Cola Karma bites a Geek on Wheels

I hate diet coke. Always have. I can never get over the taste of aspartame, more specifically the horrid after taste it leaves like an oily carpet on your tongue. For years I have joked that it’s actually Die-t Coke…and have chuckled at all the recent news about how diet drinks really are worse for you then their normal brethren. That being said I do get that my diabetic friends have to put up with it and some even enjoy it. However, for all my gagging at the taste of it…this past weekend I finally got my comeuppance, some cosmic cola justice I suppose.

I would never have expected that justice to come in the form of a minor concussion, five stitches in my left temple and a winter coat that looks like I went through Valley Forge wearing it. So sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip…that started in a frozen garage, by the bumper of what wasn’t a ship…

I’m writing this because I left some cryptic messages on Facebook regarding an event that ended the holidays with Shan and I (with Arthur there for the first few hours) at Scarborough Centenary Hospital for 6 hours on a frigid snowing night. Wait for it…if you listen close you just heard the eyes of Arthur and Matt rolling as begin to relate this tale. Let’s see how far I can make them roll (bet not as much as mine were)

I tripped. I don’t know how, I don’t know on what. We had been careful, my friends had done as they always do when we get together…they made sure there was a clear path for me to walk with my walker to the car, they made sure someone was close to steady me…the whole gang has been so good at helping me with the adjustments to this when we go to their homes. Yet, somehow…I tripped. It wasn’t a big deal…I knew I was going down and I rolled with it, despite the walker getting caught around me…nothing hurt on the fall. What I didn’t see or know…was that my leg hit a shelf in the garage we were going out…and on that frigid night, up high on top, was a completely frozen 2L bottle of Diet Coke.

I never saw it fall, but I sure FELT it fall. Who knew that a frozen bottle of pop would feel like a concrete slab had just slammed into me. For the squeamish, skip this part, as the left temple was ripped open enough to need 5 stitches and I was knocked loopy, but not out cold. Really good winter coat ruined and soaked through and my friend’s garage floor coated with my red stuff. As I was stunned and Shan took over the first aid (seriously at this rate she should just get her degree in nursing too) we took no chances. Ambulance was called and within about 10 minutes they were there. My friends were great as we waited…and I am just sorry it upset the kids to see it…wasn’t possible to hide the pain as I was lying on a freezing concrete floor….

In any case, it was off to the hospital we went…and the EMT’s were amazing, two full-timers and one trainee, all with GREAT senses of humour. They were curious about my paralysis and I relayed the story on the drive, as Shan did the same sitting up front with the driver. Always funny to see the reaction of medical professionals to it. Needless to say, even though it was a head wound, the moment they knew of the spinal injury (I swear Shan it down in reporting it as if she’s memorized my medical files), they had me on backboard and with a neck brace on. Totally unnecessary but I understood the precaution…and suddenly I had a total flashback to being 17 and the accident that started this whole thing.

23 years later, the neck braces STILL dig into the back of your head, more painfully than the wound itself after about 30 minutes, and the backboards are STILL too short for anyone over 6 feet tall. There was Arthur again, making dumb jokes and promising he wasn’t taking pictures (which of course he was) but this time I had Shan with me. Keeping my spirits up as the frustration sank in….once more in a hospital…this time not because I did anything stupid (see destroyed ankle) but just due to a total fluke event. Once more I had to rely on my friends and strangers to render aid…for which I am more grateful than I can properly express.

So after 6 hours, in the early morning of Sunday, the last day of Christmas holidays, we finally headed home. I had stitches, that ruined coat, dried blood making wonderful hair gel, and vision swimming on the drive as the concussion set in. I have to throw a thanks to my sister-in-law Sharr and her boyfriend Chris for picking up Toby when we knew we’d be so late. Not having him going nuts as I stumbled in helped…and I ended up sleeping most of that Sunday…missed some damn good football dammit…ok one good game and one stinker.

