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Thread: Surviving bad crashes

  1. #1
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    Surviving bad crashes

    I don't post on here as often as I used to. The rise of social media has a lot to do with that, but also I've been a bit away from motorcycling.

    Two years ago today I slammed into the side of a Nissan Navara at a speed between 60 and 80 km/h when its driver pulled out of a driveway into the path of my motorcycle.


    I broke my left fibula just below my knee and cracked it half way down. I broke the malleolus of the tibia in two. I broke my sternum and smashed the acromion and back of the shoulder socket and tore the ligaments in the rotator cuff.

    My head was forced nearly on to my left shoulder, damaging the nerves C5-C8, tearing the axillary nerve and paralysing my right arm.

    The following day I had an operation to put my leg back together.

    As I recovered in hospital and at home (three months before I could return to work part-time) I regained - through sheer bloody mindedness and pain - the use of my left leg and left ankle, and gradually (in this order) the fingers of my right arm, then the hand, then the lower arm (mostly), then the bicep, then part of the tricep, then the teres minor, the supraspinatus, teres major and triceps brachii long head - but not the deltoid and the infraspinatus - as the nerves slowly regenerated (1mm per day).

    In April last year I had nerve transplant surgery, sacrificing the triceps brachii long head to regain the use of the upper part of my arm again. The surgery was a success.

    I had to learn to play guitar again. Last February (before the operation) I started learning to ride a motorcycle again.

    In October 2018 I returned to playing in a band. I play in Wellington rock band Mister Unit.

    Life nowadays is different.

    I struggle to walk much as both my ankles aren't right. I am waiting for an operation on one of my ankles as it's near the point of collapsing. It's caused me to put on weight which I'm not overly happy about. Exercise is difficult.

    The head injury I suffered has left it's mark. I don't have the ability to remember things as easily as I used to. Short term memory is terrible. I have to practice and repeat musical parts way more than I used to for muscle memory to remember. But I can do it.

    Pain is a constant companion. I have no feeling in the skin in a large part of my upper body due to the nerve damage. However I can feel pressure - and the nerve pain is ... interesting... and ongoing.

    But I'm alive. And I've had things happen to me since the accident that have been amazing.

    My darling wife has been an incredible support and I don't know what I'd do without her. Seriously.

    My band mates keep me going through thick and thin - it's so hard to get a good band and I'm truly blessed in that way.

    Just this week a friend gave - gave me - a motorcycle.

    My work continue to support me as much as possible.

    Despite the fact that the pain and the lack of movement get me down sometimes I'm profoundly grateful that I'm still here - and enjoying the things that make life living.

    And do motorcycle training - its a huge part of why I'm still alive!
    And I to my motorcycle parked like the soul of the junkyard. Restored, a bicycle fleshed with power, and tore off. Up Highway 106 continually drunk on the wind in my mouth. Wringing the handlebar for speed, wild to be wreckage forever.

    - James Dickey, Cherrylog Road.

  2. #2
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    27th March 2017 - 11:33
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    I found St John's Wort hugely helpful for nerve pain. Hira Labs in Wanganui do a brilliant one. A few drops is all you need. Often used as a serotonin improver (ie for depression) but has many other benefits such as with nerve pain.

    It is contraindicted with quite a few medicines but if you can take it, it may be very useful.

  3. #3
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    Fantastic to hear from you Simon and it's genuinely humbling to hear the full account of your recovery. I'm not sure that I would have your fortitude in those circumstances.

    Your comment about training has hit the nail on the head. None of us ever stop learning and I'm booked on a R4E Gold course in Thames on Friday and I've persuaded a couple of locals who have never done any training to come along too. The other thing I learned last week is that there's an SOS function on both Android and iPhones. You'd think it would be better publicised or maybe I'm just slow . On the Android, it sends a gps location and photo of surroundings to any people you nominate after 3 rapid presses of the on/off button. Not a game changer but a handy function when you're a long way from anywhere and need help. Also had a dog tag made with key ICE info.

