The superfluous, a very necessary thing. --voltaire
It was one of those icy, wintry nights, when you can feel yourself being slowly petrified into a frozen block of ice by the unrelenting frostiness of the frigid air, as amazingly painful, intense jolts of the bitterly cold turbulence stabs into you, piercing you through to the very bone.
I was working my ER shift that night when the trauma nurse called me away from a routine case. She informed me that an ambulance had just arrived with the victim of a vehicle vs. pedestrian collision. Right away my brain is clicking away because these cases usually involve a lot of serious trauma. As we are hurrying toward the trauma room, she tells me that the case involves a young man who has been run over by a friend's pickup truck. Apparently, he has severe chest injuries.
When I burst into the trauma room, I am at first relieved to see that the patient is awake and sitting up and does not appear to be in any distress. Other than the fact that the whole room is a bustle with emergency personnel who are doing their thing, going about being all professional and all, me included, and no doubt frightening the bejezus out of the poor guy. He looks very anxious. If he didn't think he had anything to worry about before he came in, we sure did give him cause for concern now, if for no other reason than just because of how we were acting, so concerned ourselves!
I take a closer look at him and I see what some of the fuss is about. The paramedics and trauma nurses and everyone else have done their jobs. The patient, a young man of late teens to early twenties, has his oxygen on, his IVs going and his cloths have been removed, in order to make an appropriate assessment of his injuries.
When his shirt came off it was plain to see that diagonally across his chest, running from the lower right liver area up across his chest to his left shoulder area was the most clearly marked imprint of a pickup truck tire tread anyone would ever possibly imagine to see on a persons chest. I mean, a CSI detective could identify the make and model of the vehicle the tire was from, the details of the imprint were so remarkable.
So, OK, the guy was run over by his friend's pickup truck, we could sure see that. His chest should be all crushed, smashed, and squashed to heck, right? Tire treads marked up his chest in plain view. So how come he is sitting there, pretty as pink, watching us buzz around being all concerned, as if he wasn't having any trouble at all? So, I ask him, while I am checking him out, "Say, you got this interesting tire thing on your chest here, what happened?"
"Well," he says, in no distress, because according to my examination, there is absolutely nothing wrong with him. Except for the tire mark. X-rays, tests, observation, everything we did proved the same, no injuries, just the tire mark.
"Well," he says, "My buddies and I were out on the frozen lake with my friend's pickup truck, spinning around, doing donuts and things, you know, having fun." Yes, I do know about that; having fun. He went on, "Well, we found this old hood from an old car. So we thought we could make a sled out of it. We turned it upside down, got a rope and tied it to the back of the pickup truck. Then I got on the upside down hood tied to the truck and my friend and the guys got into the truck and then they started to pull me around on the frozen lake with the truck, you know, like a sled." Yes, unfortunately, I did know, and I knew where this one was going.
"Well, they started going faster and faster, then they started going around in circles. That's when it started to whip the sled around. Oh boy, did it really get going fast then! I could hardly hold on! But the rope was too long. The sled whipped around completely in front of the truck. On the ice, the truck couldn't stop and it couldn't turn. Everything was just sliding around and around and then, boom! The truck ran over me! They called the ambulance and brought me here." He seems disappointed.
I consider him for a moment and then think to myself, "Amazing, remarkable."
"Am I going to be all right, doc?" he asks.
"Yeah, you're going to be all right," I reassure him. "But you're one lucky young man." He nods, agreeing. I nod too. Yea, lucky guy. What else can you say?