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Old 06-17-2011, 12:07 PM   #1
DrSwade
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Slapped by the racing gods..or DrSwade's day of excitement turns to months of misery.

Kind of old news by now but since this forum is here and I am still on the long road to recovery, I thought I should post up my story.
This saga will be posted in installments and updated as soon as any news develops.

February 28th, 2011:
Like most of us know, a chance to ride Infineon for $150 could not be passed up. Having recently formed Uniform Speed, an all military racing team, I was also anxious to get us all out on the track together for the first time.

The day started off as usual, milling about getting ready for a cool but beautiful day of riding at my favorite track. Last time I was at Sear's I got down to the 1:49s and finally was feeling very confident there. This day I was just planning on putting around, getting my brand new leathers broken in and getting used to the slightly bulky but reassuring Forcefield body armour. I had worn some pieces in the past but this was the first time I was wrapped in their rib and back protectors and their padded underwear.
(you will understand the significance of my mentioning this later.)

At the riders meeting was Jamie Keating. He was the last guy that I saw being airlifted from Sear's with serious injuries after being run over and nearly killed by a KTM SuperDuke, the same kind of bike I rode. I made a mental note to go see him before the day was over.

I rode my bike for about 7 laps total before pulling in to sort some bike issues.


I was having some clutch troubles so I laid my bike on it's side and swapped out the KTM slipper with the Yoyodyne I had been running with the WERA races. Because my bike wasn't on it's stands I had no tire warmers on.
They had made the second call for the next group just as I buttoned up my clutch cover. I still had time to roll around the track and see how the clutch felt.
I suited up, fired up the bike and rolled out. As the worker checked my sticker entering the hot pits I twisted the throttle and was pleased to find the clutch grabbing well under hard acceleration. The front wheel came off of the ground like usual and I shifted through a couple of gears. The front settled and just as I was about to tip slightly left to enter the track the rear wheel broke loose and the rear of my bike came around to my right side, instantly forcing the left side of my body to the ground. I was amazed at how abrupt and violent the crash was for such a low speed. I think perhaps 50 to 70 mph.
(Causation? Likely cold tires, cold track, massive energy loaded up in the spinning rear wheel and a painted line.

When I stopped rolling I laid there trying to catch my breath. I was pretty sure that my left foot was injured so I figured I would drag myself over to the wall and wait for some assistance.
When I started to get up I knew something was very wrong. When I rolled around my pelvis felt like a bag of beans, crumbling and shifting about.

So I just laid back and started waving my arms. The problems was that since it was the end of the session, no one was coming out of the hot pit. I wasn't within view of start/finish or any corner workers!
So I laid there for what seemed like minutes before an ambulance showed up.

They worked on me in an incredibly systematic and professional manner. Within 30 seconds one guy shouted out "Roll the helicopter!"
I think few would call me a wimp but I have to admit that the look in the eyes of the first responders scared the shit out of me!
The thing that soothed my fears the most was Michael Ernest, Skeletor and others came out and stood by me. ( I apologize for not knowing who all was there.) This was HUGE in keeping me from freaking out.
I never lost consciousness and my helmet had some very minor scratches and my leathers were just slightly scuffed. My left Alpinestars SuperTech-R boot was pretty mangled. My Knox Handroids were intact and the sliders of the gloves were ground down significantly.


I heard the helo coming in as they loaded me up in the ambulance.
"What about my bike? What about my bike?"
Here she is, poor thing.....


I was loaded into the helo and we took off. We hovered for quite some time over the helipad. The flight nurses told me that they didn't know yet where they were taking me. Then, suddenly, they said "You're going to John Muir."
I thought at first that it was going to be very far from my home base near Santa Rosa but then I remembered that Jon Muir is considered one of the top Trauma Centers in the country. Good!
I will find out the why later.........to be continued in chapter 2.