    Take good care,

    Geoff

  4. #4
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    Didn't know about the emergency thing on the phone. Sounds like a real lifesaver Geoff - good to hear from you again.

    In my case would not have been so useful as:

    • unconscious following accident
    • on SH58 - the main road between the Hutt Valley and Porirua so heaps of people to call emergency services


    As for fortitude you do what you have to I guess. I've never been one of those give up type people.

    Best of luck on your R4E course. I can't wait to do another. Not much needed to do on the VOR to get it roadworthy again. Unlike the Katana, which, although I've done a huge amount to it, still needs engine and bodywork. Such is the joy of attempting a ground up restoration of a Katana while raising a family and recovering from a crash.
    And I to my motorcycle parked like the soul of the junkyard. Restored, a bicycle fleshed with power, and tore off. Up Highway 106 continually drunk on the wind in my mouth. Wringing the handlebar for speed, wild to be wreckage forever.

    - James Dickey, Cherrylog Road.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by HEsch View Post
    I found St John's Wort hugely helpful for nerve pain. Hira Labs in Wanganui do a brilliant one. A few drops is all you need. Often used as a serotonin improver (ie for depression) but has many other benefits such as with nerve pain.

    It is contraindicted with quite a few medicines but if you can take it, it may be very useful.
    I've had that recommended to me. I spent many months on both Gabapentin and Nortriptyline for the nerve pain but in the end decided to just stop taking those and learn to live with it. After a while you stop noticing the pain anyway.
    And I to my motorcycle parked like the soul of the junkyard. Restored, a bicycle fleshed with power, and tore off. Up Highway 106 continually drunk on the wind in my mouth. Wringing the handlebar for speed, wild to be wreckage forever.

    - James Dickey, Cherrylog Road.

  6. #6
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    Its amazing the extent that guitar players will go to be able to play the guitar again - thinking about you and Jamie Hince (The Kills). Good on you for gutsing it out.
    In the white room, with black curtains, at the station

  7. #7
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    It's been a long tough road for you mate but so good to see the progress you've made. Can't keep a good man down.
    http://www.kiwibiker.co.nz/forums/signaturepics/sigpic31_1.gif

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by riffer View Post
    Didn't know about the emergency thing on the phone. Sounds like a real lifesaver Geoff - good to hear from you again.

    In my case would not have been so useful as:

    • unconscious following accident
    • on SH58 - the main road between the Hutt Valley and Porirua so heaps of people to call emergency services


    As for fortitude you do what you have to I guess. I've never been one of those give up type people.

    Best of luck on your R4E course. I can't wait to do another. Not much needed to do on the VOR to get it roadworthy again. Unlike the Katana, which, although I've done a huge amount to it, still needs engine and bodywork. Such is the joy of attempting a ground up restoration of a Katana while raising a family and recovering from a crash.

    Simon, for an Android, it's Settings > Advanced Features > Send SOS messages. I'd imagine that an iPhone is similar. It's something which every rider hopes not to use but something which might tilt the odds in your favour.

    Although I've been in IAM for a good few years now, it's always good to revisit one's core skills. I guess the most apt phrase is "Use it or lose it". Easier to pick up bad habits than acquire new good ones!

    Well it sounds like you've got plenty of things in your life to keep you occupied so every good wish for all of them mate!

  9. #9
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    Not good - I'm pleased you're still alive ...

    I can sympathize - in February this year I tangled head on with a 4x4 on the open road ... I have no memory of the crash at all - one minute I'm in a corner, nek minut there's a woman in my face saying "lie still - the ambulance is here to get you." There's a half-hour gap between the crash and the ambulance arriving - I have no memory of that time .. though the people I was riding with said I was conscious and talking - except they got sick of me asking how the bike was - clearly I was no conscious enough to remember the answer each time I asked.

