The Accident

Posted: August 30, 2010 in Wreckin

Me giving the "Thumbs Up" while still in my rad C-Collar

POST EDIT:  Later in the post you will read that I have a sore shoulder.  After a week of dealing with an arm that I couldnt really lift over my head I had an MRI done to find out I have a torn Rotator Cuff.  Updates will be coming soon. 

Have you ever had one of those moments in life where you think to yourself “Man, this is going to be hysterical in a few years.”  I have and I think that moment was captured in the picture above.  I asked my wife to take it, she reluctantly agreed because….well, only a few minutes earlier she was getting the scare of her life.  I have absolutely no recollection of being hit, none, nada, I have tried, I have strained but it’s simply not there.  Perhaps its better that way because I am sure if I would have remained conscious and alert I would not have wanted to hear the sounds that my body was making when it got flung into the air and landed somewhere near a gutter.  I am sure I would not have wanted to hear my head hitting something to the point I have a destroyed helmet, and I am sure I would not wanted to remember or hear my skin being sanded away by the roadway asphalt.  Ill just take my hour or so of complete amnesia and back away from the table thank you kindly. 

 I wanted to try a new route on Friday so I loaded up my jersey with an extra water bottle, my cell phone, a snack, and my Ipod.  The plan was to head a little north then jump on a Rails-to-Trails path and continue north for a very long ride.  I had nothing to do that day, the kids where in school; the wife was at work…It was going to be an awesome ride.  I turned onto Maybee road in Clarkston and that is the last thing I remember.  My next memory is a friend of mine from a neighboring Fire Department leaning over me and telling me I am at Pontiac Osteopathic Hospital.   I was strapped down to the backboard so tight I couldn’t move a muscle.  I managed to get out a “What the hell happened?”  That’s when he said “Dude, you have asked me that like 25 times on the way here.”  I have seen this before; however, it’s different when you are living it yourself.  I know that repeating questions over and over is a bad thing; it means you took a significant shot to the head.  Now I am getting worried, I take a rapid inventory and know I can feel everything and I have no significant neck or back pain.  I am wheeled into the Trauma room and all I can see is bright lights above me.

Apparently I demanded that my riding gear not be cut off of me.  Its standard practice in an ER to cut the victims clothing off leaving it a pile of tattered and cut up rags on the floor.  They managed to save my shorts by but my jersey was not so lucky…to the floor with it, tattered and shredded, my favorite one, it fit me just right.  I know there was a flurry of activity around me; I felt needles going in my arms, and EKG pads being stuck to my chest and abdomen.  A face would pop into focus in front of mine and he or she would ask a question, simple ones like my birthday, “Um…..I don’t know I think its in February” What day is it “Uh…..I think it’s Monday?”  I hear frenzied voices ordering up a STAT CT scan along with C-Spine, Back, Pelvis, and shoulder x-rays.  I feel cold all over my stomach and I know they are using an ultra sound to look at my intestines the rest of my internal organs.  I am in pain, my head hurts, my face hurts and my shoulder hurts.  My knee feel like it’s on fire and for some reason the only stitch of clothing I am still wearing is my left sock?  It is then that I utter the crazy question “Where is my bike?”  I am told that my father in law showed up on scene and took it to his house.  I ask “How bad is it?” and I am told not to worry about it right now.  I head off to the CT scan and the most x-rays I have ever had at one sitting and am wheeled back into the trauma room where my wife meets me.  We exchange some hellos and I say I am fine, wherein she calls me a bold faced liar.  I can see the worry on her face and I don’t like it, not one bit.  I want to take off the c-collar and the backboard and stand up to prove that I am fine but I am told to stop my fidgeting.   Doctors are talking to me, nurses are talking to me, a police officer is talking to me.  It’s too much to take in when I am still trying to figure out what happened.  Finally I am told the driver said he didn’t know what happened he just saw a body flying through the air.  He did stop though and called 911 from his cell phone.  He was also nice enough to collect up all of my belongings and put them into my helmet and gave it to the fire fighters when showed up on scene.  My phone, my I-pod, my watch, my spare bottle, and my snack all made it to the hospital with me thanks to him.  I was told that about 8 people stopped and helped me out prior to the Rescue arriving on scene.  One of them was even kind enough to contact my wife.  I was told that I was unconscious for over 5 minutes and regained consciousness before I was loaded into the ambulance.  I honestly do not remember.  I asked one of the bystanders to call my wife and then pointed at my Road ID; again I have no memory of this.  My mind slowly begins to clear a bit and I am starting to recall everything from the point of arriving at the hospital forward.  I ask again about my bike and I am told again to not worry about it right now.  My head CT came back clear as did all of my x-rays, nothing broken, no serious damage to my brain (although some will tell you I have had brain damage for years).  About two hours after arriving I am taken off of the backboard and the c-collar is removed and I am allowed to sit up in bed.  I ask to inspect my helmet which my wife hands me.  A giant dent in the right side of the helmet followed by cracks that penetrate all the way through the helmet.  My only real injury is a concussion, some severe bruising, a lot of scrapes and road rash and some seriously sore shoulder, hip, abdomen, and knee.  Given the fact I could be dead right now I think I got off light.  I got the choice of staying in the hospital for a day or going home, I chose “Let me the hell out of this place”  so I was released around dinner time, the accident happened at 10am.  I immediately wanted to inspect my bike so I could know if it was a total loss or not.  It’s damaged, how severe?  I don’t know, it’s in the shop right now and I am expecting a call on Tuesday to see what the final outcome will be.  Either way it may come down to shelving the bike for a while until I can afford to repair it, if in fact it can be repaired. 

