Christmas Memories From 2005

I do have many Christmas memories, most of which are very happy and fun (and I will tell you all about them in another post), but today I am going to tell you about a Christmas that I won’t ever forget. It happened 4 years ago today.

On December 5, 2005,  I was in a car accident that left me with a fractured arm (in 5 places), a gash on my right cheek, a sprained ankle, and on crutches for the whole season. There were 7 of us in the car but only 2 got hurt, and I was least hurt. The boy in the seat in front of me was knocked unconscious, had severe head injuries, and to this day has no recollection of the accident. The others made it out without injury.

We were returning to Bangalore after a trip to Goa. Part of the road in Goa winds through the mountains and you can’t see around the curves. We were in a brand new Toyota Innova and got hit on the drivers’ side (that is the right here in India). What happened was, a truck, one of those huge shipping trucks that are common here, was parked on the road. There was no side to the road so the driver had left it parked on the road where the oncoming traffic was. Things like this are common, so no one would think much of it.

Another similar truck was coming from the other direction and we couldn’t see it. Our driver swerved in time to avoid a head-on collision, but the truck ripped through the car from the passenger door behind the driver all the way out the back. The boy who got hurt was sitting in front of me and had fallen asleep with his head on the window. That is why he got hit so hard. He was also not wearing a seat belt, so was thrown to the side when we got hit. I was awake and wearing a seat belt, but somehow the force of the impact caused me to get hurt.

As soon as the truck hit us, our car spun around 360 degrees for a whole spin (maybe two). The roof rack with all our luggage was ripped off and bags went everywhere.  Windows were blown out. My glasses went flying. A necklace I was wearing broke off and I never found it again. Next to the boy who got hurt were two younger children. Of course seeing him get knocked out and his head bleeding freaked them out and they were both screaming.

Once the car stopped, the driver got out to assess the damage. The children’s mother got them out and brushed shards of glass off of them, while the girl who had been lying down and sleeping next to me (and didn’t get hurt at all) climbed over the seat to check on the boy. After rounding up the luggage and finding out where the local hospital was, we slowly drove off.

I picked up my glasses, but since the glass was out of them, they were useless to me. I left them on the seat as we arrived at the tiny local clinic. People surrounded the car right away, mostly of curiosity, as is so common during an accident here. Then the doctor arrived along with a few other people. The right side of the car was so dented that the roof was pushed onto the seat and the door could not open, so they pulled the boy out from the other side and onto a stretcher.

Then it was my turn. The only way out of the back was to climb over the seat in front. At that time, I knew I was injured but I didn’t know how badly. Moving was painful, but I had to get myself out.  I slowly stepped out, and someone, trying to help me into the wheelchair, put their hand on my right shoulder and I screamed from the pain. I was wheeled into a small room to await treatment.

While the others took care of the many details that come with an accident and injuries, I was in a small room with several doctors and assistants. I should mention that this hospital was so “local” that everyone was barefooted and the floor was cement. Once person washed the glass from my eyes and face, and stitched up the gash in my cheek. Then came the x-rays. They tried to get me to stand up for a full-body x-ray, but I couldn’t stand without feeling faint, so they got as many as they could while I was lying down. I told them where I was hurting and they x-rayed that part. But I had to stand for them to x-ray my shoulder and I nearly did faint. Once that was done, I was moved to another room.

Meanwhile they were trying to figure out how to help the unconscious boy. This clinic was so small that they didn’t have any of what he desperately needed, and it was so out of the way that they had to send back to Goa for an ambulance, which only arrived a few hours later.  After a while, the boy was moved into the room I was in, followed by a senior doctor and a group of nursing students. They stood around while the doctor shaved the boy’s head and stitched the large gash that he had. They also cut his clothes off so they could check the rest of his body for injuries.

After he was cared for, I got a plaster cast put on my arm and it helped me feel better. I remember needing to use the toilet by this time, and struggling with my jeans, having only one good hand to use.