    First thing I remember doing is wiggling my toes and being grateful I could still do do that and feel them.

    I broke my shoulder blade, broken ribs, collapsed lung, minor internal bleeding, severe concussion, other bruising. Full leathers and a good helmet had a lot to do with it.

    The driver of the 4X4 came to see me in hospital - worried she'd run me over - I assured her I had not. She said I was already sliding when I hit the front wheel of the 4X4 .. so something took me down - I have no idea if I saw what was coming and bailed, or if there was something else .. when I hit the 4X4 I was thrown 20 metres up the road ..

    Seven months down the track I still have some pain around my ribs and just above my right knee ..

    It's the first crash I've had that I have not walked (or limped) away from ..

    Clearly ATGATT had a lot do do with how well I came out of it .. and probably (probably only because I have no memory of what happened) training too - I have done several training courses (not the RIde 4 Ever ones - previous to them).

    If I did deliberately put the bike down it was because of rider training ...

    I've been a hoon for 46 years - and I've survived that long because I learnt to handle a motorcycle ... If I'd been a hoon without the training I'd have probably died a long time ago ..

    So I strongly recommend rider training - it helps to keep us alive out there ..

    (And yes, I'm still a hoon - first ride after the crash (July) - wet road - took the bike passed 160 klicks ...)
    "So if you meet me, have some sympathy, have some courtesy, have some taste ..."

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banditbandit View Post
    (And yes, I'm still a hoon - first ride after the crash (July) - wet road - took the bike passed 160 klicks ...)
    We're terrible aren't we? I took my mate's VFR1200 out as the 2nd bike I rode again and had to see what it would do full throttle in third...
    And I to my motorcycle parked like the soul of the junkyard. Restored, a bicycle fleshed with power, and tore off. Up Highway 106 continually drunk on the wind in my mouth. Wringing the handlebar for speed, wild to be wreckage forever.

    - James Dickey, Cherrylog Road.

  11. #11
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by riffer View Post
    We're terrible aren't we? I took my mate's VFR1200 out as the 2nd bike I rode again and had to see what it would do full throttle in third...
    Hey rif, blooody good seeing you back in here mate, and Bandy, the both of you keep wanting to know, just for the love of God, make sure you're on your own when you find out, hoons, assessed risk takers call us what you will, theres not one (OK< maybe a "c s n"or 2) out there who don't want to know and haven't tried to find out.
    Keep up the good work gents, get them bikes back under you and get that silly grin back,K.
    Every day above ground is a good day!:

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by riffer View Post
    I spent many months on both Gabapentin
    I had that with Oxynorm, it didn't do shit , I was off pain killers within a few days of leaving hospital as none of them seemed to have much effect although it was probably at 4-6 weeks before I was pain free, 18 months later I still feel it in a couple of places

    It was a year ago last weekend I went back out for my first trailride, that was about 5 months after I got a broken collarbone, multiple rib fractures resulting in a flail chest, punctured lung and torn aorta and a bruised liver, kidney and spleen ending up with a stent, plated ribs, couple of chest drains, 4 days in an induced coma 6-7 days on a ventilator being fed through a tube and 10 days in ICU, I only spent 14 days total in hospital which was half of what they originally expected

    Being taken off a ventilator is one of the most unpleasant things I have experienced
    "If you can make black marks on a straight from the time you turn out of a corner until the braking point of the next turn, then you have enough power."


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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kickaha View Post
    I had that with Oxynorm, it didn't do shit , I was off pain killers within a few days of leaving hospital as none of them seemed to have much effect although it was probably at 4-6 weeks before I was pain free, 18 months later I still feel it in a couple of places

    It was a year ago last weekend I went back out for my first trailride, that was about 5 months after I got a broken collarbone, multiple rib fractures resulting in a flail chest, punctured lung and torn aorta and a bruised liver, kidney and spleen ending up with a stent, plated ribs, couple of chest drains, 4 days in an induced coma 6-7 days on a ventilator being fed through a tube and 10 days in ICU, I only spent 14 days total in hospital which was half of what they originally expected

    Being taken off a ventilator is one of the most unpleasant things I have experienced
    Yeah, followed all that with interest on the Facebook Kick, that was fucking brutal. You really had us all worried there mate.

