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Alex : It was a perfect night for riding - and the last thing I expected to happen to me.
Diary entry posted Tue 9:54am 13 January 2004

It was a perfect night for riding. I was headed home with another sportbiker friend of mine from a daytime event that ran into the evening. I always try to avoid riding at night, but that night seemed relatively harmless as we enjoyed the traffic free road along the downtown waterside. I remember thinking it was very strange that I hadn't seen a car in either direction for the last couple of miles. I was not familiar with this road and was merely following my friend when we approached a sharp rise in the road. It was a small bridge crossing one of the waterways that zigzag through downtown. As we crested the hill, my stomach dropped as I saw several stopped cars immediately in front of us that were previously obscured by the rise. There was a traffic light at the bottom of this short hill and the cars had backed up just behind the rise. My friend was in the left side of the lane and swerved around the stopped cars by using the empty oncoming traffic lane. Being on the right side of the lane, I swerved to the right and headed for the shoulder. That's when the "slow motion" mind action began. Everything that happened next happened in only seconds, but it was all in slow motion to me. As my headlight approached the shoulder, I realized there was no shoulder. There was only a 12" tall curb and concrete guardrail. My only option was to swerve back and try to squeeze between the car and the guardrail. I had braked and slowed enough by this point that I expected to squeeze by that car and maybe one other before I would safely stop. I gritted my teeth and hoped for the best as I headed for that tight, darkened space. As soon as I entered it, I felt a tremendous, disorienting jolt. A split second later, I felt an even more powerful and equally disorienting jolt. I distinctly remember hitting the ground on my back, very surprised that I wasn't on my motorcycle anymore when a big street sign on a steel pole crashed down right next to me. Thinking I was lucky it didn't land on me, I figured that was the answer to where my bike went. The reflective portion on the left shoulder of my riding jacket caught my eye through my helmet. I noticed that my left arm looked strange. I tried to move it to get up and realized I could not do that. I reached up with my right hand and grabbed my arm to put it back to my side. It felt like I was grabbing someone else's arm. I realized then that it was broken and I could not feel it properly. Deciding to deal with that later, I tried to roll over to check the other side. That's when I felt excruciatingly sharp pains in my legs. I quickly decided not to move anything at all. By then my friend was there at my side telling me not to move. A motorist was now there also and loudly announced that my leg bone was sticking out. That's when I realized everything was not OK, despite what I had been telling myself. All the disorientation stopped and the gravity of the situation hit me hard. I was fully conscious, with moderate to bad pain in my left arm and extreme pain in my legs. I wanted someone to take my helmet off for me so I could get some air, but everyone was rightfully advising against that. I thrashed my head about trying to prove that there was nothing wrong with my head or neck, but to no avail. It seemed a short time later that the EMT's arrived. They immediately began cutting off my pants, jacket, shirt, gloves and leather riding boots. I wondered when they would stop cutting, but they never did. I was soon lying there naked with my helmet on as they rolled me onto a board and then onto the stretcher. I was only a few miles from the hospital, so they called off the helicopter and loaded me into the ambulance. The ride to the hospital was very bumpy and very painful. I still had no idea what had happened to me to cause all of this. I was unloaded into a very bright room. They immediately began shoving tubes up my nose and telling me to swallow on the count of three. Every attempt felt like I was going to suffocate. I only gagged and dry heaved as they continued to block my windpipe in these attempts. After finally vomiting on myself and the EMT that was jamming these things into my face, another EMT was called and performed the procedure properly. Once this agony was over, a doctor held my midsection down while two others being pulling on my legs. I tried to scream in disagreement, but I had too much stuff in me at this point and didn't have the energy anyway. That was the WORST pain I have ever felt. I later learned that they were setting my legs and pulling the compound fracture back inside. I remember briefly seeing my wife in the OR and then everything else was a blur before waking up in my hospital bed the next day. That is when I finally learned from others what had happened. My bike had hit something - a big pothole discovered later by others that revisited the scene is the main suspect - that caused me to go over the handlebars. I then hit a large, 5" diameter steel street sign pole, which is what I remember crashing down next to me. I broke my right femur (compound fracture), my left femur and the left humerous in my arm. I was in the hospital for 2 weeks and then transferred to a rehab facility for another two weeks. I had 3 surgeries to repair everything. My stay in the hospital and subsequent therapy were not pleasant and I try not to think about it much. I won't go into much detail about that. The hospital staff had me painfully attempting to use a specially modified walker after only one week (it had a brace for my left arm to rest in). By the 3rd week after the accident, I was slowly and painfully using the walker in the rehab facility. After a month, I was home and fairly mobile with the walker. The doctor has been amazed at my progress and attributes it to my age (31) and the good physical condition I was in. It's been 3 months now since the accident (10/7/03) and I'm very happy to have found this website (although it should be www.mybrokenlegs.com for me!). My left arm has regained much of the feeling and I can once again use my hand and fingers almost normally. My left leg has healed up the best with almost no pain now and just a tight knee that needs more rehab. My right leg is the worst and is still in bad shape. I can get around on one crutch now or sometimes without on my good days. I wear an AFO brace on my right foot to offset my "foot drop". I cannot lift my foot up at all. I can barely move my big toe and only have about 20% feeling in my foot. The foot drop scares me. I'm afraid it will be a permanent disability. I was researching that when I found this site. If anyone has any experience with foot drop, please let me know. The doctor won't tell me how it will heal because he just doesn't know. Hopefully it will be ok. It's still early in my recovery, but I don't have the patience for these kinds of things. I want to be normal again, just as I'm sure all of you have felt. I scanned printouts of my xrays and made a webpage to show family and friends. If your interested, it can be found here: http://web.tampabay.rr.com/quincy/xray.htm Best of luck to everyone here that is trying to heal up too!



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 Tue 9:54am 13 January 2004
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