12-28-2003, 09:37 PM
My father almost left this plane of existence Saturday if not for his Shoei RF 900, the full leathers helped also.
He was tail gunning a group of 5 from Plano Honda Riders Club. The weather was very poor with mist, and a light sprinkle off and on. They had stopped for lunch in Denison, and were going to look for some interesting twisties in the area before heading home. They ended up on a farm road somewhere around Sherman when they hit a low spot in the asphalt that was slick as ice.
Nobody could say for sure what went wrong since my dad was in the back but, he lost control, and flew 150 feet before stoping abruptly in a ditch with oil and scattered parts all around.
He was taken by ambulance to the hospital in Sherman, where they cut off the leather pants and one boot. He had taken off the helmet on his own after making sure all of his parts were working.
He dislocated his ankle, broke a number of bones in his leg, broke 2 ribs, and bruised both lungs.
The surgery was put off for 24 hours to make sure his lungs weren't punctured. He had pins put in his ankle to hold it all together.
I spoke with him shortly after he got out of surgery, and although he was a bit slow, he made it clear that I needed to get his bike to Plano Honda as soon as possible to get the repairs started, and to buy him a new helmet before they go off sale!! I guess nobody wanted to tell him the bike is totaled.
I haven't told him either, but I will call and have the remains sent to the dealer. I don't want to be the bad guy. :roll:
I am really glad he is ok, and I really hope his attitude isn't drug induced! My mom said he has been on morphine since he arrived at the hospital.
Just wanted to share the joy!
12-28-2003, 09:41 PM
glad to hear your father is going to make it :)
What kind of bike was he on? & what do you think he might choose next?
Glad he's OK! It all sounds non-life threatening and his awareness of a money saving opportunity as well as his desire to get his bike fixed are all excellent signs.
12-28-2003, 10:05 PM
Glad to hear he was wearing the leathers and the helmet. I don't even want to think what would have happened had he not been dressed appropriately.
Tell him about the bike. He can handle it. Give him something to think about besides his mending. Dreaming of the new bike...
12-28-2003, 11:20 PM
:tab I'm really glad to hear your Dad is okay. Something like this can really shake up the whole family. The bike is a nonissue, they are replaceable. Here is my experience with this. I sent this letter out a few days after my Dad had a pretty bad accident while we were riding together:
For those of you that have not already been told, Dad had a pretty
serious motorcycle accident Saturday evening around 7:00pm. He is at Herman Hospital in Houston right now. They moved him from the Intensive Care Unit this morning into a private room. He is expected to be released either Tuesday or Wednsday of this week. Then comes the long recovery at home.
We were riding together East of Navasota on some favorite backroads.
After one series of particularly tight turns, I slowed down to wait for Dad to
catch up. He often rides behind me at his own pace and I will slow down to wait for him every mile or two. We were using bike-to-bike communicators at the time. However, I did not hear anything when he went down. After stopping for a minute and not seeing him behind me, I knew something was wrong and took off to find him.
As I rounded a turn about a mile or so back up the road, I found his
bike laying on the side of the road overturned. I spotted him laying in the
ditch on his back and not moving. As I pulled up and dismounted, he was
starting to move his arms and trying to look around. I did a quick check for any major trauma that I would be able to do anything about, but there were no obvious external injuries. He did not appear to be in shock and seemed to be able to breathe okay. He was complaining about his chest and back hurting.
Fortunately, I had cell coverage in this area so I called 911 and had
them dispatch an ambulance from Bryan/College Station. Because of his
age (61) and the nature of the accident, they made the call to have a Life
Flight chopper called in to the scene. This occured about 7:05pm.
By this time, a fellow pulling a trailer came upon us and pulled over
to help. He got Dad's bike off the road and helped me give Dad a more thorough looking over. We loosened his helmet strap but left the helmet on him. We unzipped his jacket as well. He could move everything and feel everything, but he had no idea where he was or why. His head took a pretty severe impact with the ground. Fortunately, he was wearing a full face helmet that gave it's life for his!
