Sd Kfz 182
Joined: Sep 2006
Location: Lehigh Valley, PA
My life 1 year later. (long)
I will start out by saying that I plan on posting this on multiple forums I frequent, so if you see the same thing don't hate, it's going to be easier to cut and paste. Also some forums didn't get the whole story before so there is some summary aspects. This is also as much for me as it is for you all to catch up, so read it or don't, but I hope it helps me move forward.
On June 16th, 2011, at approximately 5:45pm, I was riding my 2006 Kawasaki KLR650 on I-78 westbound approaching the City Of Allentown (for locals this occurred right as the Summit Lawn ramp merges in). From what we have been able to piece together a tractor trailer merged over and punted me off the highway. Why I say pieced together, is that I have no memory of the crash. In fact I lost 20 minutes prior to the crash and the whole rest of the day. I remember waking up the following morning in the trauma ward. Nobody stopped, and no one called in the crash which at rush hour is shocking. The State Police received ONE call about the bike laying on the side of the road. Lucky for me it was a young Trooper who remembered what we teach about never just pulling right into a crash site. He parked back about 10-15 yards and walked up to it. He happened to see my SIG/Sauer P239 laying on the berm and he told me later he thought "there has to be a body around here somewhere". He found me face down in a drainage ditch in amongst the weeds. I was conscious at times I found out later and speaking at the hospital, but nothing before the next morning stayed with me. I had hit so hard it cracked the chin bar of my AGV XR-2 Valentino Rossi helmet. It also tore off the face shield and was dented and scraped all over. I received my 4th concussion and the 2nd time I had been knocked out, I hyper extended my right shoulder, broke 4 ribs on my right side, lacerated my liver, tore the adrinal gland off my right kidney, broke my left pinky at both knuckles, broke my left ankle, broke my right fibula, and the biggest issue; I broke my right tibia at the bottom, diagonally across the middle, and split the top under the knee down to the marrow like a banana. The put a rod, 2 plates, and 11 screws in the tibia. My left pinky was so busted they took a piece of my radius from my left arm by the wrist so they would have something to screw the finger back into. I had 2 plates and 5 screws in the pinky, but they took them out so I could bend it again. It took 3 1/2 months before I walked again on my own. I ended up missing 9 1/2 months of work.
I ended up staying at Lehigh Valley Hospital for a week and then Good Shepherd Rehab Hospital for a week. Since I couldn't walk they sent me home so I didn't extinguish all of my benefits. The first few weeks were very hard. Sandy (Kirchnsr) came to see me twice. Jocelyn (I-Jo) & Mike (Creature Core) came and brought me ice cream! Mark (Scraperman1) came and saw me and kept people posted. The biggest help was my best friend in the world Tony (ARozanski). Tammy (Acaliste) and Jenn (NeedinJustice) both called me from Florida to cheer me up as well. Thank you all.
Rehab was tough but I was able to exceed all the goals they had set for me and did everything early. I still have pain and always will. I also have some issues that might need to be fixed later on. We shall see.
Work was surprising good about everything. Lucky for me I had enough sick time saved up so I got paid just base pay, but it was better then not getting paid at all. I had kept saying I was going to bump up the insurance on the KLR but never got around to it, so it still had just liability. I ended up selling it extremely cheap to Tony who rebuilt it and traded it for a very sweet Honda VFR700 Interceptor. My health coverage through work picked up the tab for everything which was GREAT. I paid very little out of pocket. The total for everything was in excess of $932,000. It's probably higher as I keep getting letters saying what they paid for. To replace the KLR I bought the Ducati. Man I love this bike! One silver lining so to speak.
I went back to work on March 23rd, 2012. Again work surprised me by being very good to me. Instead of going back as a Sergeant in Patrol, I was made the head of the Traffic Division, still as a Sergeant. I'll be testing again for Lieutenant in October, but I'd probably turn it down as I'm enjoying my new position. Part of my new position is the head of the Motor Unit. It used to be 10 bikes and 10 officers, but it's down to 3 bikes and 2 officers. I'll be going to the Harley-Davidson Motor Operator school next year. I'm not thrilled to be on a Harley, but the school is world renowned and getting paid to ride is a nice perk. The schedule is nicer then the one I had in Patrol and I'm enjoying the freedom. I'm one of the Department's Certified Collision Reconstructionists, so I have been trying to get that program back up to speed.
I'm not back to 100% yet, and I'll never be the same as before the crash. Someday's are harder then others, but one foot in front of the other got me to where I am now. Rides on the bikes have been painful. I no longer can just hop on the aprilia and ride for hours. My leg hurts all the time. Keeping it forward is much better, so Tony keeps busting my balls that a Harley is in my future. I'm just lucky to be alive. That's not post crash bullshit, the doctors, State Police and both local departments that came to the scene when they found out who was involved all say the same thing. It probably should have been a fatal crash. Sandy knows a lot of the inside info and says the same things. It has had me doubt things often, as well as some serious bouts of survivor's guilt. Why did I live when so many other bike and car crashes I have investigated did not? I hit a wall of retaining rocks used for drainage at 70-75mph and yet can still walk. Why? There have been some real dark days. I battled depression and suicidal thoughts before the crash at times, and they are still there, sometimes even stronger, but I have been moving on. Everyday now is a gift. Maybe one day I'll figure that out. Maybe I won't.
So in closing, this last year has been the lowest of the low and has also had some moments of the highest of the highs. It changed my life forever. I'm proud of myself for getting back on the bikes and riding again. People keep telling me they can't believe I did. Maybe you think no big deal. Either way I knew from the first time I remembered waking up, all I thought about was riding again. There are riders and people who ride bikes. I know what group I'm in.
So if you read all of this, thank you. This was therapy, and much needed at that. I'm not special. In fact I'm just lucky. But I'm alive.