Thierry Crouzet

Automatic translation from french

Suicide would have been more radical. I imagine the titles. He publishes his masterpiece and dies or His suicide makes him a classic or Lack of enough presses at the start of the 2019 academic year, he bows out . The problem of this method: it would have excluded me from the game.

I needed something less extreme, like murdering a star author, or a juror Goncourt, or more modestly robbing bookstores leaving only my novel. These solutions were still outside my field of expertise. Yet we speak all the more of an author that he experienced a tragedy (that he spent his childhood with a sniper does not seem to be enough). I needed to overdramatize the release of My father, this killer .

Like all writers who lock themselves into the solitude of writing, I am a masochist. So I decided to blame myself rather than others. After crossing the south of France on mountain bike Without a hitch, no luck, I planted on a familiar path close to my parents-in-law, it was already three days after the release of the book, it was more than time.

Sunday August 25, Montagnac on Lède

Soft temperature, overcast, perfect conditions for mountain biking. Shortly after 8 am, I leave the house by the woods, cross a small road, continue in the woods. I have no desire to perform, I am in recovery mode and exploration. I try several trails that I do not know or badly, so that my GPS records them and I find them later on my maps, then I join one of my classic circuits that leads me to the castle Biron. I traveled 20 km, I intend to double the bet before returning (a simple ballad for me who has just aligned 700 km in a week).

Biron avant ma chute
Biron before my fall

I have good legs. On the familiar tracks, I dream. I tell myself that my book will attract the attention slowly, then I blame myself for dreaming, then I tell myself that if this book does not touch his audience, I can stop writing. At 56, I feel at a pivotal point in my career, at this point beyond which my ticket will no longer be valid, I think more than I pedal.

After thirty kilometers, I approach one of the last trails. I plague because loggers have cut a piece of forest, the cut is radical, violent, it annoys me, it saddens me, even if I know it is a reasoned forest management, but I will have to live with this gap for years.

The path goes down in a gully, goes back up, a passage that I like. It turns on an incline, it's dry, dusty, I'm thinking of deforestation, my book, my front wheel picks up, my thoughts stop, I have a second to see the ground arrive and feel the impact on the right hip, right elbow, then barely on my helmet.

I am short of breath, my GPS has come off, my glasses have flown away. I got tangled up in my bike, which went down violently, as if my front wheel had met a puddle of oil.

I breathe, evaluate my body, lying in the ground. My hip hurts, but more in the right elbow, grated, bleeding. I move it without problems, nothing serious. I pull my right leg from under the bike, but the pain breaks my will. I think sprain or fracture.

I managed to free myself, to grab my phone. I have a signal, a stroke of luck, because I'm in the middle of nowhere, in a badly covered area. First, try to get by alone. I managed to kneel on my left leg. I try to get up, but my right leg abandons me. The pain is dazzling, it crosses me from side to side, I let myself fall.

It does not look like a sprain. I call Isa, my wife, answering machine. I call Clary, my sister-in-law, answering machine. I call Tim, my eldest son, answering machine. No wonder, the family home is underserved. I call the fixed, it sounds empty. My parents-in-law have been absent and we are not coming home.

I think about Suspended Death , an extraordinary book, a broken mountaineer from one side to another crawls in a glacier, crawls in search of help. I have some qualms about giving up my bike. I may have bleeding. I drink. I swallow an energy gel. Isa is the kind not to load his mobile vacation so I remember Clary who wins.

Ma géolocalisation
My geolocation

I try to joke, in vain. I share my position on WhatsApp, I explain how to approach two hundred meters from me by car. After about fifteen minutes, Isa calls me away.

Daughters of doctors, the two sisters want to immediately alert the EMS. I want to first try a more dignified exit. I ask Isa to help me, but we can not get up, the pain is unbearable.

Clary calls 15. Can not share our geolocation with them (incredible that they are less well equipped than us). The conversation goes around in circles. Me: "Fortunately I do not do a cardiac arrest. Isa: "Yeah, you'd be dead, that's the campaign. "

We are on a path in the woods, 2 km from the first asphalt road (I could have dropped much further). Clary gives appointment at the SAMU at the carpenter of the corner, the inexorable Yvon Setze, mayor of our village, that I slipped into The fourth theory , taking pleasure in sending him some balls in the bump.

