16 & 9 year birthday celebration!
I wasn't going to share this with the site at large but as it is auto related I decided to go ahead and tell my tale. 16 years ago I got on a GSX R750 and went for a spin. As I was recently separated from my wife I REALLY was not in the right frame of mind to be doing such. I did anyway. At a certain point I realized I needed to get off and have a friend come get me. I didn't want to hurt anyone else and was being stupid. I went to pull into a church parking lot. I was going less than 35mph. I cut the corner of the turn, went through the grass and hit a drainage pipe I couldn't see. I went over the handlebars but worse I put my left leg out. I got a compound pelvic fracture before I hit the pavement. I hit hard. Cracks up both sides of my helmet and the chin portion was ground away. I bled out and died on the scene. My BP was 0/0, heart rate 0 when the helicopter arrived. They labeled me STAGE 3 Un-Survivable injuries!! I do remember going to the other side and no bright lights for me. I won't go into the full story but I was in front of my maker and his voice. I was told to come back and try again. Upon coming to my chest hurt like hell! They had just used the paddles several times and brought me back! I was loaded into the helicopter and remember the flight. At one point I remember thinking, "I sure hope the blades don't stop - this is a flying brick". What a juxtaposition. Next thing I remember was crashing through the doors into the hospital. For the next 30 days I was kept in a drug psychoses as my injuries were horrific to say the least. For the sake of brevity I will leave out the drug psychosis but it was horrible nightmarish hell. Upon waking from the drug psychosis I saw my legs and they were as big around as my forearms( I am 6'3" and was 240 at the time of the wreck). My mother was there and I asked her if those were my legs. She told me they were and what had happened. She asked if that wreck was a suicide attempt. I looked at her and said, "Mom, I own a car that is good for 172mph, do you REALLY think I would use anything other than my car"? She said, "no, I guess not. I could not move my left leg or wiggle my left toes. I had severed two of the three nerves in the left leg and torn the 3rd to where only 20% remained attached. I had a crushed pelvis, sacrum, coccyx, lower 3 vertebrae. They didn't find it for another month but my left shoulder had also been broken and healed incorrectly. The pain was so intense it was unbelievable and this was on morphine drip no less. I was put back together with 4 bolts, 3 washers and superglue - even have the x-rays. The wreck had so far cost over $2M. I had exceeded the lifetime limit of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of TN. Instead of putting me into a rehab center they put me in a home. I was the youngest person there by 60 years. I had my 32nd birthday there. I had tubes in my side and behind sucking me shut as there was nothing left to sew shut!! It was so uncomfortable. I was there 2.5 months and to this day I will still say that was the worst time of my life bar none. They had a small rehab facility and I was able to work my body back up. I was still non-weight baring status on my left leg and would be for sometime. Wheelchair bound I went home alone. I had separated from my wife in October and it was now March. I was alone. 15 hours away from any family, my friends were all burned out from watching me in the hospital and home. I made the choice to try to return to work. It was my only identity left. I began working from home at first. I had a real difficult time so I returned to the office - still in a wheelchair. It didn't go well at all. Stuff I literally did in my sleep I could no longer do. I was on so many narcotics I was falling asleep at my desk, breakroom, car or just sitting in a meeting. I received divorce papers at my desk and was a total mess. I should have gone home but did not. Not a good day. Eventually I was fired for a career ending move I had made. I would have fired me too but I won't go into what it was. Luckily I had a friend who owned a temp agency and was employed immediately. At this point I had graduated from wheelchair to full leg brace. It was June. I went to the golf course and played nine holes. It hurt like hell and I had tears streaming down my face but damn I did it. I bring this up because two weeks before the wreck I met a golf pro at a friends party. He told me how to fix my swing. So the entire time I was bed ridden I had visualized what he taught me. Low and behold the first ball off the tee went perfectly straight up the middle! No longer had the distance because my left arm healed incorrectly but the balls went straight. Two old guys were sitting on a bench behind the clubhouse. They saw me, tears and all, and I overheard one say to the other., "Now THAT'S dedication". I didn't stop to tell them my story as I was exhausted and in pain. But I will never forget that day. During this time I still had my M6 and had spend time in rehab working my left leg with one thing in mind - driving my car which I loved oh so much. I was able with no problems - leg brace and all. Eventually I had to sell my beloved 1987 M6. I watched her drive away on what would have been my fifth anniversary. I cried, not about the divorce but for my Isabella (1st owner named her and I was 3rd). In time walked right out of that brace and graduated to a cane. I was on 100micrograms/hr of fentanyl. I was tired of having my soul stolen so I ripped it off, went through a month of dt's that were so awful there are not words. Once it was done I went for the first walk I had taken without aid since the wreck. It was only half a block and exhausted me but I didn't give up. Kept going for walks eventually working my way up to over a mile - without aid. Eventually I ran out of retirement money and moved to lived with my Mom and stepdad near Quantico. 