My reported death and subsequent resurrection

Caspice

Well travelled
Location
Here and There
Some of the following is drawn from the few bits I remember, and some as told to me by those who witnessed other portions.


I had just finished work on a sunny Thursday afternoon way back in 1989. That Friday was a day off and I had a paycheck in hand. I mounted and started my motorcycle; a Yamaha Maxim 400. This was prior to the mandatory helmet law in that State, and though I had a helmet with me, had not put it on. Being a smoker back then, wearing a full-face helmet prevented enjoying a cigarette while riding and I had just lit another ‘nail’.

Before I could put the motorcycle in gear and ride off, my co-worker and friend punched me in the face. It wasn’t a full power punch but hard enough to knock the cigarette out of my mouth. I asked why (WTF) he hit me. He told me to finish the cigarette then leave, after putting on my helmet. He was also a smoker but strongly believed in wearing a helmet. His father was still alive that day thanks to wearing a helmet. So, after finishing my smoke, I put on my helmet and rode up to the stop sign at the end of the street. I then proceeded to turn left and rode down the hill to the stop sign at the next road. I remember looking right, then left, and turning right out on to the main road. There was a shopping strip located immediately along that section of road.


………………………………………………………………………………


Upon waking, I found myself in a strange bed in a strange room with a big window providing a view of dismal gray rainy sky. My head felt like it had been used for batting practice. To say I was confused and disoriented is an understatement. I attempted to sit up and quickly discovered that my left arm was strapped to my torso, my left leg was in a brace, tubes were sticking out of right arm, sensors attached to my chest, a bruise the size of a large grapefruit on the upper thigh of my right leg up into my groin, and I was in a tremendous amount of pain.

Unsure of where I was, how I got there, or what had happened to me, I was determined to get up and find out. Standing was not a successful endeavor and I stumbled clumsily out of the bed catching myself on what I realized was an IV stand. Using the IV stand for support I made my way to the window. I saw roof tops and a large parking lot. At that moment I heard a female voice behind me exclaim in a shocked tone “My God! What are you doing standing up? You aren’t supposed to be able walk. Get back in bed.” I turned around and saw a woman dressed in a nursing outfit with a panicked look on her face.

“Where the hell am I?”


The next thing I remember was opening my eyes and seeing a friend’s father standing in the room.


The next time I opened my eyes I saw my Aunt. I remember her going a tad ballistic on the nursing staff. She was a Nurse Practitioner and not happy with the level of care I was receiving.

Of all the injuries I sustained, a partial/green-stick fracture of my left clavicle was immediately problematic. About a week after getting out of the hospital, during a dream of the collision, I raised both of my arms to cover my face and woke up to the sound of a “snap" and “arrgghh!” Realizing I was sitting in a recliner in another friend’s parents’ basement, I passed out. Upon waking in the morning, I discovered that I no longer had a partially fractured clavicle but a completely fractured clavicle. No additional medical care provided. It healed back together crooked and some of my shoulder/neck ligaments are not exactly where there were when I was born. Really messed up golf swing.



The missing part of the story…?

The younger sister of a guy I’ve known since grammar school had recently obtained her driver's license. She was heading up the road and was in a hurry to get into the shopping strip parking lot. Seeing a car coming the other way (but not me) she stomped on the accelerator pedal in her GM G body type 2-door car and drove directly into me. The impact may have halted the forward motion of the motorcycle, but it sent me right up the motorcycle’s gas tank, and after my right thigh bent the handlebar out of the way, I was sent flying through the air.

I have often heard - it’s not the fall that kills people but the sudden halt at the end.

A young woman named Teri was working at the hair salon located in that shopping strip. She heard the impact and looked out the window just in time to see my body flying through air. She was mortified when I impacted the asphalt. She told me that I did not bounce or slide. I just hit the street with an audible thud. She was the first one to me, and thankfully had a boyfriend that taught her to never ever try to remove a downed rider's helmet. She was able to raise the visor of my now broken full-faced helmet and what greeted her convinced her that I was dead. She said my eyes were wide open, unblinking, and I was not breathing, just lying motionless in the street like a corpse.