As Isa brings my bike back to the car, I drag myself on my back, on my buttocks, centimeters after centimeter, up the trail. I do not know what I'm trying to prove to myself, maybe I could have done it without a phone. Really, it's too stupid to ride a solo mountain bike. This is an advantage of road cycling, if you fall, we find you quickly enough unless you roll on your body to finish (if in the first place we did not send you to the carpet).

Isa comes back, the sun with her. It heats hard, no shade. But the wait is short, twenty minutes since Clary's departure and we hear cars approaching. Arrive the team of the SAMU Monflanquin, a village located about ten kilometers: two guys, a young woman. They evaluate my wound, measure my parameters, understand that they have to strangle me by immobilizing me.

Mesure de la glycémie
Measuring blood sugar
Ils rigolent
They laugh
En voiture
By car

I can not move, I fold my arms on my chest, they build their stretcher around me, the two men stand on either side and lift me up to a cart where they stumble before me tow to their ambulance. At each hump, I sing. Here I am embarked. The doors close again. The young woman sits next to me. From time to time, she touches me with tenderness. I want to take her in the arms. I feel safe with her.

We leave towards the hospital of Villeneuve-sur-Lot. The road shakes, I clench my teeth. My guardian angel explains that she is on call one week out of three. "Sometimes we get bored, sometimes we run everywhere. She has a job next door, in a nursery. It is 1 pm when we arrive at the emergency room. A baby screams. Lying, I see only the white ceiling, pierced with rectangular neons. My rescuers are leaving me. I thank them as best as I can. For his part, Isa is on his way to join me.

After thirty minutes, a young doctor with a Bob Marley look examines me. He: "We'll do a radio. Me: "Do you have an opinion? He: "Probable bill. At 2 pm, diagnosis confirmed, reconfirmed by a scanner. Isa arrives and the wait begins. At 3 pm, the rasta returns. He announces the color: broken neck of the femur meshed. He must consult an orthopedist to determine the procedure to follow, but he lets loose the possible need for a prosthesis. I take a blow on the head. No, no prosthesis.

La fracture
The divide

During this time, we discuss with the docs buddies on WhatsApp. "Enraged fracture of the neck equals, no surgery in urgency. It means that you have farted the neck of the femur and that the bony trabeculae are interwoven into one another. The usual treatment is rest, prevention of phlebitis by heparin since you will remain lying down. In any case, you'll be pissed off for a while. Try to send me the radios, or even the best cuts of the scanner. In general, the neck fractures are not operated, but at your age it can be discussed. You risk shortening of the lower limb. "

At 4 pm, the orthopedist of Villeneuve confirms the diagnosis but evokes the need for an operation. It does not come down to discuss with me, which leaves us in the expectation (I imagine the disorder of a patient without relation in the medical world). We recover the radios, transfer them, our friends confirm the diagnosis in their turn. "It's more than that! Fast operative indication because there is a risk of necrosis of the femoral head. Start looking for the best place to perform the procedure. It's stress. You have to intervene in less than 36 hours, or less. The faster you maximize the chances of success and recovery afterwards.

A young nurse infuses me without respecting the protocol of hand hygiene. I close my mouth, I do not unpack my science, but I freak when I see the guy sting without ever using hydroalcoholic gel. I am entitled to a series of blood tests.

We learn that the always invisible orthopedist can operate the next morning. We inquire about it. None of our local doctor friends know him. It is a substitute for the duration of the holidays. Trust a substitute without reference, no. I've heard too many twisted stories about the mercenaries running from hospital to hospital to get a lot of money. We look at Agen's side, with other doctors' friends. Here again, licensed orthopedists are on vacation. We turn to Montpellier, to our home, a larger hospital.

Isa is hung on the phone with our insurance to arrange my repatriation. We first need a doctor's name. In Montpellier, it is also the holidays. Fortunately, Dr. Laurent Guess is available at the Saint-Roch clinic. The images circulate.

Guess calls me. It was 6:15 pm He discussed with Villeneuve and explained the situation: "You have two solutions, an osteosynthesis, we screw the femoral head on the femur and wait at least six weeks for the bone to consolidate without guarantee of success, with the prohibition of setting foot on the ground, or you are put on a prosthesis and you can resume a normal life after a few days. You are a little young for the prosthesis, a little old for osteosynthesis. I can not guarantee that it will work on you. I swallowed. He adds: "To transport you to Montpellier is to run the risk of moving the fracture, thus reducing the chances of successful osteosynthesis. If I were you, I would have surgery in Villeneuve. "

No way. Guess in five minutes of conversation has already given me more information than the invisible orthopedist Villeneuve. No way to leave with this ghost. After several other exchanges with Guess, the operation is scheduled for 9 am the next day, less than 24 hours after the accident.