    Drummer in our band keeps wanting me to go out riding the VOR on the trails with him on his Husqy... not sure I'm up to a big crash on the enduro, and I have a bad reputation for falling off dirt bikes.
    And I to my motorcycle parked like the soul of the junkyard. Restored, a bicycle fleshed with power, and tore off. Up Highway 106 continually drunk on the wind in my mouth. Wringing the handlebar for speed, wild to be wreckage forever.

    - James Dickey, Cherrylog Road.

  14. #14
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    Dude. Didn't know about your crash. Good on you for having the fortitude to fight back.
    I've been told. Dreaming`s free.
    Think I'll go, back to sleep.
    Everybody listen, voices in my head
    Everybody listen, do yours say, what mine says?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by riffer View Post
    I don't post on here as often as I used to. The rise of social media has a lot to do with that, but also I've been a bit away from motorcycling.

    Two years ago today I slammed into the side of a Nissan Navara at a speed between 60 and 80 km/h when its driver pulled out of a driveway into the path of my motorcycle.


    I broke my left fibula just below my knee and cracked it half way down. I broke the malleolus of the tibia in two. I broke my sternum and smashed the acromion and back of the shoulder socket and tore the ligaments in the rotator cuff.

    My head was forced nearly on to my left shoulder, damaging the nerves C5-C8, tearing the axillary nerve and paralysing my right arm.

    The following day I had an operation to put my leg back together.

    As I recovered in hospital and at home (three months before I could return to work part-time) I regained - through sheer bloody mindedness and pain - the use of my left leg and left ankle, and gradually (in this order) the fingers of my right arm, then the hand, then the lower arm (mostly), then the bicep, then part of the tricep, then the teres minor, the supraspinatus, teres major and triceps brachii long head - but not the deltoid and the infraspinatus - as the nerves slowly regenerated (1mm per day).

    In April last year I had nerve transplant surgery, sacrificing the triceps brachii long head to regain the use of the upper part of my arm again. The surgery was a success.

    I had to learn to play guitar again. Last February (before the operation) I started learning to ride a motorcycle again.

    In October 2018 I returned to playing in a band. I play in Wellington rock band Mister Unit.

    Life nowadays is different.

    I struggle to walk much as both my ankles aren't right. I am waiting for an operation on one of my ankles as it's near the point of collapsing. It's caused me to put on weight which I'm not overly happy about. Exercise is difficult.

    The head injury I suffered has left it's mark. I don't have the ability to remember things as easily as I used to. Short term memory is terrible. I have to practice and repeat musical parts way more than I used to for muscle memory to remember. But I can do it.

    Pain is a constant companion. I have no feeling in the skin in a large part of my upper body due to the nerve damage. However I can feel pressure - and the nerve pain is ... interesting... and ongoing.

    But I'm alive. And I've had things happen to me since the accident that have been amazing.

    My darling wife has been an incredible support and I don't know what I'd do without her. Seriously.

    My band mates keep me going through thick and thin - it's so hard to get a good band and I'm truly blessed in that way.

    Just this week a friend gave - gave me - a motorcycle.

    My work continue to support me as much as possible.

    Despite the fact that the pain and the lack of movement get me down sometimes I'm profoundly grateful that I'm still here - and enjoying the things that make life living.

    And do motorcycle training - its a huge part of why I'm still alive!
    I notice you don’t mention the person that clipped you. What happened to them? Did they come and say sorry or anything else? Do they even know how serious and long term your injuries are? Or do you prefer to forget about them and move on.
    ..................

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