So how am I now? Headaches pretty much gone, still drowsy on occasion, stitches come out in a few days and the world has stopped flipping on me when I sit up, lie down, or am in a moving vehicle. Funny how you think you can feel the earth actually rotating when the worst of those vision tilts hit. How the hell any athlete with a concussion can say “put me back in coach” I’ll never understand.

So there you have it…Diet Coke. My hatred of you now exceeds even my feelings about….Apple! (or as a certain Apple loving friend put it…at least I didn’t trip over and iPad!)

Now before the comments start to fill up! I have heard every single joke about hard hats, bubble wrap suits, bicycle helmets, and hermetically sealed bubble boy spheres. And they all STILL make me laugh at the craziness of what happened. So WARNING! Cause I can’t resist…that picture that Arthur WASN’T taking…I don’t think I look too bad but if you’re squeamish at all….say good night and have your chuckle. While I start a campaign about the REAL dangers of aspartame…and realize that all my years of bad mouthing diet pops (soda for your Americans) finally came back to kick me head.









You shoulda seen the bottle!
You shoulda seen the bottle!

5 thoughts on “Cola Karma bites a Geek on Wheels

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  1. Well, I still drink Coke Zero, developed a taste for it. Have my own story of your flashback. It is my bike accident. Struck by a drunk driver, in front of a fire station. Went backwards over the bike, and down on my back and head. The firemen come out and ask the stupid question, “are you able, can you get up”. Of course, I say yes, they help pick me up, and I pass out cold. The EMT’s arrive and I can hear them in the background giving the fireman royal shit for picking me up, grab the fire department backboard and braces (made them get them) and tell them they will have to come and get them back from emergency. Off to emergency, call to Linda. She still doesn’t like me to go for bike rides without knowing where I am going and when I will go back.

    glad you made it ok. Those were the days. As with you, I didn’t have a helmet. In my case, I wanted racing shoes and they were 115.00 Helmets were close to that then. I got one after that. And I vaguely remember a story about you carrying a grocery bag while riding the bike – did it have a bottle of coke in it by chance?


  2. Jason hard to read this in the sense of you having to relive your original time on a backboard and in the hospital. And as a Physiotherapist who has attended to people with head injuries/concussions I can see why your wife and friends called EMT – good call team! Be patient with yourself re your post concussion syndrome re headaches, light sensitivity, word finding etc. This is all normal and may persist for a few months. You will get bettter. Oh and please stick to milk and water – all pop is bad for everyone! All the best for a very very Healthy and stress free 2014! Jane

    1. But Jane! Cola is my one and only vice! 🙂 Seriously, I barely drink alcohol (much to Arthur’s chagrin) don’t smoke, don’t overeat…let me have my one vice! 🙂

      The head is already doing better but I learned the hard way that I can’t push too hard too soon. So patience it is! For the perpetual patient!

  3. Re an article in Huff Post Canada that will be of interest to you and your Blog Readers called Is Toronto Ready to Be Accessible for the ParaAmerican Games?
    According to the on-going Built Environmental Audit OPC and its Consulting team conduct in their day to day travels, Toronto is NOT ready to be accessible for the Para & Pan American Games. Businesses in Toronto are not (with the exception of RBC, TD, BMO and most large law firms) for the most part embracing the #AODA. These major gaps will become very obvious when Toronto becomes the world stage for the Games in 2015. The time to bring infrastructure accessible for all ages, and abilities was in the last 5 years as the City planned and budgeted for the games. Another opportunity to place Toronto as a world class city has come and gone…. again. JE Sleeth & the Accessibility Team at OPC Inc

    1. I totally agree with you on how Toronto is NOT ready and just about everyone, friends and family who have traversed this city with me would agree on that. The AODA was and is great in theory, but without the backbone and teeth of government enforcement, it’s going to be ignored by all but the largest companies and property managers. Smaller companies just won’t pay attention to it or keep going to the “well it’s grandfathered” argument until there is some enforcement. Not like we haven’t already got reasons to be embarassed as a city *cough* FORD *cough* but when the para games get here its going to be shame.

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