Across the Board

Amazon Reviews

As a world citizen, TCK, etc etc… when I publish, I do so on all the Amazons, and I advertise in places across the globe. The upside is that I have reviews on .com .uk  .au and .ca    …the downside is that those reviews are not collated into my numbers anywhere, and when people look up my books they only see the reviews in their own country. So here I was thinking that I had 28 reviews, but add in the rest and I have 45.

Does anyone know where these can be collated in one place? I would have thought that KDP’s Author Central would do that, but it appears they don’t. Or have I missed something?

When someone gets hurt….

I want to start this completely random post by making a strong disclaimer: I don’t like putting anyone in boxes, and I don’t subscribe to the “stupid idiot husband/clever wife” cliche which many modern sitcoms and movies appear to like. That being said, when people sometimes refer to their husbands as been their extra child, …. well, …let’s just say that sometimes I can see that too…

I am married to one of the most intelligent people I know, and despite his many imperfections I am very aware and impressed with both his IQ and EQ. But one of the ways that he is just a kid, is when he gets on his bicycle. Then he is like a child on Christmas morning, …and in that way what harm could ever come from a bunch of boys on their bicycles anyway right? (I also have to add here that he has learnt to be very sensible in many things and I take my hat off to the ways that he has found a balance between throwing caution to the wind with freedom on his bike, and knowing when to find that caution fast).

Well today when he was that kid, (lets call him Billy), as he and his friend (let’s call him Johnny) went off to ride their bikes for the morning, they rode out the door, … over the hills and faraway, …as the wives sat and chatted by the roaring mid winter fire. Bliss for everyone… a real win win. We were staying at one of our favourite places, Montusi (in the Drakensberg), and it was the end of three wonderful days away with a group of friends. This was the last activity before going home, and they wanted one more ride before we left, as it is tough to find a safer, more beautiful place to ride a mountain bike.

When the boys arrived home it was Johnny’s wife who saw them first and she ran out to greet them saying something back to me about there being a bit of blood and that maybe he was hurt. I can remember also noting the presence of blood, but at the same time thinking that they were both grinning from ear to ear and walking their bikes along happily, so whatever injuries they had gathered, they were probably not too serious…

As I followed her out the back door from quite a distance, in one of this slow motion single moments that happen all at once from different directions; ….I heard Billy assuring me that Johnny was fine, … the same time that I could see that even from this far away, Johnny’s chin was gaping open and would need putting back together again, … to my right I watched his wife start going down, while grabbing a chair to sit on and drop her head between her legs. I had no idea who needed me more and so asked out loud (and fast) who needed me most. Johnny said he was fine and his wife needed me, but she said no way, I must tend to him first. One close look at his chin and I knew it needed stitching, it was as deep as a chin wound can get and when he smiled triumphantly to assure each of us that he was fine, it pulled the wound open even wider, the jagged edges to the crooked matching “mini-smile” snarling at me, the movement sending out the next glug of blood… (no wonder his wife had freaked out!)

The short version is that we were far away from anyone able to do any stitching, and apart from very grazed legs and looking very worse for wear, I could see that he was going to be able to handle the four hour drive home to Joburg where he would be well attended to, but that his wife would need to drive. He wasn’t really in shock or pumping with adrenalin, but he clearly hadn’t come down from he incident rush yet and he was still quite numb. The pain, reality and fatigue were going to set in at some point, and driving would be the last thing he should be doing… They both needed a strong cup of tea and a hand getting going out the door. Another couple who were staying with us helped her load the car as we sent him for a shower and then we dressed the wound as best we could with what he had, mainly to gather the blood and to stop his wife seeing the hole when it gaped. I gave him strict instructions to rest up, to stop touching it, and to stop smiling (and preferably stop talking as well), for the trip home. The other couple who were about to leave anyway, lovingly travelled in convoy with them all the way to the hospital turn off.

Then the discussions between my husband and I began… He kept telling me that Johnny was fine and that really, it wasn’t that bad. Johnny had kept assuring us of the same thing before they had driven home, and as the stories started coming out Billy told me that they had deliberately stopped at the garden hose before they came home, to wash as much of the blood off him as they could, so that we (the wives) wouldn’t make more of the injuries than they were! They were more worried about us making a scene than worry that there actually could be anything wrong with Johnny. “No, no, no,” said Billy, and as if to back up his statement and to prove that he was right, he followed that up with; “he was fine… we rode on for another hour after he hurt himself!“…

That makes him fine??” I asked in horror …. to which Billy replied that they had actually ridden past our driveway about twenty minutes after the accident, where he had asked Johnny if he wanted to go home and Johnny had assured him that he didn’t, so they kept going up the next hill… to which my draw dropped and out of nowhere I pulled out the line:

When someone gets hurt, there is no more democracy!!! … at some point someone has to be the grown up, make the call, and both go home regardless of what anyone thinks that they are capable of!