The paramedics sent by the insurance take me in exchange at 8:30 pm. They stink tobacco, it is to be stacked. They pack me in a shell that tightens around me, drag me to their truck. When they want to close the back door, they miss that crushing feet. They are obliged to release the shell, to slide inside, to close it in a rather rigid way around me.

We are gone to Agen. The small roads shake me. So that my hip does not move, I cling to both sides of the shell. I'm dying hot. The impotent air conditioning sends me miasmas of tobacco. I keep putting back the cushion that holds my head, without the assistant sitting next to me flinching. She will spend the trip on her mobile. I try to cheer her up, she is not talkative.

In Agen, we take the motorway direction Toulouse, then Montpellier. Less chaos, I can relax, but I can not sleep. I think of the operation, the risks of any operation with general anesthesia, I have never been operated, I think of Isa, children, I do not care about my book, its success or not, all this has the least importance.

I always die hot, my back hurts, I want to scratch, it itches. From time to time, I turn on my phone to find out where we are. After Toulouse, we stop on a highway area. The paramedics open the doors of the truck and smoke their cigarettes outside while drinking coffee.

We leave, the smell of tobacco does not leave the cabin, it permeates the clothes of the girl and the driver. I fall asleep for thirty minutes to wake up at the height of Beziers. We will soon be leaving my home and arriving at the Saint-Roch clinic. It's one AM.

Monday August 26, Montpellier

I did not take any analgesic, I have no pain in the leg, only the back, because of my transfer in ambulance smoking. At 4:00 am, I am exhausted but unable to sleep. I call the nurse. "This analgesic will relax you. "

My fall turns in a loop. What con! Falling on a path without difficulty, without the slightest risk, falling like an andouille (OK, we can not fall smartly). Two days earlier, I had rolled on the road and over-inflated my tires that I had not bothered to deflate before going out on the road. A beginner's error. I think back to an article about my Maxxis Rekkon tires, read a few days ago. "Rolling, but almost dangerous cornering for the front wheel. »Can not go back. The accident is surprising: it plunges you into disability with suddenness. You are not sick, not diminished, just torn from yourself. I feel my body super sharp, a body with which I can not play anymore. The frustration is great.

I doze. At 7 am, a young nurse enters my room. After a blood test, she washed me with betadine, not forgetting the balls, then she shaves my thigh. "We see you're a cyclist. I wear the mark of the shorts.

At 8:30 am I get off the bed for a stretcher. I'm starting to know the manip. I fold my arms on the chest, at four they grab the sheet under me and put me on the stretcher. It's never painless. Direction X-ray. My fracture did not move. This is good news. At 9:00 am, I am rolled to the antechamber of the operating room. For the first time since the day before, I see the outside, the blue sky.

The assistant-anesthetist asks me questions. Allergies? Drugs? Dentures? Braces ? Jewelry? Arrive the anesthetist. He puts the same questions to me, it's the protocol. There, surprise, he gives me the choice between a general or local anesthesia, a kind of epidural, which he describes as spinal. My choice is immediate: the local, just the idea of ​​loss of consciousness made me flipper.

He: "We will shoot you a little, the time to go back and give you the injection in the lower back. You will also be given a sedative during the operation. He leaves, the wait begins. An Arte report goes on TV. In Colombia, on a coral island, fishermen in brilliant outfits.

Another patient arrives, his stretcher separated from mine by a curtain. He is in his fourth knee operation, for the installation of a prosthesis. He too will be entitled to a spinal.

Around 11 am, Guess comes to see me, he leaves the block, wearing cosmonaut green outfit. A quadra with penetrating gray eyes. He explains to me the situation, the risks of osteosynthesis, the need to be careful during the next six weeks. For me, this future does not exist yet.

My neighbor goes to the block, then the assistant-anesthetist approaches me. " It's time. I open my eyes, she is in front of me, smiles at me. I realize that I just slept a few minutes. I am totally lucid, even extralucid. I'm lying on my side. "You are anesthetized. I try to move my legs that do not respond. The anesthetist and one of his colleagues are lying on my back.

