Friday, January 15, 2010

Wacky Commute in the big city

In a place like downtown Phoenix anything can happen. This morning was one of my more interesting commutes so I thought I would blog it.

Of course it's Friday and since last Friday I overdid it I opted to ride the express bus both ways and cut the actual biking distance down to a nice 9 miles each way. Of course, this means riding the bus which this morning had two people I know get on. Neither one recognized me. To be fair we are just members of the same church but different units in the area and only see each other periodically, also I had my cycling glasses on and my super spiffy helmet with all the writing still on it from Cochise which I need to black out. Cool to know I'm not the only one doing the public transportation thing though.

So, I am sure you are thinking to yourself that that can't be what made my commute interesting right now and you would be right. After I got off the bus just north of Downtown I was making my lazy, non-intensive, supposed to be a rest day way up 3rd street and had just passed palm way when there was a huge bang and looking back two cars had nailed each other head on, hard.

I doubled back to see what I could do. I recently had a cpr course with some first aid so I thought I might be able to help. One guy was on his cell phone in his car as I pulled up and the other was getting out of his car with a rag on his head. He told me he was bleeding pretty good. At this point I wished I'd had a sterile gauze pad or something I could give him but I didn't. He was doing pretty much the best thing he could do and I watched him for signs of shock or erratic behavior. Head injuries are nothing to be trifled with. Within probably 90 seconds a fire truck came around the corner with sirens blaring. I was pretty amazed they responded so quickly. I figured they had the equipment and know how and I wasn't really needed after all and I headed off.

I think in the future I might put some rubber gloves and some gauze in the seatbag. Maybe a disposable cpr mask too. You never know. If the fire engine hadn't been so close and the guy had hit his head a little harder it could have gotten ugly fast.

Now, I know your thinking that you don't see an accident happen in your rearview mirror everyday so that might make a commute interesting, well, these things come in two's sometimes. I was mulling over the experience as I headed up the road when a raving derelict lady starts yelling garbled words at me or the sky or whatever as she walked down the sidewalk. The first thing I thought about was the cat lady from the simpsons. This lady did not have any cats though.

Raving derelicts always present a bit of an interesting situation. I never know quite what to do so I kind of ride on by. I figured as long as they are not walking around down a busy street or posing a danger to anyone, there's not a whole lot, little no psychiatry degree holding me, can do.
It's also funny, that moment from when you think someone is yelling at you and you are wondering what you did to merit such an attack, to your realization that this is a person who is like that car down on palm lane with the horn stuck on from having crashed into another car.

I'd say she'd get the help she needs eventually but the mentally ill are often pushed to the back of the political agendas of both parties with the democrats at least saying they might try. I will try not too get too political here because both sides are at fault but when I researched which candidates seemed to actually care in the last election Hillary was the only one who bothered to fill out the questionaire distributed to the candidates by the national alliance on mental illness. Obama responded next best with a list of support he's given in the past. McCain said he didn't respond to surveys and mentioned some support in the past and the other GOP candidates ignored it. I realize the election is all in the past, but hopefully the lady's chances for help aren't.

Sorry to get political, this subject just strikes a little close to home for me. When I lost my job I couldn't afford medicine or cobra and I was in too high a tax bracket for medicare (high tax bracket yes, money in pocket? no). We managed but if I hadn't gotten a job when I did it would have been ugly. None of the private insurance companies would take me on so I was pretty much hosed. They would insure my family but not me. Whichever party you belong to, support a solution to healthcare and not some tough sounding and witty sound bite. There's a real problem out there if you don't have a job and have a mental illness. I realize a public option doesn't sound good to some. Unfortunately there's people out there that have expensive medicine that make them non-profitable in an insurance company's eyes. If there's a way to get private companies to profitably insure these people, great. I'm just not seeing it at this point. I don't think public insurance is the answer for everyone, but there are a select few for whom I don't think you can get a company to cover and stay profitable without having the deductibles go through the roof. There, I said my piece. We will now return to the regularly scheduled and fully bicycle related blog.

1 comment:

Bruce's Bike Blog said...

Rubber gloves could come in handy for an accident like you saw, Paul. Also good to use on the bike for when the chair comes off or you have to fix a flat on the back tire.

Head on crash? Geez! Cheers! Bruce