscious of road safety, often teased by my friends, who don’t like crossing the road with me because I take the pedestrian bridge or wait religiously for the green light. But, for some reason, on this day I did not take my usual precautions and quickly ran across the street without looking. At that moment, a minibus turned the corner. I was in the driver’s blind spot so he did not see me, nor I him. I remember touching the side of the bus with my right hand, unaware of what it was or what was happening.

Warm feelings and happy thoughts flooded into my mind. I began thinking about the trip I was due to take with my friends over the summer, across New Zealand. I was distinctly content, a vivid feeling that, to this day, reassures me that dying might not be as bad as we believe.

It took 15 minutes to free me from the wheels. An entire fire brigade and an ambulance team had to manually lift the minibus off me. They also tried pumping more air into the tyres to elevate it. The paramedics cut my hair and lifted me on to a stretcher. Later, they told me that a tourist in the crowd had come to help, holding my hand and accompanying me to the ambulance. I don’t remember this. Strangely, I was oblivious to the pain the entire time, even to the point where I felt that paramedics were exaggerating the severity of the situation as they asked me lots of questions to check for brain injuries. When I arrived at the hospital, doctors told me my injuries were life-threatening. They also told me there was a strong chance I could be paralysed.

The morphine made it difficult to realise the severity of what had just happened. I was chatty and confused. I asked the nurses cutting my jeans to be careful as they were my only pair. By some miracle, I was not paralysed. I had a cracked left shoulder blade, broken ribs, and a fractured cheekbone. I needed three skin grafts, taking skin from my right thigh for my left temple, my feet, and my scalp – where I still have a bald patch above my left ear.

Although I insisted the accident was a result of my own lack of awareness, the driver never came to visit me as he felt too much remorse. Afterwards, the police in New Zealand started a Cross the Road Carefully campaign. Little green men were painted on the pavements to remind people to look properly before crossing.

It took me six months to recover. I was sad to miss out on the trip, but my friends were really supportive. They kept me sane by not pitying me. They often pretended nothing had happened to me, something I don’t think would have been the case if I had been at home with my extended family. Eventually, I was able to attend my graduation, crossing the stage on crutches; it didn’t matter, because I was just happy to be alive.

The accident changed my life; it made me think about the terrible things that could have happened. It regularly prompts me to step back and reassess my problems, to be grateful for the second chance I got at life.

source:https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jun/01/i-was-dragged-under-a-bus-by-my-hair

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