Photos by Dito Milian/gotbluemilk.com

Chapter 2

Upon arrival at John Muir I was amazed at the quantity of personnel working on me. I would guess that there was over 30 people in the room at one time.
They did the quick triage that you see on TV medical shows.

Most of you know that I am a talker.(Some would say this is an understatement)
Apparently, when I am nervous I talk even more.
The doctors and nurses seemed shocked that I was talking to them the whole time.
There were points that I must have been "crashing" and I just kept blabbing away. They were really scrambling about. I had someone at all points of my body doing something.
An orthopedic surgeon came by and looked at my left foot. It was pointed 90 degrees to the left and was white and devoid of feeling or a pulse. This guy just grabbed my foot and before I could say anything about it, he pulled and twisted my ankle back in place. Immediate pulse and color came back to my foot. This doctor no doubt saved my foot.
An x-ray tech shot some views of my pelvis and back. He looked at me and shook his head as if to say "What are you even doing on the track anyway?"
I guess he notice the four 8mm lag bolt and connecting rods that held my lumbar spine in place.
I didn't even try to explain myself. Most of you reading this know the "Why" of what I was doing at the track.
While having a CT scan I lost blood pressure and they performed "resuscitative efforts" a couple of times.

I was rushed to the cath-lab to stop internal bleeding in my pelvic area.
After that I was returned to the trauma room. I spent over 4 hours there.
Eventually they took me to the OR for surgery to stabilize my pelvis and ankle. They want you to be medically stable before they do the real repair.
I still was not.

The extent of my injuries from my foot up:
Broken fibula with open fracture and dislocation of left ankle. Pelvis broken at symphisis pubis and sheared at sacrum on left side. Torn urethra. Significant internal bleeding. Compressed T-12. Torn left triceps.
When the pelvis broke in the front it was after the all of the muscles on the left side pulled, tore and eventually broke the bone itself.
Due to the pelvic bleeding my scrotum swelled to the size of a grapefruit and turned black within 8 hours! (I really want to post but it is a bit over the top.) Apparently, this is very common and some swell quite larger.

What was impressive is that I had no thoracic injuries like broken ribs, etc. in spite of the fact that I was heavily bruised from my neck to my knees. I mean, black and blue on my entire torso!
I attribute this lack of further injuries to my Forcefield Body Armour!
Bruised but not broken for the majority of covered locations. My pelvis broke from upward force but was not broken from the obvious impact of my pelvis to the ground.
I cannot speak more highly of Forcefield products.


I spent 12 days in the hospital. Six of those days in the ICU. They performed some type of procedure the first ten days. They repaired my ankle on Wednesday (the crash was on Monday). On Friday they repaired my pelvis.
Having had two prior back surgeries, I was prepared for the pain. That was easy to deal with. The biggest challenge was being told that I would be in a wheelchair for 3-4 months! Me, In a wheelchair??
Up to this point I figured I was just busted up like racers sometimes are.
I didn't fully grasp the seriousness of my injuries until my trauma physician came by for a long chat. He flat out told me that "had I not been flown to John Muir I would have likely died." "Didn't you notice that we were still giving you blood transfusions 3 days after you were admitted?"
Wow!
So, the repairs are done. I can transfer from the bed to a wheelchair..."you're going home."

The first thing I did when I got home was to troll craigslist for a mobility chair. A Rascal or Moby if you prefer.
Although new these chairs are upwards of $5k, they can be had for a little as $400 used.

I should mention that my ability to come home and to be able to heal at home is directly the result of the unbelievable care of my girlfriend, Deirdre.
She was at the track when I crashed and in the trauma room with me as soon as she could drive there from Sear's. She has bathed me, fed me and been here for me from the start. We had only dated for a few months before this happened. She's a saint!

So I am home and healing. Ready for the 3 month follow up when I can start walking again.
Not so fast!
The follow up appointment doesn't turn out as planned.
May 4th, I see the doctor and his news is not so good.

Now we have the provisions for Chapter 3.

