Saturday, October 20, 2012

And Then I Was Bottled

at the house party
before the attack
In the early hours of a recent Sunday morning, probably around 12:30am, Mike and I were making our way home from a friend's house party in Walthamstow.  We had decided to take the tube home (our first trip on the tube since returning to London) as we were quite a distance from our place in Bermondsey and didn't want to deal with multiple bus changes in strange neighbourhoods at night.

We jumped on the Victoria Line at Blackhorse Road station but our train terminated just a few stops down the line and we were forced out at Seven Sisters (still quite a distance from home).  As we went for a bench to await the next train a group of boys left another car of the same train in the midst of a fight.  Mike and I just sat down on a nearby bench and waited (we were drunk and numb to any possible danger).  At this point I also decided to start filming the commotion with my mobile.  When the fight dispersed the remaining boys turned their attention to me.  One of them threw a bottle at me.  It hit me in the face.

before my stitches
The next six hours were spent in the hospital.  I received four stitches, had an X-ray to make sure there was no glass in the wound or broken bones and a CAT scan to determine if there was any brain damage.  The cops who had driven us to the hospital (because the ambulance was taking too long) stayed with us throughout and drove us home afterwards.  We made it home around 6:30am.

Sunday and Monday were spent nursing my black eye, which swelled to the point of closure, and just generally recuperating.  I stopped at my doctor's office before heading in to work on Tuesday to make sure everything was healing as it should, which it was.  On Friday I had my hair cut (with fringe; by a professional) which helped my mental healing a bit.  The stitches were removed the following Monday, eight days later.  Almost three weeks after the attack and my black eye has almost completely healed. Although the scar is looking better than I had expected I'm still traumatised whenever I look at it and I still don't have feeling in parts of my head due to the nerve damage.  But, I'm healing.

my new haircut,
almost two weeks after the attack
With the station's CCTV and my video, plus the fact that the bottle-thrower is rather easy to pick out in a crowd (think dwarf), the cops are pretty confident they're going to find the guy and get a conviction.  They tell me I'm a victim of an unprovoked attack causing GBH (gross bodily harm) and the guy is in a whole lot of trouble.  I haven't heard anything further about the case though.

There are a million ways this could've been much worse (and at least a few where it could've been avoided entirely) but my mental healing requires me to not think about the what-if scenarios.  My focus right now is on my healing (more mental than physical at this stage) and moving forward.

My support network here has, once again, proved amazing and my new friends, coworkers and employer have all been very supportive and protective and understanding.  Mike is taking excellent care of me too.  Once there's more time between me and these past few weeks, I'm sure I'll be fully healed as the doctors have predicted but, right now, I'm still pretty fragile and jumpy.  I allowed myself that first week to hide and cower but I'm slowly returning to normal and eventually I'll be fine.

my scar,
almost two weeks after the attack
The immediate aftermath had me doubting our move to NYC in January but then I remembered a coworker in Seattle's story.  She moved herself and her teenage son to New Mexico.  Two weeks after the move her son was killed in a car accident.  Death, violence, bad things happen everywhere.  We could move to the safest city in the world but it wouldn't guarantee anything.  We're still moving to NYC in January and, though I can't guarantee anything, I know I'm smarter than I was before I was bottled.  Another life lesson from this time abroad.  This one comes with a physical reminder, though.
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