A minute after the first guy stopped, a second car pulled over. It was
a Dentist and his family out for the evening. He monitored Dad's pulse while we waited for the ambulance to arrive. I called Mom to let her know there had been and accident and that we had help on the way. She took it very well.
While Garvin, first guy, and the Dentist, name unknown, watched over
Dad, I walked back up the road the direction he had come from to try to see what had happened. His helmet visor, gloves, and pretty much ALL of his pants pockets contents were strewn around near the point where he hit the ground and came off the bike. When I first got to him, there were sticker burrs on his face and around the foam cushioning in the helmet. So he obviously did some serious rolling and tumbling before coming to a stop in the ditch. Thank God he did not roll onto a stick or anything sharp after the helmet visor came off. I picked up what I could find and Garvin put it in a bag for me.
I moved my bike off the road. We were between two curves so anyone
coming around would not have much time to see us and react. A few other cars had stopped over the next few minutes. I sat with Dad waiting. He appeared to have lost the ability to form any kind of short term memories at all. He could remember his birthday, who I was, and many other long term memories, but could not remember the answer to his questions from just a minute before. This caused him to just keep asking the same series of questions over and over, "Where am I?", "What happened?", "Why am I laying here on my back?" He could not remember any details of the accident at all. The up side of this was
that he was actually quite calm because he did not realize what was going on and that he was hurt. His pulse rate never got over 80 bpm.
He kept complaining about his chest and back, and also that it was hard
for him to breathe. I called 911 again just to let them know, I guess I was
thinking they might be in contact with the ambulance by radio and they might need to know this before they arrived. The ambulance came from about 20 miles away and made it there in about 15 minutes. They were on site by 7:20 pm. We heard the sirens in the distance and then flagged them down as they rounded the corner.
They went through all the standard questions, age, medical condition,
allergies, what happened, etc,... Before they arrived I could see that Dad's left collar bone was sticking up against the skin, obviously broken. His right thumbnail had been peeled back about halfway and folded over on itself. Otherwise his hands and arms looked to be in very good shape.
I think he owes that to the fact that he was wearing a brand new
Aerostitch Jacket he had just received in the mail Thursday afternoon. He got to wear it Friday afternoon when he ran to town on the bike. It has armor in the shoulders and elbows and is supposed to be abrasion resistant. The ambulance guys made short work of his jacket and clothes. The jacket was worth every penny for a one time use because I truly believe it saved his arms and most of his torso from more serious impact and rash injuries.
Watching the paramedics check him over was pretty scary. Every time
they poked and prodded he groaned in obvious agony. Then I had to help them get him onto the back board. One guy held his head, another his feet and I rotated his hips. He did not like this one bit and let us know. I think I must have shut down my emotions and feelings because I was in zone mode just doing what had to be done. It was not fun. The dentist got out of the way and then left before I could get his name and thank him for stopping to help.
Once we got him on the board, they taped his helmet to the board to
immobilize his neck. They had been trying to give him oxygen, but the helmet was in the way. Since he was breathing, they decided not to remove the helmet due to fear of possible neck injury. By this time, the Highway patrol and several Sheriffs had arrived on scene and blocked the road. Then I found out that the Life Flight was en route, that scared me. I could not help but think that things were obviuosly more serious than the paramedics had let on. Then they told me that I would not be allowed to ride with him.
As soon as I found out that the chopper was on its way, I called Mom
and told her where they were taking him. I asked her to get in the car and get moving that direction so she could get there as fast as possible. Again, Garvin showed his clarity of thought and suggested that Mom head our way and he could take me to meet her so I could go with her to the hospital. He lived just back up the road a mile or two and he volunteered to come back and get the bikes with his trailer and take them to his house and keep them for us. Coincidentally, he works at the Kawasaki dealership in College Station and Dad's bike is a Kawasaki Nomad 1500. This guy is worth is weight in gold.
I think it was now around 7:25 and there were quite a few people
milling about. Many of them were looking through the weeds for any of Dad's personal effects that I may have overlooked. They were are pretty nice folks, I really appreciated their help. They put everything in a bag and placed it in Garvin's van.