I have included the before and after repair x-rays for your viewing pleasure.
(I had to transfer the files from the proprietary program to OneNote and then to pdf. Sorry if they suck)

xrays can be seen here: http://www.bayarearidersforum.com/fo...88&postcount=6

Last edited by DrSwade; 06-18-2011 at 11:50 AM..
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Old 06-17-2011, 02:46 PM   #2
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The bike and leathers looked so pretty.. and with all that was just coming about I am sure the deal has been a huge let down because of all the work to put together the Team.

Glad there were some friendly eyes to see when you were down. The quick (even though it felt long) attendance by Medical folks is such a huge advantage over street crashes.
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:28 PM   #3
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:12 PM   #4
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Thx for sharing your story,
The look in the eyes of the paramedics ...you are no wimp my friend, you are a brave s.o.b. I know that look, scared me worse than anything in my life.
Thank you, I hope you are healing quickly.
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Old 06-18-2011, 08:07 AM   #5
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I'm hooked...looking for chpt 2! I also wear the forcefield chest and back protector at the track...unfortunately, I don't on the street else maybe I wouldn't have a broken rib right now. I'm not yet familiar with their underwear.
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Old 06-18-2011, 01:08 PM   #6
DrSwade
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Slapped by the racing gods.Chapter 2

Upon arrival at John Muir I was amazed at the quantity of personnel working on me. I would guess that there was over 30 people in the room at one time.
They did the quick triage that you see on TV medical shows.

Most of you know that I am a talker.(Some would say this is an understatement)
Apparently, when I am nervous I talk even more.
The doctors and nurses seemed shocked that I was talking to them the whole time.
There were points that I must have been "crashing" and I just kept blabbing away. They were really scrambling about. I had someone at all points of my body doing something.
An orthopedic surgeon came by and looked at my left foot. It was pointed 90 degrees to the left and was white and devoid of feeling or a pulse. This guy just grabbed my foot and before I could say anything about it, he pulled and twisted my ankle back in place. Immediate pulse and color came back to my foot. This doctor no doubt saved my foot.
An x-ray tech shot some views of my pelvis and back. He looked at me and shook his head as if to say "What are you even doing on the track anyway?"
I guess he notice the four 8mm lag bolt and connecting rods that held my lumbar spine in place.
I didn't even try to explain myself. Most of you reading this know the "Why" of what I was doing at the track.
While having a CT scan I lost blood pressure and they performed "resuscitative efforts" a couple of times.

I was rushed to the cath-lab to stop internal bleeding in my pelvic area.
After that I was returned to the trauma room. I spent over 4 hours there.
Eventually they took me to the OR for surgery to stabilize my pelvis and ankle. They want you to be medically stable before they do the real repair.
I still was not.

The extent of my injuries from my foot up:
Broken fibula with open fracture and dislocation of left ankle. Pelvis broken at symphisis pubis and sheared at sacrum on left side. Torn urethra. Significant internal bleeding. Compressed T-12. Torn left triceps.
When the pelvis broke in the front it was after the all of the muscles on the left side pulled, tore and eventually broke the bone itself.
Due to the pelvic bleeding my scrotum swelled to the size of a grapefruit and turned black within 8 hours! (I really want to post but it is a bit over the top.) Apparently, this is very common and some swell quite larger.

What was impressive is that I had no thoracic injuries like broken ribs, etc. in spite of the fact that I was heavily bruised from my neck to my knees. I mean, black and blue on my entire torso!
I attribute this lack of further injuries to my Forcefield Body Armour!
Bruised but not broken for the majority of covered locations. My pelvis broke from upward force but was not broken from the obvious impact of my pelvis to the ground.
I cannot speak more highly of Forcefield products.