I do not know how much time passed before I took a huge deep breath, but she said she sat next to me crying for what seemed like a few minutes. Scared the heck out of her when I started moving. And though I do not remember her full name, I am thankful that she was there and stayed with me until they loaded me in the ambulance. She told me during a visit with her after I got out of hospital that when the paramedics arrived, I got combative with them. I was telling them to back off and leave me the F#@$ alone. I apparently said (according to Teri) “I don’t feel good right now. I am gonna to get up, go sit on the curb, smoke a cigarette, and go home. I have tomorrow off.”

We argued back and forth a bit and I guess I got tired of being told to lay still. Teri said that I was using my right arm to try and push the paramedics away and being unsuccessful I balled up my right fist and got one of the guys under the chin. Laid the poor guy out. After that they said “Fine - get up.” And I tried to get up only to experience a rush of pain that caused me to pass out. Now unconscious again, the paramedics cut off my clothes to finish performing a field assessment. After getting me strapped to a backboard and onto a stretcher I was taken to the emergency room of the local Hospital.

I heard from others that they heard me yell in pain and then they saw me collapse back down onto the road. “Yep, that guy is dead” was the story.

My brothers said I was an irritating broken record in the emergency room. I would regain consciousness and repeat the same questions: “Where am I? What happened? Why am I strapped down? What time is it? Where’s my bike?” And then I pass out every time I decided that I wanted no part of what was going on and tried to get up.


There are still a lot of aspects of the events, not just from that day, but a few weeks prior and many months after that still I do not recall. But a memory that is crystal clear was getting out the hospital. Since the paramedics had cut off all my clothes, I was wearing a hospital gown, a pair of hospital pants with the left leg cut off to accommodate the brace, and hospital socks. I could not use crutches because my left arm was strapped to my torso due to the collar bone injury, so a cane served as a walking aide.

One of my friends had picked me up from the hospital and was in the process of driving me back to his parents' house when I insisted on seeing my motorcycle. My friend accommodated my request and drove to the wrecking yard where my bike was taken. Leaning heavily on the cane, I hobble into the yard’s office. The guy behind the counter looked up at me and after assessing the visual before him, managed to muster “can I help you?”

“I want to see my bike. It was brought in on Thursday”

The guy’s face went a little pale when he stammered “t-t-that guy died… You’re supposed to be dead.”

“Well, I came back. I’m pissed off and in a lot of pain. Where’s my bike?”


And that is the story of my reported death.



A few photos of my wrecked motorcycle
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Splinter

Well travelled
Location
Buenos Aires
Bloody hell! I'm so glad you survived that awful incident. If you don't mind me asking, do you still ride @Caspice ?

There should be a thread for embarrassing and/or idiotic fails. In my case I was returning from a service call in Buenos Aires and going home on a warm, dry, summer's evening along a wide avenue that I knew very well. Some of the traffic lights here have timer countdowns which I find very useful, but on approaching a set that didn't have a timer, maybe 100 yards out, the light turned to amber. I was probably going a little too quickly and stupidly squeezed the front brakes too hard and fast. They locked up, the rear came up and I sort of ejected from the bike with most of it landing on my legs. As often happens, the first thing I thought was ' Is the bike okay?' when a policewoman just happened to be walking by, rushed over and lifted the bike off my leg, shut the petrol tank tap because the line had split.
Long story short, I had to have the bike transported home and my wife came to pick me up and apart from the rubber fuel line, the bike was undamaged.
I felt the bruises shortly afterwards and am absolutely convinced that had I not been wearing a helmet, it would have been curtains. I've had several slow speed falls - rain, that kind of thing - and the head always hits the deck.
I learned a lesson about braking that day, not to mention crash helmets, which really do save lives.
 

rover100rich

Well travelled
Location
ireland
hi splinter, nice to see the flag there, im from cwmbran in south wales, seems patagonia is only place where welsh may be spoken outside of uk, good luck, rich
 

Splinter

Well travelled
Location
Buenos Aires
hi splinter, nice to see the flag there, im from cwmbran in south wales, seems patagonia is only place where welsh may be spoken outside of uk, good luck, rich
My very best wishes to sunny Cwmbran! I'm hoping to ride down to Patagonia in the next couple of months to take a piece of Welsh slate to the Wales society in Puerto Madryn, even though I don't speak Welsh, but a smattering of Spanish. They do speak some Welsh down there and keep many traditions alive.
It'll be a long haul - about 3000Kms there and back and mainly desert as far as the eye can see.
 