He did not agree with me at all, and we retreated to our corners to regroup. The discussion that followed was thankfully very civilised and adult, and I am also thankful that I realised quite early that actually Billy was very worried about his friend Johnny and that he was a little concerned that he had not done the right thing, as well as being aware of the fact that he really wanted Johnny to be ok. He was heavily invested in Johnny being fine, so any signs of him being OK were most gratefully received and not questioned. He graciously gave me the opportunity to make my case, and I said that in my humble opinion there are a number of things that over ride any other decisions in an accident situation and they are as follows:

1: You (Billy), and almost anyone else out there on a ride, a walk, or any other activity known to man, unless you are trained, are not able to assess any situation where someone has had a bad fall or an accident… to the point where you can give them the all clear.

Case in point: Billy assured me that he had been very calm, and very cautious. He had done all the right things when he had heard Johnny come off behind him and crunch into the ground. He found him in a ditch with his feet in the air and the bicycle half on top of him. He first moved the bike and they slowly and methodically checked the obvious; wrists, arms and collar bones, both very relieved to see that all were intact as these are common cycling accident injuries that happen to the best of them. There was blood all over Johnny’s chin and both thighs, but on closer inspection all looked like grazes, and a bit of gravel rash never stopped anyone from continuing right? I could not believe how they could mistake a gashed chin with a graze, but Billy again assured me that he had inspected it (without his glasses on), taken a picture on his phone and showed Johnny so that he could inspect it too and have an opinion, and then turned on the phone camera so that Johnny could poke and prod his chin and assure himself that it was numb and therefore painless, and surely just a graze… These are not stupid men, and yet Billy could not tell that Johnny was actually in quite a bad state….

2: The patient (Johnny), is not in any way in a position to be able to assess what condition he is in…

Case in point: Johhny had just slammed into the ground chin first, and I am sure that more than anything his pride was hurt. I am sure that he hurt nowhere and everywhere at the same time, and as someone who has hurt myself a lot, I know from first hand experience that it is often hard in those first moments to be sure of anything. Obviously the fact that he could sit up and share an opinion is a good sign, and had he had no blood and no major bumps, I am sure that he could have been fine, but I am also pretty sure that his opinion on the matter of whether to keep going or not probably was not an unbiased one, for no other reason than he wanted his mate to think he was fine. I’m pretty sure that he would have said yes he can do pretty much anything right then. And if he was worse, he would have been even less able to make an honest assessment of himself and what he was capable of…

3: It is one thing to be able to say what someone obviously does have, like a gash or a visibly broken bone or whatever, but you cannot say for certain that there is anything that they don’t have…

Case in point: Johnny had a simple accident that happens to many cyclists. The paths are well tended to and kept in great shape, they were going slowly and that is often the problem when you are on new territory and suddenly find yourself in the wrong gear going too slowly and over you go. So slowly that it is almost in slow motion. But despite the lack of drama or speed, he went down hard enough onto his chin that he split it open, right through the skin and through the flesh underneath. His head is attached to his chin, and so it is easy to forget that his head took much on the impact of the fall. Even if they had been right that his chin was ok, they still had no way of knowing whether he had concussion, whiplash, or a number of other injuries. I am sure that he didn’t, but neither of them were in any position to say what was not obvious to them.


4: After the accident the chances of Johnny falling again are quite high. No matter which way you look at it he is unlikely to be at his best for the rest of the ride. He is sore and likely has some adrenaline still running through him. Sure, finish riding towards home if you can, but don’t head off over further hills and even further away… after a major fall where there is that much blood, head home regardless, one way or another, even if your pride won’t let you call for help.

Case in point: Not much of a case in point here, as they did decide not to come in when they passed the driveway, however I have just spoken to Johnny on the phone now, some eight hours after the accident, and he was in no shape to be talking to anyone and will be taking the next few days off to recover. Rest rest rest for the week (and in a day and age where they always prefer to glue rather than stitch, … he has five stitches to show for it!)

I could not for the life of me see how either of them could mistake that gaping smiling hole for a bit of gravel rash, so I asked them to send me the picture that they took straight away and used for assessment …. and I have to concede that there is enough blood to mask the actual injury, neither of them had their glasses on, and neither of them know much about anything medical … and on top of that they wanted him to be fine, and they are both not good with blood so I have no doubt did not look too closely! They both did great, but I was left feeling concerned that these guys don’t always make great decisions when they mix sport with accidents, injuries, egos, and pride. I need these to be the times when he can be the grown up. I asked him to please not try and make big assessment decisions based on what either you or a buddy think of an injury, visible or hidden, and to just come home. No need to make a scene or a drama, but maybe just come home, even if the best case scenario is that whoever is injured is fine! Thankfully he got it and hopefully there will not be a next time and they will be safe forever, but I love that they can go out and be grown up kids again on their bikes, and I know that that comes with tumbles now and then, and I will feel better knowing that they will be sensible about it…..

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