Once the ambulance arrived, we were moved into it, and everyone else got in too. We were heading back to Goa, to take the boy to a better-equipped hospital. His parents were called and they were able to meet us there. I stayed in Goa for about a week, slowly recovering at the home of some people I didn’t know, while the boy was in critical condition in the hospital. Soon I was able to get a flight back to Bangalore and rest at home, but I spent the whole Christmas season hobbling on a crutch. My left foot was sprained, as was my right shoulder,  and my right arm and hand were in a cast. At least I was still able to get around. But it was a rather painful Christmas.

Here I am all bashed up. My fingers and foot turned all shades of purple before they healed. The little girl is Sakshi. I was her nanny for 3 years. This was taken after I got home, not more than 2 weeks after the accident.

After a short time, I found that my arm was swelling under the cast, so I went to a doctor and he cut the cast, then later had me come for a new one. The new one was one of those molded ones that is soft when they wrap it but then hardens. I had to wear the cast for 9 weeks because some of the smallest bones in my hand were fractured. They take longer to heal because there is less blood flow to them than to other bones.

Because of this, I learned to do many things with my left hand that I wasn’t able to do before, such as writing and putting on makeup. I can’t do those things now as I stopped practicing once the cast came off, but I got pretty good at it out of necessity.

It took me years to get over the fear of traveling on the highway here. Even now I am uncomfortable on the highway. I never ride in the front seat while on the highway, only the back.

And in case you are wondering, this boy, who was 15 at the time, made a full recovery. Only a few months after he was released from the hospital in Bangalore (where he was moved to since that was where his parents were living),  he went back to the hospital in Goa, where the doctors had been convinced he wasn’t going to make it, and sang for them. (He is a singer and musician.) The nurses cried, so happy to see someone they had fought for make it.

While that wasn’t one of my happier Christmases it sure is memorable.

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Vacation Highlights

Well, I finally get to sit and write about our vacation. I am only going to put the highlights as most of the 10 days were spent doing routine things – mostly things involving the care of the baby. So here we go with what we did on vacation.

Glad drove some people in the car while Logan and I went with the rest by bus. We took a night bus that had beds instead of seats all along the sides. I’ve never seen anything like it. The aisle was no more than a foot and a half wide and the beds were about 5 ½ feet by 2 ½ feet. It wasn’t very easy to sleep in as I spent most of my time hanging on and trying to not fall out of bed.

Inside the bus. See how squishy it was?

The trip takes about 14 hours so most prefer it to be while they are sleeping, which in a way is good as you get something done while you are sleeping but it was hard to nurse the baby while the bus was swaying side to side. There is one portion of the road on the way to Goa that is very winding and it takes a good two to three hours to drive it. On the way back it was easier as that portion of road passed before I went to sleep and I slept better on the way back than on the way there.

Happy boy having fun on the bus.

Once we got there we made our way to our hotel. It was a simple place, mainly just set up for sleeping, though we also had a fridge and TV in the room.

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The view from our balcony.

The view from our hotel room Trying to get us in the pic.

The beach was just a 10 minute walk away. Logan had his first experience of being on the beach. Well, he didn’t like it too much but he put up with it, mostly because of the wind and heat. Goa is extremely hot and you have to have an aircon in the room to just feel comfortable. Every time we stepped out of the room it was like walking into a sauna, the humidity was so thick.

Down on the beach Logan got his first taste of waves splashing on him, sand on his feet, and being sticky and tasting sandy milk. After the second or third time at the beach he didn’t mind it so much.

What he did enjoy was the pool. Every time we took him in, he would kick and have a great time, and he would also tire himself out enough that I would put him on a sunbed (in the shade of course) and let him sleep while we swam. His after-swim naps were some of his best.

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Even superman has to sleep

One highlight to remember is the night that Glad sang to me at dinner. Every night they had a “band”, a man who could hardly sing, with his guitar. So one night I’m sitting eating. Glad had gone to get more food from the buffet and I was about to put the baby into the stroller when I heard “Sit down, Honey, I’m going to sing for you.” So he sang for me in front of all the old couples who were there and afterwards they were all congratulating him. It was so sweet. He was nervous during the first verse so he couldn’t get the cords but kept playing anyway and got them on the second verse. Oh, you want to know what song he sang, do you? It was “You Fill Up My Senses”. Such a beautiful song.

