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I Am Not Broken

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Thank you to all for your calls and support. Below is a graphic description of what happened to me this past Wednesday. Please do not read the description or look at the pictures if you are sensitive. I do not write it to shock. I write it to help answer the questions from the many calls I have not taken. This has been a very emotional experience for me. I write it to remind me of what I have and understand how blessed I was to not die. I have been reminded of how many loved ones I have. I am fortunate to be alive. I blessed beyond my understanding.
*****
I laid my head back on the hot road and covered my eyes with my hands. I was in deep pain, but I was thinking clearly. I listened to the car rumble past me hitting objects along the way until finally coming to an abrupt, noisy stop. I had just glanced at my left leg that was trapped under my motorcycle. My pants were ripped extensively enough to reveal a severe, bleeding wound beneath. The pain felt as if a hot piece of metal was constantly being thrust into my leg with the rhythm of my heartbeat. I could see small pieces of my flesh on the ground near my leg. I did not know how much blood I was loosing, but I knew that this was not a minor injury.

People began to stop to see what they could do. I could hear multiple calls being made. Somebody brought me a pillow and put it under my head. I could hear whispers of how severe people thought my injuries were. Some well-meaning people suggested that a belt should be applied above my leg to stop the blood flow and others debated whether to remove my fallen motorcycle from my leg. One fellow kneeled at my head and seemed to take charge until the ambulance arrived. He talked to me and told me to hang on. He had a heavy beard and resembled a hard-working heavy equipment operator. However, for the perceived eternity I laid on the road, he was my Good Samaritan. I am thankful to him.
***
It was 10:30 and the morning was the perfect temperature for a motorcycle ride. It was about 70 degrees and the perfect conditions to take a leisurely country ride for an hour before I had to get back to work. I stopped on the corner of Hubbard and Cloverdale heading West. Cloverdale does not have stop signs but Hubbard does. I was going to continue on Hubbard through Cloverdale to head back to my office. That is when I saw her. I drive defensively and I noticed that a woman heading South on Cloverdale was not watching the road or me. She appeared heavily distracted. She was turning East onto Hubbard and was still driving very fast through the turn. I was at a complete stop and my bike is bright red, but she was driving right into my lane, straight at me. I was trapped, I could not predict what she was going to do and though time seemed to stand still for a moment, I decided the only thing I could do was scream at her.

As I began to scream I saw her look me in the eyes, but it was too late. The force of the car hurdled me over my handlebars with the left edge of my handgrip digging deep into my leg. I believe I landed with a thud on her hood as the front of her Civic pushed my bike in front of her briefly like a snow by a plow. I believe that combined with my scream and the realization of what was happening, the driver turned sharply throwing me from her hood, releasing my bike and sending her another 60 yards down a nearby driveway into a house. As I was thrown from the hood, I extended my hands to break the fall when I found my self on the road with my motorcycle on my left ankle.

As I lay on the hot surface by myself, many thoughts rushed through my head. I knew I was hurt, but the extent was still not clear. I kept seeing the woman’s eyes as she realized she was about to hit me head on. I thought of my wife and four children and that I wanted to call them. I did not want a policeman having to make that call. Angela and her family had received “that” call before when a driver killed her brother. I wanted to be the one who called my wife. Much had been taken from me as I lay on the road, so I decided to take control back the best I could. I decided to get involved.

I started doing what I do best, I delegate. My Good Samaritan would not let me get up or move so I used what they could not stop, my mouth. I asked that my phone be found. I wanted to be the one making the calls and I needed a phone. It could not be located so I asked people to call it. When it was finally located, I told someone where to find my wallet and to make it available to paramedics when they came. I even felt pretty good that one of the callers described me as a 32-year-old male.

The woman who crashed into me came to my side. I felt very bad for her. She was devastated. Through a panicked and tear stricken voice she pleaded, “Buddy, please be okay. Please be okay. What can I do for you?” I replied simply and straightforwardly, “Tell the police the truth. Tell the police the truth.” She then held my hand for a brief moment in an attempt to comfort me.

When the ambulance arrived they acted quickly. They began to cut my clothes off. They followed protocol and I soon found myself with nothing on but my underclothes. They had cut my belt off; my favorite Japanese golf shirt and my blood soaked jeans.

Because of my many bruises and cuts on my body, the paramedics acted appropriately in case of chest, head and spinal trauma. What caused me the most fear was their description of my leg. The female paramedic thought she saw shortening of my left leg and told the others to prepare to reset my leg there and splint it. Images of old westerns went through my head and I wondered if they were going to give me something to bite on before they yanked on my leg right there on the road. Luckily for me they were able to get me on the stretcher and notice that my legs were still the same size. No biting of the bullet was going to be required.

Before getting in the ambulance I made sure I had my wallet and phone. As we travelled to the hospital I called Angela to ask her to meet me there because I may have a broken leg. I did not give her all the details because I did not want to panic her. She thought I was kidding. I tend to joke around a lot but this was definitely not one of those occasions and she soon realized that.

I asked the ambulance to please go to St. Lukes because of my insurance coverage. The paramedics told me that my heart rate was very low and with the bruises on my chest, they needed to take me to the closest trauma unit. I argued, but they were driving. I cued the video player on my phone to my last physical so the paramedic would know what my usual heart rate was and then asked her to take pictures of me to document what happened for insurance purposes.

I was given morphine, but the pain was incredible. I tried to be tough, but I still let out the occasional whimper. It is not in my nature to be strapped down, so I kept talking. It helped me deal with the pain.

When we got to the hospital I could hear the paramedic giving the doctor an account of what had happened. I decided I could help. I started giving him my details too. One of the nurses asked me nicely to be quiet so the paramedic could finish, then it would be my turn. I shut up for a bit.

After the field dressing was removed, I was able to see an injury that looked horrific. I later sent a picture of it to a friend from Israel who said the only time he had ever seen anything like that was in war, and the guy died. There were four major injuries. The largest was approximately 14 inches long and had opened up to about 6 inches wide revealing my thigh muscles. The other three ranged from 2 to 3 inches long. To stay sane, I videoed the cleaning of the wounds and even took some footage of the doctor cutting away dead muscle tissue. The doctor eventually asked me to stop filming. To ensure I stopped, they put me out and took me to surgery to stitch me up.

I was examined from head to toe. In the end, no bones were broken. No structural damage occurred to my knee. The pain has been incredible, but I am grateful to still have my leg. I have gotten emotional at times as I see the driver’s eyes and her realization of what was about to happen. However, I am grateful to be alive.

I believe that we all have challenges to over come. I believe we learn things about ourselves when we are going through challenges. Like everyone else, I have had challenges in my life that I have worked to overcome. I have been hurt physically but I have never been so close to the real possibility of death. It terrified me how others can hurt us emotionally and physically. Some people hurt us on purpose, and others, like this poor driver, through negligence or accident. It is in moments of challenge that we know who we can really count on. I am thankful to God, I love my family, I adore my wife, I cherish my children, I have magnificent friends and I am grateful to be breathing.

I am deeply bruised, but I am not broken.

*****

The car pictures are from KTVB.

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I Am Not Broken

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