I spent 12 days in the hospital. Six of those days in the ICU. They performed some type of procedure the first ten days. They repaired my ankle on Wednesday (the crash was on Monday). On Friday they repaired my pelvis.
Having had two prior back surgeries, I was prepared for the pain. That was easy to deal with. The biggest challenge was being told that I would be in a wheelchair for 3-4 months! Me, In a wheelchair??
Up to this point I figured I was just busted up like racers sometimes are.
I didn't fully grasp the seriousness of my injuries until my trauma physician came by for a long chat. He flat out told me that "had I not been flown to John Muir I would have likely died." "Didn't you notice that we were still giving you blood transfusions 3 days after you were admitted?"
Wow!
So, the repairs are done. I can transfer from the bed to a wheelchair..."you're going home."

The first thing I did when I got home was to troll craigslist for a mobility chair. A Rascal or Moby if you prefer.
Although new these chairs are upwards of $5k, they can be had for a little as $400 used.

I should mention that my ability to come home and to be able to heal at home is directly the result of the unbelievable care of my girlfriend, Deirdre.
She was at the track when I crashed and in the trauma room with me as soon as she could drive there from Sear's. She has bathed me, fed me and been here for me from the start. We had only dated for a few months before this happened. She's a saint!

So I am home and healing. Ready for the 3 month follow up when I can start walking again.
Not so fast!
The follow up appointment doesn't turn out as planned.
May 4th, I see the doctor and his news is not so good.

Now we have the provisions for Chapter 3.

I have included the before and after repair x-rays for your viewing pleasure.
(I had to transfer the files from the proprietary program to OneNote and then to pdf. Sorry if they suck)
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Ankle xray.pdf (153.2 KB, 153 views)
File Type: pdf Hip xray.pdf (143.8 KB, 165 views)
File Type: pdf Ankle repair.pdf (127.2 KB, 100 views)
File Type: pdf pelvic repair 1.pdf (145.1 KB, 166 views)
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Old 06-18-2011, 01:35 PM   #7
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Robert.. having someone to care for you when your so hurt is priceless.. Good on Deirdre

Talk about a tale.. Actually following the story it sure does make me realize I really had no idea how badly you were hurt... and how close you came to dying.

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Old 06-18-2011, 02:14 PM   #8
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Amazing, glad to hear you made it. Looking forward to reading chapter 3.
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Old 06-18-2011, 02:45 PM   #9
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Maybe chapter 2 should be posted here also ... so a thread subscription tells us of updates
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Old 06-18-2011, 02:59 PM   #10
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Damn ....
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RIP Kelly Ruiz (7/21/81-10/14/07) Kari Prager (10/21/47-11/14/10)

"I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge I see all kinds of things you can't see from the center." Kurt Vonnegut

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Old 06-18-2011, 03:27 PM   #11
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Dear god...that pelvic stuff had me tearing I'm so happy knowing you will walk (and maybe ride) again. This is the case right? Also knowing there is someone who cares for you is wonderful, but keep in mind if you ever need help or she needs a break, there is a flurry of wonderful people here who would be there for you. You only need ask.

Would you like me to merge your threads so those who have subscribed can keep up with your progress?

All the best,
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Old 06-18-2011, 04:32 PM   #12
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you are cute

too soon

Your gf is a doll for looking after you, an absolute doll

She's got a lot of Irish in her by the way she looks no?

I can't believe you got such major injuries from such a "minor" getoff (not meaning to underestimate the accident, but I have seen way worse pile ups and people walked away from it)

Funny how that happens innit

anyway, good luck with your recovery. Like Adam said there are lots of helpful folks on barf who would be more than willing to lend a hand. Not me though, I am not a nursing type. I could cook you some foods tho

I'd go with Adam's suggestion and have this merged with chapter one
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Old 06-18-2011, 06:34 PM   #13
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I am not hip to such things Dan.
I thought new threads would be better than sifting through 15 pages of posts.
I hate doing that.
Please advise the best way to do all of this...anyone?
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Old 06-18-2011, 07:02 PM   #14
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Threads merged at OP's request
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Old 06-18-2011, 07:37 PM   #15
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Glad you were on a fast track to a complete recovery and have a great support system!
Beautiful pic of the two of you.
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