Caspice

Well travelled
Location
Here and There
Bloody hell! I'm so glad you survived that awful incident. If you don't mind me asking, do you still ride @Caspice ?
I do still ride, though there have been periods of time when I did not own or otherwise have access to a motorcycle.

After the fun experience written about above, I did not ride for about a year. The motorcycle in the photos above was my #2 and I still had my #1. #1 languished during my recovery. It sat untouched outside with tank of fuel and a battery slowly decaying. No desire to ride and I had a difficult time even looking at #1.

My lack of desire to ride evaporated the day after coming upon a traffic collision at a local intersection. A pickup truck had a motorcycle embedded into its front end. A yellow tarp was covering the body of the rider who perished when he went headfirst into the pavement (not wearing a helmet). I do not remember the rest of that day.

I woke up the next day, drove to a nearby cycle dealership and bought #3: the bike in this photo.
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Rode the snot of it until getting clipped by a car at a busy intersection.

Currently riding my 12th street legal motorcycle.
 

Jester

Well travelled
Location
Northants, UK
Good that you still ride, but that is from the view of someone who also carried on riding. A lack of family on my part probably helped.

It seems to be that some give up, as they should, after a dink. If the thought of another accident is on your mind you won't enjoy riding and once the fun goes it may be time to sell the bike. Among my riding group my accident has [just] been the most serious.
 

Caspice

Well travelled
Location
Here and There
Good that you still ride, but that is from the view of someone who also carried on riding. A lack of family on my part probably helped.

It seems to be that some give up, as they should, after a dink. If the thought of another accident is on your mind you won't enjoy riding and once the fun goes it may be time to sell the bike. Among my riding group my accident has [just] been the most serious.
Sorry you had to endure such a prolonged aftermath from your accident (and be involved in one at all), but I am glad to learn that none of your riding group had similar experiences. Many of my immediate family have had incidents while riding. Lost a friend to his own poor judgement while he was riding. Another lost a leg when struck by a tractor trailer tire that let loose and launched across an interstate median. I have been in three collisions while riding motorcycles...and that is three more than wanted.

As an unpaid involuntary crash-test dummy, the thought of another is always there. It is a real possibility every time I venture out, and it does not matter if I am in 4-wheels, on two, or walking. But I am not going to let the possibility diminish my enjoyment of any chosen activity. When it is time to go - it's time to go, does not matter what I am doing so I may as well enjoy.

Glad you are still among the living @Jester
Ride safe and enjoy the journey.
 
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Splinter

Well travelled
Location
Buenos Aires
Sorry you had to endure such a prolonged aftermath from your accident (and be involved in one at all), but I am glad to learn that none of your riding group had similar experiences. Many of my immediate family have had incidents while riding. Lost a friend to his own poor judgement while he was riding. Another lost a leg when struck by a tractor trailer tire that let loose and launched across an interstate median. I have been in three collisions while riding motorcycles...and that is three more than wanted.

As an unpaid involuntary crash-test dummy, the thought of another is always there. It is a real possibility every time I venture out, and it does not matter if I am in 4-wheels, on two, or walking. But I am not going to let the possibility diminish my enjoyment of any chosen activity. When it is time to go - it's time to go, does not matter what I am doing so I may as well enjoy.

Glad you are still among the living @Jester
Ride safe and enjoy the journey.
One could call it the 'What if?' syndrome.
I've had a few in the last couple of years, mainly due to drivers pulling out in front of me unexpectedly on suburban streets where I'm on the main thoroughfare and they should give way before pulling out. Since none of those junctions have white road markings to indicate the need to give way, most drivers here simply pull out, right or left without even looking.
Another of their tricks is to use a two way street as one way, so all of a sudden you've got two cars abreast heading straight for you, or indeed many cars/bikes/bicycles/roller bladers etc travelling the wrong way down a one-way street. No one seems to care, not even the police, so one just gets on with it.
In that respect, I suppose forewarned is forearmed.
 
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