Thursday, 19 March 2009

Collision update

First of all, I've decided that I will never refer to my recent impact as an accident. This collision was caused by negligence on the part of the idiot driver. I'm not bitter. I've mostly got over the murderous rage that came over me a few days after the collision

The following is fudged together with some of the forum entries I've put up over the past few days
Leaving a 30 limit and driving towards Gerbil Towers. I had right of way. Approaching a T junction where the minor road joins the main road I noticed a small car approaching. Visibility was good, Gerbil sense twitched and I was sure she wasn't going to look in my direction. I was doing 45-50 as I eased the throttle off, just to be safe. Surely she will look.

She didn't. ABS brakes got a lot of the speed off, but we hit, I'm guessing 20-30 mph at impact. Two flying Gerbils landed on the tarmac with a thud.

I heard Mrs Gerbil - she was still sucking air, and had stood up. My shoulder hurt. lots. I did the "power on self test" procedure. Brain - present. Legs - present. Arms - present, left not happy though. Male equipment - Oooowww. In circumstances like these I only move for the men in green. Ambulance people checked me out, removed helmet (gouged) and helped me to stand. Mrs Gerbil has similar issues. Big yellow taxi ride to hospital and we get checked over.

Mrs Gerbil. Busted collarbone, busted ribs, bruised hip. Alive thank God.

Spot. Busted collarbone,which I'm living with. What really hurts is the fact that the combined weight of the Gerbils landed on the fuel tank, using you know where as padding. I have grazed and bruised bits, things are very swollen, so I'm walking like a cowboy. you got to laugh.

Pan. Well the last I saw of it, the forks had bust the radiator. I don't think there's a panel intact as it went for a spin.

Other driver. Well enough to hear some bad words, although I feel sorry for her in a way, as she has seen a biker laid out, hardly moving. I think she has had a hell of a fright. Would have been nice if she'd looked though.

But I want to get back on the horse.

Well that was posted on a few hours after the collision, and thanks to all on that board for their good wishes.

We were taken to Casualty where we were X-rayed, poked and prodded, and the broken clavicle was confirmed. Furthermore, I had three different doctors examining my male bits which were badly scraped and bruised

Sleep wasn't easy over the next few days. Mrs Gerbil was in a lot more pain than myself, due to her busted ribs and a bruise that was spectacular over her hip. I wasn't in continual pain, but movement was sore, breathing awkward, and due to the damage down below, walking, sitting and going to the toilet hurt. We could feel the displaced bone, and our shoulders changed shape as the muscles contracted.

On the Monday we visited the fracture clinic and we were advised that we both required an operation to plate our clavicles if we were ever to regain full function of our shoulder. The thought of surgery terrifies me - it's a totally irrational fear, but I hate hospitals, doctors and medical staff. I must state that all the people we have encountered so far, starting with Ali and Mike in their ambulance, the staff in casualty and throughout the Queen Margaret Hospital have been really nice. Genuine caring people. Surgery was booked for the Wednesday.

We revisited the scene of the collision, which is apparently good for recovery. Bits of the Pan's headlight and bodywork littered the roadside. We paced out the distance from the point of impact to the point that we landed. I flew 8-10 metres, Mrs Gerbil a more impressive 12-15 metres. She knew exactly where she landed as she landed in line with the gate of one of the roadside cottages. This brought into sharp focus the fact that we were, in an odd sort of way, pretty lucky.

Surgery was cancelled as soon as we arrived on the Wednesday. If there's someone worse off than yourself then they get the theatre, you get bumped. Our injuries were painful, but we could manage them with drugs. Someone else could be in real need of surgery. We were booked in again for the following Wednesday.

As the week went on, any numbness in the shoulder disappeared, to be replaced with more regular pain. Mrs Gerbil and I couldn't sleep in the same bed as contact with another person was hard to bear. In fact it was nearly a month after the collision before I could give Mrs Gerbil a hug. Throughout this experience, that has been amongst the worst bits.