Dad was moved into the ambulance and they removed his helmet and
retaped his head to the board. A few minutes later, the roar of the chopper coming in overhead was deafening. How he found us out in the middle of the boonies is amazing. I guess once he got in the general area, all he had to do was look for flashing lights in the middle of a lot of darkness. The sun had just set a few minutes earlier. It was a beautiful evening and a nice sunset. Then it got dark right before the chopper came in. It was about 7:30 pm. He hovered over head and then cranked up a pretty serious spotlight to have a look around for power lines, trees and vehicles. He came in and set down about 20 yards up the road in the middle of the next curve.
They got Dad stabilized and moved him into the chopper. It was a very
fancy and new looking craft. Obviously a dedicated Life Flight design and not some retrofit. Strangely, that made me feel a little better. I got close to Dad and tried to tell him what was happening and where they were taking him. He was still completely confused but still very calm. It really killed me not being able to go with him. It was hard to let him out of sight.
As the chopper started to wind up we backed off. I tried again to call
Beth (my wife). She had been at a friends in Houston all day. I called the
house and left a message for her on the machine. Thank God she did not hear it before we contacted her. With the sound of the chopper lifting off in the background and the obvious strain in my voice she would have been pretty concerned. The chopper took his time lifting out and clearing the surrounding trees. Then he zoomed off into the blackness. I cannot even begin to describe the feeling of emptiness and the sense of helplessness as I watched the helicopter fade out of sight and earshot. It was now about 7:40pm.
I spent a few minutes just kind of wandering around in a mental haze.
One of the ladies there came by to make sure I was okay. I think I was just coming down off the adrenaline rush. Garvin opened the gate to a pasture right where Dad went down and pushed the bikes back up out of sight and locked the steering on them. His relatives own land. He had to go drop off some deer feed and unload his 4 wheeler and then he would come back and load up the bikes.
I had to spend a few minutes answering questions for the paramedics and the highway patrol. Give them insurance stuff, addresses, etc,... Then I just stood for a minute or two and looked around. I still could not figure out what had happened. The accident scene just did not look right for Dad's slow and cautious style of riding. The point where he left the road and the direction of the bike's travel did not jive with the shape of the curve. There were no skid marks or scrapes on the pavement. Nothing to indicate that he was wrestling with the bike to maintain control.
Garvin came by and asked if I was ready to go. I climbed in the van
with him and we drove off. I was still pretty numb from it all. A few
minutes back up the road we stopped at the gas station where Mom was
supposed to meet us. She pulled in not more than a minute or two later. She was much calmer now after about a 30 minute drive to get here. I finally took off my jacket and Garvin saw that my shirt was dripping. The temperature was in the high 90's with very high humidity. Garvin came through for me again. He had a clean shirt in the van that fit me and insisted that I take it. We swapped phone numbers and I thanked him again, then Mom and I took off for Houston, over an hour and a half away. It was about 8:00pm. One of the longest hours in my life.
We tried calling Beth again and got her on her cell phone. She had it
off earlier because her battery was getting low and she was trying to save it. We told her what had happenend and gave her the number to the hospital so she could head straight there. Fortunately, she was already in Houston and only about 15-20 minutes from the hospital. I think she got there around 8:30-8:45 or so. Dad arrived about 8:10pm. That chopper is apparently pretty quick. We were easily 85-90 miles out from the hospital as the crow flies.
It was a long drive to the hospital. We arrived about 10:15pm. Beth
met us in the emergency room and gave us the early prognosis. Mom and I went back to see him while Beth stayed out front with my nine year old nephew. He lives with Mom and Dad and he was kinda freaked. Dad was in the Major Trauma section of the emergency room.
By the time we arrived, he was stable. They had already done a CAT
Scan and determined that there were no life threatening internal injuries.
