The Accident, Part One: That Sucks

As more time piles up since I lost (or won, not really sure how that works?) a game of chicken with a motorcycle it’s getting easier to laugh about it. I purposefully waited to write about the accident because I didn’t want to come across as anti-Cambodia or anything. It was also very difficult to type with a full-on arm cast…

The blindingly bright headlight rushed closer, brakes squealed followed by a sickening pop and crunch.

Just breath. I chanted to myself over and over while I crawled out from under my bicycle and towards the sidewalk. Mere hours before I was explaining to someone, “I’m just having one of those days when I can’t help but smile because I actually get to live here!” Now I was crouched on the curb cradling my hand gasping for breath. I may have screamed, I don’t really remember.

Immediately Ariel was by my side and just like in the movies a man rushed over stating, “I’m a doctor!” Still shaking from shock I told the man what happened:

“I think I hit my head but I don’t think I have a concussion. I’m coherent. I know who I am and what today is. I think I broke my hand.”

He felt around my skull and asked if there was any pain. Of course, as soon as he asked if I felt nauseated or had blurry vision I wanted to throw up and started to feel dizzy. As quickly as he had appeared he was gone.

In a matter of minutes Ariel had locked my mangled bike to hers and flagged down a tuk tuk to take us to Royal Angkor International Hospital. The rest of the evening passed in a shock-induced haze. The x-rays revealed a fractured thumb and every time someone walked into the treatment room they winced when they saw my face.

“It’s not that bad,” Ariel assured me.

I tried to lay as still as possible while the nurse cleaned up my cuts and scrapes and another medical team pulled my arm back and forth discussing in rapid Khmer the best way to immobilize it.

The whole hospital visit only lasted a couple of hours and before we knew it Ariel and I were back in the tuk tuk headed for her apartment. It was a restless night for both of us.

The next morning, both too physically and psychologically scarred to cycle anywhere, we wandered the city in search of distractions. I think we both almost fell asleep during our pedicures.

Watching people’s reaction to my road-rash face and arm in a sling became like a game. Some smiled sympathetically, others looked concerned. The best reaction though came from one of Ariel’s young students. We passed a group of them playing in a courtyard and they called us over to say hi. As soon as we walked one of the little boys immediately stopped his game and ran up to the gate. His face lit up and he pointed to his own casted-arm in a sling. “Same, same!” I smiled. He laughed then ran to rejoin his friends.

Most people we passed during our stroll asked me what had happened. After hearing about the accident they’d shake their heads and tell me how sorry they were that it happened. “Cambodians drive way too fast,” several told me.

While their sympathy was appreciated our waiter at the Blue Pumpkin really nailed it. “What happened?” he asked after delivering our enormous ice cream sundaes.

I gave him the short version: I was hit by a moto.

He sighed, “That sucks.”



I never would have made it with out my friend Ariel. She went above and beyond to take care of me and even took my bicycle to get fixed while I was at work!

Becca is my hospital hero! She came all the way down on a Saturday night to bring us a credit card and bestowed upon me her vast knowledge of the Royal Angkor International hospital system.

I definitely didn’t have any important papers with me at the time and Sarah and Jenna were my saviors sending me my insurance policy information. Another thanks to Sarah for going with me to my follow-up appointment!

I also don’t know what I would have done without Manin, who brought my passport all the way from the PEPY office and helped translate for the police officer AND went with us to the police station the next day to pick up our bicycles.

Many thanks to Sreyneang who is always looking out for my safety and looked really concerned when I told her I was thinking about cycling to dinner.

Pre-thank you to Dur who is going with me to the hospital tomorrow morning.

Many thanks to everyone for all of your prayers and support! It definitely could have been a lot worse.

Coming soon: How to stay positive when you find out you have to have surgery in Cambodia.

4 thoughts on “The Accident, Part One: That Sucks

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