Sunday, December 1, 2013

Accident on May 26, 2013

      On May 26, 2013 I had my most serious motorcycle accident in 67 years of riding. I left the house that morning and took a 100-mile ride north into eastern Dutchess County. When I returned home and was about to put the bike away, I noticed that the odometer was only 30 miles short of 118,000 miles. It was a beautiful day and I had nothing else to do that afternoon, so I fixed myself a quick lunch and took the bike out again for another short ride in the afternoon.
      I was only seven miles out when I stopped at a T-intersection - a three-way stop. After stopping, I proceeded to make a right turn onto a road that had stop signs both ways. I noticed a car on my left coming quite fast with no apparent intention of stopping for the stop sign. I clearly had the right-of-way but I thought it might have ticked him off that I pulled out into his intended path. Seeing him slow down behind me was the last thing I remember. About 1,000 feet from there my bike left the road, went across a grassy shoulder, through a shallow indent and glanced off a stone wall, leaving a mark on the wall. It then careened back across the shallow ditch and slammed into a fire hydrant, totaling the bike. I don’t remember any of it but that’s the way the trooper’s report was filed after a routine investigation. The cause of the accident was listed as unknown. I remember nothing from the time the car pulled in behind me. I don’t know what he did, how fast I was traveling, how or exactly where I landed, how long I lay there unconscious, or who called 911. I woke up in the Trauma Center at Westchester Medical Center several hours later in a semi-comatose state. My clothes had been cut off – including my leather jacket, heated jacket liner, hi-tech long johns, etc – all ruined. They tell me it's standard procedure.
      The incident happened two weeks before my 88th birthday. Now, six months later, I remember very little about the three-month ordeal I spent in two different hospitals and two different nursing homes. The original ER report said I had eight bone fractures, which were mostly ribs and the left clavicle. I was on blood-thinning medication for a heart condition, so needless to say, I bled a lot internally. It was truly a miracle that I made it through the ordeal. If I had hit my head, it would have been even more serious, considering the blood thinner. My doctors said that my recovery was amazing. I’m now 99% recovered from the crash, and I’ve been exercising daily to recover from the three months of inactivity, including a case of pneumonia along the way.
      I’ve been looking around for another bike – one that I can get my leg over and putz around the neighborhood. I have quite an extended list of on-going medical issues so I’m not planning any long trips at this point.