Then they started the X-Rays. They had already done his chest and arms. I saw the images. The left collar bone had about a half inch of space between the ends. I could not see the cracks in the ribs, but his 4th and 5th ribs on the left side were fractured. His seventh vertebrae (from the top) had a fracture but it was not all the way through, so the vertebrae was still in one piece. Other than a severe concussion and the memory loss, his head suffered no external injuries. Thank God he doesn't ride a Harley with no helmet. He would likely be dead or a vegetable right now.
He was still out of it mentally. The doctors were still poking and
prodding to look for non-obvious injuries. There were more X-Rays done. The small bone between his left pinky finger and his wrist is broken. His legs and feet were in great shape. The right side of his right leg below the knee had some skinned areas, but nothing requiring grafts or even bandages, just big scab factories. He could still feel and wiggle all of his extremeties. He was in a great deal of pain, every breath excruciating because of the ribs and tender soft tissue damage from being thrashed around so violently. But until they finished their evaluation of his condition, no pain killers.
I found the bag with all his personal items. In it was the remains of
a brand new day glo yellow Darien Jacket. Bummer, but very replaceable. Dad was still asking the same questions over and over. He could not remember the jacket at all. The Resident put a splint on his left hand. They finished up the evaluation and then it was Morphine time. This made Dad very happy. He remained calm throughout the whole thing, even cracking the ocassional joke or two. I watched his heart rate monitor and never saw it exceed 85 bpm.
After about an hour and a half, they were ready to move him up to the
Shock/Trauma Intensive Care Unit. We followed him for a ways and then they made us go into the waiting room. As we were going down the hall, the doctor told us that all three Life Flights had just been dispatched to the same accident scene. Thank God he got there before that mess hit. Once they got him set up in the ICU ward, they let two of us come up to see him. Mom and I went up.
For the next hour, he just kept asking the same questions over and
over. I would say, " you had an accident on your bike," that would be followed by, "I did? I don't even remember being out riding the bike, what happened?" And so it went. I have to admit, at this point I was getting pretty worried and scared. I am not prepared to lose my Dad yet, be it by death or mental incapacitation. The doctors assured us that this kind of memory loss was not unusual, but that just does not ease the fear. By asking him questions I managed to figure out that he could not remember anything within about the last 5-6 weeks, but prior to that he did a pretty good job or recollecting.
Around 2:30am I decided it was time for Beth and I to take Justin and
head home. Mom decided to stay with Dad. We got in around 4:00am and pretty much just collapsed in exhaustion. My whole body ached, deep down in the joints. I guess I was really tense and just did not realize it. I hit the ibuprofen and conked out hard.
Sunday morning I began calling around and letting some of our friends
and relatives know what was going on. Everybody has been great and very supportive. My brother and his wife came down that afternoon. I went back out to the scene with my camera and took a bunch of pictures to preserve the site. I figure Dad may want to check it out later to try to piece together what happened. Then I went and picked up my bike at Garvin's. He had already taken Dad's bike to the shop so they could get started on it first thing Monday (yes they are open on Mondays unlike most bike shops). Riding back through the scene on my bike was a wierd feeling. That curve is going to stay with us a long time.
About 4:00pm Sunday, we headed back down to Houston to see Dad.
When we arrived we ran into some of our long time friends. They had all spread the word and many of them came up to the hospital to see Dad. Many of them know him from way back in their preteen years. I got to say a few quick hellos before going in to see Dad. I came back out a few minutes later and they were all gone, doh! Dad really appreciated them coming to see him, it really means a lot to him and us. Thanks!
His condition is drastically improved. He can now recall just about
everything right up until about 20 minutes before the accident. He is no
longer repeating all of the same questions over and over. He would ask
questions and remember the answers. He recognized everybody and knew their names. He did tend to drift in and out somewhat because of the painkillers. I cannot describe the sense of relief that came over me after talking with him for a few minutes. It seems that he may actually come out of this unscarred, bruised and very sore.
He is in a neckbrace and immobile on his back for the most part. The
brace aggravates him becasue it pushes on the top of the shoulder, which is severely bruised and also has the broken collar bone. He is in very good spirits. Assuming he is not so stiff and sore as to not be able to move, they will wheel him out about the middle of the week and we will bring him home and lay him up for a while.