Monday 2nd March and we visited our doctor. He was so concerned with my bits that I was admitted to hospital that evening. I was poked and prodded and the surgeon advised me that, while he had seen a lot worse, I would need an ultrasound scan. Fortunately I didn't have to stay in the hospital overnight, as long as I returned first thing next morning.

Tuesday was spent waiting for an ultrasound scan. Once this was done I was relieved to hear that I wasn't going to need surgery, but there was a reasonable amount of clotting which should go down over time. If not, or if the swelling returned then it would require surgery to sort the damage.

Then Wednesday came. It was afternoon before I was taken to theatre, and I was genuinely terrified. Hardly surprising then that my blood pressure was a bit on the high side. Fear of the unknown. I really didn't want to go through with the operation, but I knew that if I ever wanted to get back on the bike, or do half the things that I enjoy, then I had to go through with it.

Watch this video...
Think Bike Not for those who scare easily. (worth noting that I have not seen this as I don't own a TV)

I was on the trolley, in the waiting area before you get taken through to get knocked out and I'm lying there, watching on TV some heavily tanned bloke valuing antiques, when commercial break starts and the motorbike film comes on! I'm laughing about it now, but at the time I said a bad word, (the same bad word last heard as I ejected from my Pan) causing one of the theatre nurses to come over and check all was OK. I apologised for my expletive, and explained what had just happened. She was really nice, also a biker, and admitted that she wasn't too keen on that particular film either. I wish I'd been plugged into a BP monitor at that time, as I'd have blown it up! Those theatre nurses really helped calm me down. Shortly after this I was drugged up to the eyeballs and couldn't care either way.

I woke up about three hours later in my own private room off the main ward. Mrs Gerbil, who was supposed to be next in the theatre was bumped (again) to be first on the list for the Thursday morning. I was still floating on another planet, I don't think I had morphine, as it wasn't on my chart, but I was given a large dose of paracetamol, and another drug to prevent nausea. This was stuck into my thigh, and it is supposed to be one of the more painful injection sites, but I didn't even notice it going in. Mrs Gerbil had the same injection the next day, and she REALLY felt it go in.

Mrs Gerbil finally got bolted together on the Thursday morning. We spent all of Thursday in hospital before getting out on Friday, accompanied by some serious pain drugs, and some frozen peas to reduce the swelling. I never thought Captain Birdseye could be so comforting.

So we have spent the last two weeks doing not an awful lot. Thanks go to our friends for keeping us in pizza, DVD's, books, genuine home cooked Italian food (from a genuine Italian!) and for keeping on top of the washing.

Our surgeons saw us this week and had a look at the follow-up x-rays. We have a plate and eight screw each. I broke my clavicle in the middle, with two fragments, Mrs Gerbil managed to dislocate hers as well as break it. The best bit of meeting the surgeon is that for short periods we could remove the slings that we had been wearing since surgery. This meant that showering was possible. That was bliss.

We are getting better, but the pain has been regular, especially in the morning. Sleeping is getting easier, but there has been times when I need to get up in the night, pop some pills and wait for them to take effect. I don't like taking pills at the best of time, but there have been times when I've been at my wits end.

As regards our kit, well we were both wearing Shoei full face helmets, Raid II for her, XR1000 for me. I attacked my last Shoei lid with a pick-axe when it was retired. Not a bit of damage. We didn't come down on our heads this time, but there's still some scrapes around the left side of both lids.

Belstaff trousers and Spada jacket for me. Belstaff top and bottom for her. Full Knox armour throughout. Our shoulder elbow and hips took the impact. Very minor scuffs to the kit, and Mrs Gerbil had a 4" split to her inseam. Kept the Gerbil fur where it's meant to be. This kit saved our hide.

Given the bruising, we would have probably had multiple fractures to our shoulders, ribs and hips. With massive skin loss. Your kit doesn't stop all the damage, but it sure limits the misery. I wouldn't ride without a lid, but I would have bust my skull without it.

So what part of "all the gear, all the time" is hard to understand.

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