Blood on the Road

Ok, that title is way over-dramatic, I was just trying to grab you attention.  I didn’t really bleed much, just a little road rash on my hand, arm, and knee.  If you are one of the rare visitors that read this blog, then you probably already know what I’m talking about.  That’s fine, you don’t need to read it all again.  I like to write these as a journal I can look back on later. A few posts (and many months ago) I wrote about getting a motorcycle and rediscovering my love of riding.  Since then, I actually bought a new motorcycle, a shiny blue 2009 Suzuki Boulevard M90, and I have been loving the hell out of riding all over the place.

On Tuesday June 1st, I was on my way into to work on I-435 in KS.  It was a nice morning, a little on the warm side, but I decided at highway speeds it would be cool enough to warrant wearing my leather jacket.  A few miles after I set out someone a couple of cars ahead of me made an aggressive lane change to get out behind a trash truck.  This caused a chain reaction of people slamming on breaks, myself included.    The car behind me however, was not paying enough attention and did not slow down.  I caught just a glimpse of it in my side mirror before the impact.  I’m not completely sure what happened, but I know I flew through the air a ways then rolled down the highway a bit.   I looked up to see a car almost on top of me, but the lady driving it managed to swerve around me, as did the next car behind her.   I was in pain, panicked, and disoriented, but I manage to drag myself off the pavement onto the side of the road.

I pulled my helmet off and started to look around.  There were cars stopped everywhere, but I didn’t take in too many details.  My right ankle was twisted at an unnatural angle, and everything hurt.  I made sure I could move everything but my right foot, and was a bit relieved that I could.  Several people were already running to check on me, including one that was a retired Oklahoma Sheriff.   He made me lay on my back and held my head and neck still in case there were any spinal injuries.

I asked someone to get my phone from my saddlebag, and I called my wife to let her know that I had been in an accident and didn’t seem to be in danger of imminent death.   The ambulance arrived and took me to the hospital which was quite an experience in itself.  It started with a nurse in the ER telling me I should have told her that I had been in a bicycle wreck instead of a motorcycle accident since motorcycle riders deserved what they got.  Either the pain and trauma from the accident, or the painkillers they gave me made me very sick, and I guess my heart rate dropped dangerously low while they were resetting my ankle.  I remember screaming during that, but not much else.

I had to have surgery to put a screw in my ankle.  I continued to have nausea and vomiting from the pain meds, so it was a pretty miserable couple of days in the hospital.  It wasn’t helped by the fact I was sharing the room with a young, good-looking guy who happened to be in the half of the room closest to the door.   While I could hear the female nurses talking to him at length, they didn’t make it past the curtain to see me very often.   In fact, by the time I went home Wednesday evening, they still hadn’t even bothered to clean the road rash on my arm and hand.

So now I’m home with my screwed up ankle, and bruised and battered body.  My shiny new bike with about $1000 worth of aftermarket accessories is trashed.  I’m waiting to hear back from the insurance company as to what payment I will get on all of that.  The big challenge ahead is maintaining the positive momentum I’ve had going for awhile.  I had been dieting and working out over the last few months.  I had lost 30 lbs and was up to running a couple of miles, which was quite an accomplishment for me.  I had some big plans for road trips other activities this year, and now all of that is put on hold for 3-4 months, at least.

My normal workouts are out of the question, and I can do no weight bearing on the ankle for 2-3 months, then I will be in a walking cast for awhile.  Of course the crutches are a workout on their own, and I may be able to manage some upper body workouts once things straighten out a bit, but I imagine I will not be able to achieve the same intensity of exercise again for some time, if ever.  There is no guarantee I will be able to run, or even walk without considerable pain once all is said and done.  That coupled with being homebound for a lot of the summer sounds like an invitation for weight gain; I’m going to of course try not to go off the deep end, but who knows.

All my vacation and road trip plans are pretty well wiped out as well.  I’m not sure at this point if the bike is salvageable, and if it is, I’m not sure if I will want to ride again.  I hope I do, but it was the most frightening and painful experience of my life, one that will continue to pain me for many months.

So, that’s where things stand now.  I came out very lucky considering; my injuries could have been a lot worse.  I will just have to see how things progress as I heal and find out what my options are as the joyful experience of wrangling with insurance companies continues.