Once again I’m impressed and humbled by the fortitude of those whose bodies have been wrecked on the road.
A young man (weeell – approaching 40?) has joined our meal table. Covered in tattoos and wearing a baseball cap above his limbs encased in white plaster, he is turning out to be an articulate and forthright conversationalist.
He is a policeman – one of those who gets called out to attacks, thefts or car chases. His current wife is a municipal policewoman (explaining the organisation of the police in France is another whole subject). He has been hospitalised 13 previous times for injuries incurred at work – fractures, broken noses, sprains…. – but this time he was off duty.
His car was hit by a driver in an oncoming cabriolet taking a corner badly and hitting him head on. (The driver, who was not wearing a seat belt, was killed instantly.) His wife was in a coma for five days but is now back home; he had major damage to an artery and multiple fractures everywhere. His life is not out of danger, he faces a long uncertain future of operations, with possible paralysis of one arm, and both their lives in the police as well as a private life dedicated to sport is probably over. And although well insured they face years of legal hassles to get compensation
Every time he talks of the accident he repeats at least they are alive, and thank god his 15 year old daughter was not in the car. His eyes light up when he talks of her, and I can see why when I saw the pretty girl pushing his wheelchair round today. At least he seems to get many visits from current wife, ex wife, daughter and many many colleagues.
Interesting footnote on choice of cars. He told Marie Laure that she probably owes her life to having been in a Smart car, which he reckons to be one of the safest small cars on the road. And he says if money were no object he would always buy a German car for safety in accidents.