 A giant thank you for the calls, the texts, and the well wishes. 

 Gene

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Comments
  1. Eric says:

    I’m heaving a sigh of relief. No more crashes. Don’t make me come up there.

  2. Max says:

    Mate, I’m so very pleased to hear you’re (mostly) intact. Heal fast.

  3. Joe S. says:

    Prayers of thanks going out on your behalf. Very happy that you weren’t broken into separate pieces. Be careful out there. I don’t want you becoming road kill before we finally get to meet and ride together.

  4. Venjeana says:

    I just found your blog from another commuting site. I am sorry to hear of the accident, but thankful you are doing as well as you are, and especially that the driver stayed and did not run away. I’m glad to hear of other riders in MI, where I also am from. I am determined to ride more and eventually get rid of my car totally.

  5. I’m so glad you’re OK. I know you’re not comfortable with the word “inspiration,” but still, you HAVE always been an inspiration to me. I never got around to actually commenting till now, but I have followed your example and shed 40 pounds, mainly through cycling. In any event, you’ve added years to your life with all the weight you’ve lost, and it’s a pity that a car could have taken that hard-won victory away from you. But it DIDN’T, so you’re still winning. Keep on biking …

    • 100poundsago says:

      Hey Average Joe! That’s awesome on the weight loss congratulations! Make sure you keep in touch will ya feel free to shoot me an email if you prefer. Would like to hear your story! Don’t worry I will be back on the road as soon as possible no stinkin rotten car is gonna keep me from riding.

      • Matt says:

        Nearly 2 years ago I got a cold, which I sorta blew off, because I never get sick really and usually recovered in 3-5 days…But this time was different

        Unfortunately as Gene knows, my condition of DMD is a extremely serious condition, so my diaphragm is quite weak, and my lung capacity so under par, that if I could walk my O2 level would drop to near critical levels after 5 feet.

        I had no energy on day 3 I think and just wasn’t able to clear my throat that well… So stupidity I did go to bed, ignorant of this condition. Luckily I wasn’t killed by sleep apnea, or a clogged airway, which likely could have occurred. Thank God, he was watching over me.

        I stayed in bed to nearly 2:30 in the afternoon, finally got antsy and got the hell up. I was looking at headphone gear and some ultra geeky piece of audio equipment I could never afford… I felt so groggy, like after drunking at a Irish pub the night before, and I didn’t even get into a bar fight, so disappointing.

        I felt so shitty but I kept telling myself my health was fine for a couple more years (thought I wasn’t at that point now). Finally I think Fuck something is really FUBAR, and that I better say something. I was actually thinking Hospital, which is a place I avoid at all costs…Like if I was bleeding moderately Id elect to DIY (Do it yourself) armchair Doctoring. I even told someone once, “I would have to be dying bleeding all over the carpet, before I’d go to the hospital.”

        I was in our sitting room, trying to clear my throat sounding like a deranged animal. My Mother said “DO YOU NEED TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL.” I was like “SHIT,” yeah we should go. I was thinking we would just drive, but I started to think of all of the people that had become statistics to DMD and actually started to feel I was becoming one myself. With bleak acceptance I said, “Lets call 911″ and stop fucking around.

        In retrospect, I don’t think I would have called 911, if not for the strong ties and developing relationships I had with Waterford FIRE/RESCUE. I had this real trust and respect, a sense of them being people who really did give a damn about me.

        When we called 911, we just waited, my thinking was I would get some oxygen on the way and get breathing treatments nd such at the hospital, maybe stay a night or two. I couldn’t have been more wrong

        Finally I hear the Sirens and we open the door to the cold winter air, it was surreal, but still wasn’t taking it too seriously, even with the Men and their rescue bags.

        The Firemen were calm, but did seem genuinely concerned, but with a air that didn’t bring panic. I remember there was at least three men. The one man asked,”so whats up and what is going on.” We told him the cold facts pretty much, and he asked what we wanted to do. We told him, “I wanted to get to the hospital.” I said, “could I get on the stretcher,” so I positioned my wheelchair near, “the suicide machine.” I now think of it as a device of doom, because brings you to my favorite war zone, “THE HOPITAL.” I was lifted by two men and laid down, then the SHIT HIT THE FAN. I immediately went in into mild acute respiratory failure. Things were definitely far worse then how I downplay them in my mind. The airway obstruction was a mucus plug (thickened mucus blocked my airway), I was starting to suffocate. I said I cant breath and started to feel panicked. “Put me out,” I said, a desperate plea to get me out as well as sedate me and intubate me. I didn’t think think of death really, I just didn’t want to suffer this feeling. Lets take a moment to breath here, before I continue.

        If you ever get the chance to enjoy insufficient oxygen to your brain, all kinds of funshit happens. First, you start to feel a cold sweaty sensation throughout your body followed a strange tingling sensation. I also know, that certain bodily functions are thrown shit to the wind(survival mode), if you catch my drift.

        In about 30seconds of insufficient Oxygen, I was in a state of unconscious, I only remember my loss of certain fluids and solids. My last memory was hitting my ramp and going into my garage. I was like a half-baked drug addict, anything after, I don’t remember a damn thing.

        I was told by my Mother and Sister, that at the POH ER I was tubed and sedated on a gurney for nine fucking hours, on my boney ass. It wasn’t until 18 hours(or was it 18 days) later that I regained consciousness in a POH ICU.

        Then 90 days of vacation in a Vietnamese prison camp. I was way under weight, looking like Doc Holiday with a meth addiction. I was 5’6″ at 68 pounds, and I actually thought was a real fat-bitch. Ok Iam out!! THE END!

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