After revisiting the scene of the accident, I have a pretty good idea
what happened, just not the why. Coming out of a pretty sharp right hand turn, Dad crossed the yellow line and the oncoming lane. Right at the exit of the turn, of the left side of the road is a gravel turn off into someone's property. He appears to have left the pavement near the start of the gravel, stayed right next to the edge of the road travelling parallel to the road (as if he had cleared the turn) and then on the far side of the gravel there was more loose gravel where the rear of the bike slid out to the left and started coming around on him. This put the bike into a slide moving sideways but leaning away from the direction of travel. This is commonly referred to as a low side, you've seen stuntmen do it a hundred times in the movies. They lay it over and it slides into something and explodes.
However, in Dad's case the next culvert in the ditch was not explosive.
It did however cause the bike to stand up and flip over onto the left side of the bike. Apparently, Dad was still on the bike and hanging on. The impact with the pavement at this turn in is probably where most of the damage was done. I could actually see where the helmet hit and dented the ground. I believe that the left side of his head hit first, probably with the shoulder and left hand. The left side of the bike is trashed. From the scratches on the top of his helmet, it appears that he may have gone inverted with his feet coming over him and his head hitting and scrapping the pavement again, quite hard.
After the impact, he and the bike went separate ways. The bike slid
another 40-50 feet along the edge of the road, throwing huge chunks of gravel out into the road as it went. It ended up almost upside down laying over towards the bottom of the ditch. The engine cut off automatically via a lean angle switch. Dad cleared the culvert and went another 30 feet or so and landed on his back in the ditch in a wide grassy area. This is where I found him when I came upon the scene.
There were no witnesses as we were out in the sticks. The right people
came along at the right time and from the time of the accident on, things could not have gone better. I firmly believe that God was watching out for Dad. All said and done, we and Dad are very fortunate. My imagination ran wild with possibilites of how much worse this could have been. For a night our future was very uncertain. It can all change in an instant. That seems like a cliche', but it is a rock solid reality and this was a very sobering reminder of that simple fact.
Don't take your loved ones for granted, you never know how long they
are going to be here... or you!
12-28-2003, 11:48 PM
aieee, chihuahua, dd, hope your dad mends quickly...!
12-29-2003, 12:49 AM
Hope your father has a speedy recovery, David. Your's and Scott's stories are both good reminders of the importance of wearing the gear.
12-29-2003, 06:22 AM
glad to hear your father is going to make it :)
What kind of bike was he on? & what do you think he might choose next?
The bike was a 2003 GL 1800 (Goldwing), and i'm sure he will get another one. I've seen a lot of Goldwingers who never stray too far from their loyalty. He has a 2000 Honda Shadow Aero 1100 also and rode that thing all the way to Canada 2 years ago. He has only been riding for 4 years but, has many thousands of miles under his belt.
12-29-2003, 08:38 AM
Here is to a speedy recovery of your father. That sounds like a pretty nasty accident that could have been much worse. I am sure he had all the gear on which is a blessing.
This hits pretty close to home as my father also rides a 2003 Goldwing. He too has only been riding for a few years but has logged many miles. He had only been riding for a few weeks before he took off across Texas to Big Bend. Since then he has been to New Mexico (twice), Wisconson, Arkansas and recently made the Neches Trace up to Tennesse. While he has many miles in a short period and he did take the MSF course, I still worry about him a little on that bike. I guess it is a bit of irony.
Anyways, god speed to your father.........
12-29-2003, 10:03 AM
Glad to hear your dad's okay. Sounds like he was pretty well prepared and geared up for it, so that has to be a huge relief. Glad to hear he's in good spirits. He'll be back on the road before you know it I'm sure. :)
12-30-2003, 10:09 PM
His lung colapsed this morning but, he went to surgery and is better than before. He's a tough man! :hail
12-30-2003, 10:40 PM
Please keep us posted! Got an address where we can send him cards?
12-31-2003, 08:35 AM
Here's his home address. He should be released hopefully Monday.
2805 Skipwith Dr.
Plano, Tx. 75023
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