2.5 years I slept 16-20hrs/day. I finally go approved for disability, which took 2 years, and bought a 2002 VW Passat wagon (silver w/tinted windows and lenses). I moved to Denver to be legal for a certain type of pain med (we don't need to discuss this here). I was living with my BFF from college when I got a job to be a full-time Nanny. I was the keeper, so to speak, of two seriously messed up teens. PTSD to say the least. They had experienced the worst things at the hands of their grandfather. Their mother asked me to help so she could have a nervous brake down. It was an extremely rewarding experience as I was able to get through to and help those kids. It was a great time. And then 8 years TO THE DAY of that wreck I wake up in a hospital outside of Denver paralyzed from the chest down. I see a line in my arm, realize it's opiates and try to rip it out. I could barely move my arm and could not use my fingers. Out of nowhere my Dad jumps across the bed grabbing my arm telling me no I need it. I look over to see my Mom and Step-Dad sitting there. "What happened"? Mom looks at the two of them and says, "It seems like we just did this". Then she tells me that I had West Nile Infection, meningitis, encephalomyelitis and Gillian-Barre Syndrome. WHAT?! IN DENVER? IN 2012 the summer it was so dry I saw the Springs and Boulder from my bedroom window and could clearly see the flames?! Even the CDC was baffled. There WAS NO STANDING WATER. I went to rehab. My first day the entire team came in and told me there was limited space that if I wasn't going to work they would have to let me go. They then asked what me goal was. I said, "I am going to walk out of here". I saw them all look at each other and someone said, "yeah David, that's a great goal". I didn't understand their dismissive response. I worked my butt literally off. I lost so much more weight it was amazing. I was eating all I could stuff in my face - they made everything I wanted and more. Great food believe it or not. Couldn't eat enough. The day before I left I had just run up a flight of stairs. When I got to the top I turned and asked my PT if my recovery was in anyway normal for a West Nile survivor. She dropped everything in her hands and looked me in the eye and said, "David, we gave you less than 50/50 chance of ever walking again and given your previous injuries it's amazing". THAT was why they had that response. They didn't think I would. On the last day I made sure that every single person, doctor and nurse saw me walk off that floor. I was later called by the Director and asked if I would come back to cheerlead as I had done while there. I had the experience of coming back from this type of thing not once but twice. I could tell patients what doctors and nurses could not - what it actually takes. I had helped a lady who was going to get thrown to out give it her all. She too later walked off that ward. West Nile left me with fatigue. The other complications left my body with nervous system damage and resulting body wide constant pain. Opiates do not work. I deal with extraordinary levels of pain anywhere there is a nerve ending including organs. Yes, I feel pain in every single part of my body all of the time and even in my dreams. Why is any of this story important. Well for starters if yourself is telling you to not do something for god's sake don't do it. Listen to your gut. Don't do stupid things on your motorcycle so that means staying off when angry or self-destructive. Wrecks that do not take your life DO end in physical damage. It's life long. I just happen to be stupid lucky and was living in Memphis, TN, one of five US cities doing a double blind study on Polyheme - the fake blood. A quarter was flipped on the scene to see if I was even going to get it. Think you are that lucky? IF you do end up with physical damage that seems insurmountable remember one thing - NEVER give up. If you have to scream, yell, curse, pray, bleed, sweat and beg - keep giving it absolutely everything you have as a human being. No one else is going to do it for you! So today I celebrate as my OTHER birthday. 16 years since the wreck and 9 since West Nile. ** Drive Tribe is my escape from pain and many of you have seen this comment from me. Now you know more of the story. I hope this helps even one person. (I have left things out of this story for the sake of brevity. I will elaborate further on parts of this in comments or in private.)