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Daniel Eran

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photo Pictures from the Road
When life gives you lemons, you gotta make lemonade. When life gives you a fat ugly lemon, a Palm Pilot, a camera phone and Internet access, you gotta take notes and pictures and publish them on the web. It's almost worth the pain to have a story.
It was last Friday at 6:10 PM that I was hit by a tow truck on four lane Mission Street, headed westbound between 7 and 8th Streets. That's the west end of San Francisco's South of Market area, a block south of the Beaux Arts Civic Center and the anti-war demonstrations and homeless encampments of UN Plaza.

When I first noticed the truck was pulling out into the street from the curb, I honked so he’d see me and not slop out across both lanes. As I got within a few yards, the truck started into a sudden left turn across my lane to make a U turn and head back the other direction. I braked hard to slow down, but I could feel my tires slipping and was afraid I would fall and skid under his rear axles.

I was on the horn the full time as I approached. Since he cut in front of me so quickly, I thought I could maybe get around behind him. I slowed as I approached impact with the truck, now perpendicular to traffic, and then cut to the right. He also slowed. I tried to stay as upright as possible to keep my bike under control. I was still headed toward his rear axles.

photo As he pulled ahead, I got as far as I could behind him. Even so, I still hit his tow bar hanging off the back of his truck. The impact clotheslined my bike and I flipped over the top and down on my left arm, and then onto my back. I couldn't get up, but I didn't feel like getting up anyway.
photo Several people ran over to see what happened, direct traffic around me, and call the paramedics. Cars on Mission behind me that had to slow down were impatiently honking. I tried to get my camera phone out to take a photo of the truck but my left arm wasn't working right. I handed a bystander my phone and he snapped photos of the truck’s license plate, and of me and the bike.
Everyone around was way cooler than the last time this happened. Maybe it was the neighborhood; I was closer to City Hall that time. An SUV driver made a sloppy left turn across my lane, briefly stopped to observe the accident he caused, and then took off again. Nobody chased him down or got his license. And beyond the one woman who offered to be a witness, even though she hadn't seen anything, the only people who approached me were just looking to bum change.

This time however, I had a entourage of concerned people around me, all trying to figure out what they could do to help. And nobody hit me up for change, which was nice.
photo Fire crews were first on the scene. They took off my jacket and backpack. My arm hurt the worst. Off came my helmet and they put a neck brace on, then picked me up and onto a board and taped me down. A mesh wire brace was taped around my arm. It hurt really bad when they tried to move it around. Yikes, stop doing that.
All I could think of was Stuart from MadTV saying "let me do it!"

I’d never broken anything before, but was thinking this must be what it feels like.

Medics arrived and checked me again for back and neck damage, broken ribs and other pain, and checked my strength in feet and hands. Everything felt okay except for my arm, which had been posed like an Egyptian relief carving. I got loaded in an ambulance and taken to SFGH. With my good hand, I pulled my camera back out and took some photos.

photo An 18 gauge IV catheter was inserted into my right arm and a saline drip started. I’ve had a catheter stuck in my arm before, but this one was enormous. I can usually take needles, but this felt like a pencil, and it kept getting pushed in deeper and deeper.

photo They took my phone and put it aside. I got it back and took more shots to keep me distracted from the arm agony. The medic said he was afraid I’d take his photo while he was picking his nose. I wasn't planning on taking his picture, but after hearing him say that, I was more afraid that he was treating me while picking his nose.
The first night of my unspectacular weekend landed me at San Francisco General Hospital. But that was a story unto itself.

Further details of my crash, treatment and (hopefully) recovery:


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