I was hit by a truck over the weekend.
Well, it was a Great Dane, but same difference.
He was a regal beast, and a gentle one, and I don’t think he even saw me until I was up in the air.
He’d come into the dog park, greeted those already there, and when one started chasing him he took off, looking behind him at the dog in pursuit as he gained full momentum.
That’s when he ran smack into me. I saw him coming, and debated veering to one side or another, but the feet have been a little slow to take orders lately.
So all of me went up into the air, where I floated, limbs akimbo, for at least a second before landing with a thud on my side.
The owner immediately approached and asked if I was ok.
I needed a few minutes to figure that out, and a few more to get off the ground.
The owner offered his hand to pull me up, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be up, or if getting pulled up by my arm might not be good for the shoulder that was bothering me before any of this happened.
So I laid there, checked to see if my various parts would move and thanked my own dog, Jinjja, when he came over to check on me — not the sort of thing he usually does as he’s mostly in his own world when he’s at the dog park.
I struggled to get on my knees and then all the way up, dusted myself off and — though the breath that had been knocked out of me hadn’t yet returned — pronounced myself OK.
Embarrassed about being on the ground, embarrassed by how long it took me to get up. But OK, thought.
I spent a few more minutes inside the park, during which time Jinjja would growl at the Great Dane whenever he got close to me, and come back to check on me a few more times.
I was touched, and deemed it progress. For this is a dog that, rescued from a dog meat farm in South Korea, has never been great at showing affection, other than enjoying a butt scratch. So I considered it a breakthrough, and one that apparently didn’t involve any parts of me getting broken.
Sore yes — but not broken, or at least I didn’t think so for the next few hours.
Jinjja and I left the dog park a few minutes later, stopping to sit at a nearby picnic table just to regain my composure. The three young women sitting at the next table with their dogs having a picnic asked if I was OK and — all being medical students on the verge of becoming physician assistants — ran me through a checklist of questions, showing vastly more concern than the dog’s owner did.
We decided I would live, and — once their attentions shifted to another dog walking by with a hurt paw — I moved on, proud that nothing had snapped upon impact.
Now, the next day, I’m pretty sure something did, a rib to be precise.
The pain set in during the night, a pretty sharp one when I moved, took a deep breath or –heaven forbid — coughed.
I broke a rib once before and did nothing about it, which as it turns out it is pretty much what doctors do too. You just wait for it to heal. I didn’t visit one then, and I’m still debating what to do now. But I’m pretty sure I don’t want to spend $1,000 for tests and doctors that will tell me I broke a rib and there’s really nothing to be done about it.
Fault? That’s not a factor. Dogs, big and small, will run at dog parks, and not always watch where they are going. Great Danes? They are one of my most favorite breeds, and their clumsiness is part of their appeal. I was too old and slow — neither of which is particularly appealing –to get out of the way. That’s on me. Those who worry about being run over by a dog, should stick to the benches on the sidelines.
So no hard feelings, Great Dane. I hope I run into you again (preferably without you running into me).
And to Jinjja, and those physicians assistants-to-be, thanks for showing you care.
(Photo: An old Great Dane friend from Baltimore, named Soju, who has nothing to with this story)