Meet Teflon Man
We finally figured out what Greg’s super powers are! He has the power of teflon, proving himself to be a non-stick man! Adhesives attack in vain! Well, at least until you come at him with a metal spatula… or shave his (gasp) chest. It took a 12 year old girl turning suddenly in front of him on the bike path to lead to the circumstances of discovery, but NOW we know.
How he saved a 12 year old girl from herself
The 12 year old girl, we are glad to report, has only minor scratches and has promised to keep her eyes on the road in future bike riding adventures. He apparently just knocked her flat and went flying over her, giving the impression that she hadn’t absorbed much of his kinetic energy at impact. She was at the same hospital ER getting checked out and being concerned that she was in a lot of trouble. She had been out riding on the bike path with her classmates and teacher. First, she thought her parents were going to have to pay Greg a chunk of cash, which seems to be the practice in such accidents around here. Then, she began sobbing when she heard how badly he was hurt. It’s not life threatening or even deforming, but he was in serious pain from the 3 broken ribs (7-9 on the back left, for those who like details of that sort). That, in combination with a punctured lung, was making breathing less than comfortable. Hugs from me and smiles from Greg brought her spirits up and she has promised to come visit him during his recovery time and help him practice his Chinese.
Where exactly are you taking him?
Greg had called me on his cell phone a few minutes after the incident. At first, he thought he would just take a taxi home. Then he called to say that he was being taken to the police station. I ‘casually’ asked if he was in trouble, but he said no. Then he called me from the ambulance. Someone in there with him was able to tell me what hospital they were going to. I choked up, but figured that crying would take time and possibly distress the kids that I was leaving at the apartment and managed to avoid it. I was grateful that the hospital was in our district. The taxi ride was around five minutes. The person at the information booth was able to find a hospital representative who spoke English. It was also challenging to ask for “help finding my husband in the emergency room” without crying, but once I found him, the nurse in me kicked in.
How to embarrass a Chinese nurse
The fractures and lung abnormalities were easy to see when the doctor showed me the x-ray and CT scan. It meant that they would need to insert a tube to enable the lung to re-inflate. Standard procedure indicates getting an EKG reading before the procedure and that is when we really had some fun. Try as she might, the technician could not get those little sticky EKG pads to stick to Greg. He has been developing a nice forest of chest hair for years now and it is definitely anti-adhesive. The poor technician was trapped between stress over getting this done, while Greg was obviously in more pain in the lying down position, and giggling about this unusual problem. We attempted to ease the situation by joking around about it. It lead to me dubbing him as having super powers of ‘non-stick’ and him coining the phrase ‘Teflon Man.’ He gave the lady permission to shave his chest as needed. She finally had to ask him to stop laughing because the EKG wouldn’t read with so much movement!
Alas, like Samson, shaving removes his powers. But since they only needed to shave selected areas, including further shaving for the tube placement, he still has some in reserve. See him below flexing his muscle:
Even Teflon Man needs help sometimes
I was in the room for the procedure. Doctors behind masks, speaking with accents, concentrating on educating the 6 or so medical students seemed less that tuned into Greg’s pain and lack of ability to communicate it with a surgical drape covering most of his face. My experience has taught me that it is always good to have one person in the room whose sole purpose is watch out for what the patient needs at any given moment. I was also somewhat concerned by some of the sleeves that came so close to brushing over the sterile surgical field. If anyone asks about our care while in the hospital, I may mention this detail. One cannot take microbiology and then not be aware of these things.
Here are Natalie and Carlie when we visited Greg in the hospital one last time this evening to take him supplies and make sure he was set for the night. Jesse went ahead to soccer practice, but plans to see his dad tomorrow.
The plan is to take another x-ray tomorrow to check on the lung. There is even a small chance that the tube could come out then. They seem to like to keep people in the hospital for several days for observation around here, but we think he’ll be home by the weekend. Then those of us here will do our best to handle Teflon Man, only taking appropriate advantage of his current vulnerability.
Read more of the story here: Walking Greg’s Bike Back Home – Helpless Female Lost in Taipei