I see my legs, but they do not belong to me anymore. Me: "A beautiful illustration of the world as will and representation of Schopenhauer. I always have the representation of my legs, but the desire to move them. They must think I'm crazy.

It is 11:45. I am transported to the block, open on the outside by a large bay window, then I slide on the operating table. The assistant-anesthetist asks me if I want a little shoot. Me: "Especially not, I want to be able to tell. "

They spread my left leg and tie it. They do the same with my right arm. "So that you do not do anything stupid with it. Then cover me with a muslin that they inflate with hot air. Guess and his assistant, a young surgeon, wear purple anti-radiation faceplates over their green outfit, because the operation will be accompanied by frequent X-rays, and then they slip over disposable protective aprons.

They are busy around my right leg, perform several radios. I can only guess their heads bent over me. Guess: "Here we have replaced your femur. They install the operative field, as well as a translucent plastic film that separates me from them. Guess calmly: "More tense film. "

Then: "The electrocautery does not work. A nurse: "I forgot to connect it. She comes to my left flank, plating an electrode at heart height. " Its good. A crackle and a smell of roast chicken. I conclude that Guess has just opened my leg.

I hear everything, I feel everything, I see Guess and his assistant, sometimes instruments that pass from hand to hand. Electric drill sounds. Guess: "Screw of 110." Then: "I'm screwing. It scratches, it rubs, I feel vibrations, I understand that after having pierced the femur, he grabs a screw. Guess repeats, "Screw 110." It's stronger than me. "110 millimeters? " He confirmed. I'm going to have a 110mm screw in the leg.

The assistant-anesthetist: "A little shoot? " I refuse. I watch the clock turn. It is 12:45. Noise of screwdriver. New drilling. Guess: "Everything is going well. Then to his assistant: "Do not put your hands like that, that's better. He guides the radio operator with short, precise, simple orders. A gray ball hovers over me and approaches my leg. I do not understand everything, many codes used, maybe not to scare me. That's when he nails me in the leg with a hammer. He does not laugh, it beats, I feel he cuts me in two or I'm in a carpentry workshop. My whole body is shaking.

"We're good, it's over. I strengthened your femur with a steel plate. They clean the wound, I understand it by their gestures. "It bleeds a lot here. I feel the cotton rubbing on my skin, in fact I represent it with the help of vibrations. The tension falls, they joke. Guess's assistant: "Do you know that my father-in-law played at Barça? Guess laughs. "They can send Messi for us to operate. She has a funny accent. I ask where she comes from. She tells me about Switzerland. Guess: "It's not pretty Swiss-German or Serbian? As an aside, he tells me that she has landed in Montpellier because she is married to a pro hand player. The affair ends in a good mood, me totally conscious, too much maybe. I think back to the hammer blows. I was crucified somehow.

I am taken to the recovery room where my mission is to move my toes. Other patients arrive, most in the soup, soon my neighbor anesthesia disembarks. We play who gets the fastest use of its ends. Then it will be a control radio, before the arrival in the room where I write these lines. I have been involved in a tremendous amount of medication, eating twice as much as usual, already feeling fat. The staff is lovely, available, pro. My friends send me messages, my children come out and leave the bazaar, and I spend my time talking on the social networks of my book and my accident.

Je suis désormais un cyborg
I am now a cyborg

Wednesday, August 28, Montpellier

Yesterday, the physio ordered me to get up. "You can do anything except put your right foot on the ground. I had a hard time believing it. He had to help me. Since then, I learned to manipulate a walker that I swapped this morning for crutches. Medicine is extraordinary. She is almost miraculous. I should have been a doctor rather than a writer, I would have more surely helped people.

If all goes well, in six weeks I will be able to walk again, then begin the rehabilitation, with I hope a little home trainer, to turn the legs. Meanwhile, the promo of My father, this killer looks difficult. I do not know if I could cover all the dates. The organizers of shows and meetings will have to treat me as a disabled person, with the constraints that it imposes. I will let myself be cajoled.

When I look back on these days of madness, I become aware of the energy expenditure that resulted from a simple fall by bike. Rescuers, doctors, nurses, our friends, my family. I felt how much my freedom depended on this gigantic machinery, usually imperceptible. I have never felt so close to a society. Without it, I would be dying in a Lot-et-Garonne forest.

Thank you for your help, your messages, your encouragement.