It's the morning of my mother's birthday and my brother and I are squatting on the side footpath arranging candles and decorations on the cheesecake we just bought. We sing happy birthday as we carry it inside, my mother smiling with disbelief. She says it is only right if we eat the cake after dinner so she puts it in the fridge after blowing out the candles and I tell her I'm just going to visit a friend for a bit and I hop out.
2 hours later I am sitting on the road, looking at my grazed palms while blood drips from my face down my shirt. There are some hard rocks in my mouth and I spit them out, not knowing that they are actually my teeth. My arms sting and my face feels like a burning sensation. My friend has gone to rescue the bike I fell off at while I sit there and stare at my grazed palms.
The past 30 seconds happened so fast I am trying to comprehend how I got to this position. I remember rolling down the road. The skies, the trees, the ground, the skies, the trees, the ground. Two women come over to me and one tells me to show her my face.
'You'll probably need stitches for your chin'
'Are you a doctor?'
She tells me to walk over to the clinic. I am given ice packs for my face, my arms, my leg and told to lie on a medical bed while they google search my GP from the few words I tell them. The walls are covered with posters of the muscular system and it dawned on me that I was at a physiotherapy. They aren't going to help me. I don't think they've ever seen blood before.
It's the day after the accident and I am in the waiting room at the radiology clinic listening to the two ladies sitting opposite me chatter in Vietnamese.
'What do you think she was in?'
'Car accident I think'
'No looks like a cycling accident'
'How on Earth does someone get that badly injured from riding a bike?'
I have 12 stitches on my chin, 2 stitches on the corner of my lip (which I call 'The Half-Joker scar'), a hairline fracture in my jaw, 4 broken upper front teeth, deep grazes down my arms, on my wrists, cuts to all 10 fingers and bruises all across my thighs which turned funky colours and patterns over the next few weeks.
How on Earth does someone get that badly injured from riding a bike?
My hands and my mouth won't let me feed myself so I am put on liquids. I can't do anything at all so my mother bathes me and dresses me and tucks me into bed. Even though my tears sting the grazes on my cheeks, I cry myself to sleep every night until the night the dentist gave me temporary fillings and I had something that looked like teeth again.
My friends come to visit me in a heartbeat and they gift me a fridge full of soup and milk and yoghurt and jelly and I've never been so thankful for all the love and kind wishes that have come my way.
Every day I get excited over the little things that I am able to do that I couldn't the day before. By the first week I can roll over to one side in bed, I can hold a spoon and I can wipe myself after using the toilet. By the second week I can bathe and dress myself and brush my teeth with my Wiggles toothbrush made for babies.
It's the morning of the last day of 2013, a little over a month since the accident and I am at the dentist again. This time, I am not covered in bandages nor am I crying and holding the dentist assistant's hand. This time, I am ecstatic and smiling as the dentist reshapes my teeth. I may not have a canine anymore but I do have 4 new individual front teeth. For breakfast, I am eating my mother's birthday cake she has kept in the freezer ever since for the day I am well enough to have it with the family. I could not end the year on a higher note.
As the new year comes crawling, I think about how lucky I am. How lucky am I to live in a country where help is so readily available? To have a doctor, a dentist, a radiologist. To have family and friends that care for me even if it is just a comment wishing me health. To have love, from people I know and strangers near and far.
I wish you all a lovely 2014 full of health, happiness and love. Thank you for all your kindness and happy new year friendliest friends.