Friday, June 5, 2009

August 18, 2007

Ive been thinking about this a lot lately and thought I would post my story... It helps to put things out there sometimes.

My sister and I were out on a training ride for our first half iron distance triathlon. After about 56 miles we were heading back home (~5miles to go) through a neighborhood that we frequently pass through. I was going down a hill when a suburban turned left onto a side street in front on me. I do not remember anything from about 15 minutes before the wreck to about 2 hours after the wreck. I am told that I smashed into the side of the suburban busting out the back seat passenger side window. My sister said when she rode up on me I was lying down, holding my shoulder and saying it was hurting pretty bad. My arm was bleeding pretty badly so she took her cycling shirt and wrapped it around the open wounds. She said I kept asking what happened and where we were. The ambulance arrived and strapped me down onto a spine board and that’s when I mentioned that my neck hurt. We went to the local hospital and after many x-rays a CAT scan, and MRI they came in and said my neck was broke in three places and they were sending me to Houston for surgery. I was told I needed to lie still and not move or I could become paralyzed. This was the first I remember. My dad rode in the ambulance with me to Houston. I remember dying of thirst but they couldn’t give me any water and the spine board was very uncomfortable. I laid in the ER in Houston on a Saturday night until around 6am Sunday morning. I had to stare at the ceiling for hours listening to gun shot and knife stab victims screaming. Hours later I had more x-rays and another MRI. This all showed that my neck was stable and I would not need surgery. The three broken vertebra turned into one and somehow two of the vertebra were already fused together (possibly from a childhood neck injury). They had also slipped forward tearing all the ligaments and stuff holding them together. Later checkups I learned that it was C5 and C6 and my disc in between them was/is shot. I had fractured many of the small bones in the back of my neck at C5 and C6. Without surgery I would wear a hard neck brace for about 12 weeks. They preformed surgery on my shoulder and removed tons of broken glass from beneath my skin. It would be weeks later until another doctor looked at my shoulder and determined that it had been fractured and separated. I was released from the hospital on Wednesday. I had many checkups on my neck and lots of physical therapy for my shoulder. The spinal doctor told me I would probably be at best within 2 years. Well It will be 2 years this August... I sure hope this isn't the best. I still have pain in my neck, I go through good days and bad... Its no where near where it used to be but still some days it hurts like hell. My shoulder tends to give out very easily. It tires out just from holding a phone to me ear. But again it is no where near how it was 1.5 years ago. I couldn't lift my arm for weeks after the wreck. I am still seeing my doctors for both injuries. I should be seeing another guy for my shoulder pretty soon.

I think about the wreck everyday.. Sometimes wake up in the night from
it... But I do know that it HAS been worse and can only get better. I set tons of personal goals and do a lot of races. It would be easy to give up... I accept that it is what it is but I refuse to let it hamper me,,, I tell myself at every race to "finish what you started" whatever that Maybe IMCDA will be the finish... Thats what I'm hoping for. I don't expect people to understand why it means so much to not do a half iron first, but thats my plan. I had all my races planned out.. I was to do Longhorn Half Iron and then IMFL in 2008 or 09. I feel as if I did Longhorn... I still got up and went to the pool with my sister after the wreck.. I was at the race,, I trained for the race..

Here is a pic of me body marking my sister.


equarles said...

Man, I remember all that. I promise that every time I run up or down that hill where you wrecked I think about you and am overly cautious at that spot. It was tough riding through there during the ride of silence. I remember I had been playing golf with your dad the day of your accident. I remember coming to the ER in Lufkin and you were out of it. Me and Tom drove to Houston to see you the next day. Dang, I'm impressed what you've done since the accident. It takes some balls to get back out there, but you've done it and done it well. Keep it up. I'm supporting you whether I'm with you at the events or not.

Gusano said...

Yeah I have fuzzy vision but I do remember asking you in the hospital what had happened... I was so confused. Thats awesome you guys were there. Thanks for the support! That means alot!

Audacious Red said...

At some point we all go through some kind of injury - but the comeback you've made is a testament to your tough-as-nails inner strength. YOU DA BOMB and so is Cathlene for being with you every step.

Katy Lampson Photography said...

so glad you kicked that suburban's a$$! luv ya like a brutha from anutha mutha!!

triblog carol said...

Thank you for sharing your incredible story. I love that you went to cheer on your sister at the race that you could not do. That is mental toughness!

Austin said...

We saw how you looked afterwards.. but what about the suburban.
You rock.