(Note: this post was typed over several days at Balboa Naval Hospital. With one hand.)
Well, I suppose it had to happen eventually - at least according to the safety statistics my father used to throw at me in my younger days: I had an accident, Not just any accident, mind you - but the dreaded motorcycle accident. No falling down the stairs/slipping on ice/tripping over the curb mundane wonks for yours truly - no sir!
It began as a very normal - maybe even unusually good Friday morning. I had pried myself out of bed to meet some buddies for our weekly 0600 coffee & muffins Bible study at Pannikin's in Encinitas. There I splurged and got one of their excellent cinnamon rolls, with no idea that this tasty pastry would be my "last meal" until Sunday evening. After sharing some prayer and camaraderie with my buddies, I headed to Vista for some personal training with another buddy of mine, Van. You see, Van and I have known each other for almost 15 years. We were roommates at artillery school back in 1995, then were assigned to the same Marine unit here at Camp Pendleton, where we did a "WestPac" deployment together, then ended up as roommates again up until we both left the Corps in 1999 - me temporarily; him permanently. Though we'd stayed somewhat in contact over the years, it had only been in the past year or so that we'd begun renewing our friendship. So when he told me that he was opening up a small gym in Vista to do personal training, I thought it would be a perfect chance to kill two birds with one stone. I would be able to see my friend on a regular basis, AND I would have someone who knows me to encourage me in my efforts to get back in better shape. Oh, and since he's a self-described agnostic, I get a lot of time to talk to him about God. (Van, if you're reading this, yes, I am trying to convert you...)
So I showed up at 0800 and went through an hour of cardio/core training, then headed home to get cleaned up. I didn't have much on the schedule, but had been invited to attend a luncheon at Bethel Seminary with our guest speaker at noon, so I decided to get down there with plenty of time to spare. Being a "typical" day here in sunny SoCal, I decided that a ride on my "Trusty Triumph" would be just the thing. Despite the warmth, I still put on my heavy-duty Vanson leather jacket, little realizing that this garment would live up to its well-deserved reputation for durability less than an hour later. I headed down the I-15 for the 30-mile run to school, a trip I'd made countless times since purchasing my bike last May. The weather was beautiful, the sun was shining, traffic was relatively light, and I even got to zip along in the HOV lane for part of my journey - what could possibly ruin such a perfect day?
Plenty, as it turned out.
I was only a few miles from the seminary, heading east on I-8 as I entered the off-ramp for College Ave. I could see that the far end of the ramp was blocked with traffic, so I eased off the throttle in order to increase the gap between me and the guy in font of me for the inevitable slowdown. That's about when it happened. Some guy in the next lane to my left decided that gap was meant for HIM, so he darted into the space, unaware of the traffic piling up only a few hundred yards further down. I imagine that a few seconds later he had an "Oh crap!" moment as he realized that the equation [Mass • Velocity = Momentum] was about to interject itself in a very hard and fast way. So he did what any other knucklehead would've done - he slammed on his brakes. Since I had insufficient time to re-establish a safe gap between us since his abrupt lane change, I was forced to do the same thing.
Funny thing about motorcycles - you can hit the brakes pretty darn hard when you're straight & level, and she'll respond fine; just hunker down a tad as the front forks absorb the weight shifting and deceleration. In an uphill curve? Not so much.
So, I ended up laying her down on the right side going maybe 30mph, which wouldn't have been nearly so bad had not my right foot gotten caught underneath (causing multiple spiral fractures in my tibia) or had I not been thrown forward onto my left hand (shattering the wrist to such a degree that it took 3 plates, 4 wires and 18 screws to put the pieces back together).
You can see how the bones on the wrist are all pushed over to the side - what you can't see is all the little bone fragments from my radius that were sheared off by the impact. It would take the doctor 6 1/2 hours of surgery to put it all back together.
On the right is my right ankle, with a couple of pretty nasty spiral fractures at the bottom of my tibia. I would also need a 5" long steel plate screwed into the bone to hold everything together.
And no, I have no idea what that thing on my hand is.
Now, after 10 days at Balboa Naval Hospital and two (successful) surgeries, I'm here at home recovering nicely. All the CT scans came back negative for any other damage - no head trauma, spinal injuries, or internal bleeding - just the two aforementioned fractures. Amazingly, there was hardly even any "road rash," which I must attribute to wearing the proper safety gear, esp. a good quality leather jacket! God truly was with me through all of this, as I am well aware that it could've turned out much worse. As it is, I'll be off my feet for a few months, and will have to endure lots of physical/occupational therapy, but the prognosis is good, and I anticipate regaining full movement and use of both wrist and ankle.
Thanks so much for the many prayers and offers of help and support that have been sent our way - we are very grateful and thankful!