Another highlight was going to the Saturday Night Bazaar, something they have every week. Our band was playing so we went to see them as well as do some shopping. I found a Goa shirt Logan’s size and Glad had to get him a superman shirt, so Logan did the most shopping that night. I got a nice top and Glad got some too. Then we got a whole roast chicken to take back to the hotel for dinner. This bazaar is full of all kinds of things, and not just ethnic Indian things either. There are many foreigners who go there to sell their wares. Items range from clothing to jewelry to bedding to ornaments, food and more. The big thing about it is you don’t pay the price they first give you. If you do they know you must be a dumb rich tourist who doesn’t care about the price. Everyone bargains to get the lowest price possible. It’s tricky but some people get real good at it.

On our last day there we wanted to do something special so we set out to the beach and on the way met someone representing a major company here that was giving away prizes. We got a top prize so decided to walk to the hotel to claim it. On the way we met two others doing the same thing and each time we got a top prize. The last guy took us to the hotel and in order to claim the prize you had to take the tour of the property and listen to them try to sell you on their holiday package. In the end, we didn’t qualify for their packages, which we didn’t mind, but we did get the prize (all the prizes we scratched on the cards were the same) – paid stay at one of their hotels for up to 14 days in Goa or 7 days in Singapore. Well, we might use it, you never know. And of course, being that a beer company was hosting this, we got a large bottle of beer. This outing took most of the morning but it was something different and we did enjoy ourselves.

The only nice thing about coming back to Bangalore after being in Goa is that the weather here is much cooler and not so humid. Otherwise I didn’t really look forward to coming back to work. What am I saying? My work traveled with me. He was a very good boy for the whole trip. Actually, he loves going out in the car and seeing new places. He gets bored being in the same place for too long.
Well, I can’t think of anything more that stands out. Most days were spent sleeping, eating, resting, going to the beach, and of course caring for the baby.

Oh, one thing comes to mind. Twice I got to go shopping without the baby. Glad kept him in the hotel while I went to some nearby store to indulge in the womanly art of shopping. I think that was so sweet of him. Once the baby was sleeping and once he was awake but happy. Glad hates shopping and I think Logan does too, since the last time I took him, he gave me a hard time. He fussed and cried and I ended up buying something that didn’t fit. Oh well. And I made sure to not be gone too long (1 ½ hours max.) so the baby wouldn’t freak out when he got hungry. It felt nice to be able to shop without bouncing him and trying to get him to be quiet at the same time.

We’re off to Goa!

In a few days we are leaving for Goa for a much needed vacation. Yippie. I don’t think I will be able to post anything while there but I will be sure to update you all when I get back. I have yet to see how much I will need to pack now that I have to pack for a baby. Usually I just take a small bag for myself, but this year I’m thinking of taking a suitcase, a small one, but it is bigger than the bag I usually take.

It’s amazing how much stuff you need when going anywhere with a baby. Even to just go shopping I have to think about extra diapers, clothes, toys, etc. and hope I didn’t forget anything.

Logan is now getting on a better schedule. He still sleeps a lot, but when he is rested he will play on his own for a while. Like right now. He is lying down kicking his legs and babbling to himself. He responds well when you play with him, usually with a smile but sometimes even with a laugh. He doesn’t last too long on his own so I have to do this while I can and hope he doesn’t get bored too soon.

He is usually in bed by 9 p.m. Not bad for a baby his age. And he will sleep for about 3 hours, then wake to nurse, and sleep soundly for the night, waking at least once to nurse. The downside to this early bedtime is that he tends to wake up at 6:30 a.m. Sometimes he just wakes up to nurse and goes back to sleep, but more often now he stays awake so that is my revelie for the day. But I don’t mind. I prefer that he is in bed early at night so I can have the evening free to relax or get needed things done.

Ok, he is calling now so I need to go. I’ll try to get some new pics up before we leave, but if I don’t, know that there will be lots to post when I get back.

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