Typically narcissistic blogging.

Collision

Hello, Gentle Reader. Been a while since I blogged, and odds are you know why, but I’m gonna tell the story like you don’t, so you will just have to sit and listen with the rest of the kids.

On January 19th (that’s the day after my birthday, for those of you playing the Whiskeypants! Home Game™), I decided that I wanted a sandwich from Berkeley Bowl, where the sandwiches are sufficiently delicious that I was willing to brave one of the mid-level circles of Hell to get one. I picked up a few other things, hopped back on Clyde, my beloved motorcycle, and moseyed back home. I was enjoying the sunshine and the clear roads, taking it slowly because I hadn’t been out in a bit and wanted to enjoy it.

If you have never ridden a motorcycle, you might not realize how hyperaware bikers tend to be of their surroundings. That’s not to say we can’t be taken by surprise, but we are also intensely aware that death or severe bodily injury could come from any direction, and the best way to avoid it is to know what’s going on around us at all times. What we absolutely cannot be prepared for is the sheer cluelessness of the motorists around us.

So, when I noted a car coming from the opposite direction that was signaling a left turn, I could not know that: 1. When the driver slowed as I approached the intersection it was not because she saw me; 2. She wasn’t slowing to give me my right of way; 3. She was slowing for some other reason related to her turn.

Thinking she understood that there was oncoming traffic and that I did have the right of way, I entered the intersection. I was wrong; she also entered the intersection. Having corrected her initial turn, she sped right along into her left, and into me.

crashmap

The map is not included for accuracy, but just to give you an idea of what happened. She hit me dead on. I couldn’t possibly recreate that angle accurately, but as you can see, the turn requires a funky angle to begin with. Her fender definitely connected with my left leg, however, and both my bike and I were flung quite a ways. The green pentagon represents where Clyde landed, more or less, and the yellow represents where I landed.

I went down screaming, body and head hitting the ground hard (were it not for my beloved Shoei helmet I might not be here to write this blog post, actually). I will spare you the details of how it felt. I will tell you that in the time spent waiting for the paramedics, I screamed, I wept, I begged for help, I asked how my motorcycle was [PRIORITIES], and I knew there was something horribly wrong with my leg. They finally got me out of the street and into Highland Hospital in Oakland, where treatment began.

I was several days in the hospital and one operation in before a decision was finally made (a decision I was and am 100% behind) to amputate my left leg below the knee. Basically, January 19 and one very careless driver managed to change my life forever. But I ain’t mad.

I got lucky. That accident could easily have killed me or left me with much more severe injuries and disabilities. In the past two weeks I have discovered that I have a veritable army of friends and family who are willing to step up in ways small and huge. I’m gonna have a badass prosthesis. And perhaps most importantly to my happiness, I can still ride motorcycles. In the mean time, I am learning how to function minus a left leg. I am learning just how annoying a phantom limb can be. I am learning how much my friends love and care for me. And, while it will in no way be easy, and it will take a lot to get me back to the point where I can really enjoy my life again, things are gonna be all right.

Insurance is not going to cover all of my medical expenses, nor all of the costs of the changes I will have to make in terms of lifestyle, living and transportation accommodations, and of course there will be myriad other expenses that will crop up as a matter of course. My friends have set up a fundraiser to help me and if you wouldn’t mind either donating or sharing (or both, if you are feeling wacky like that), I would appreciate it greatly. However, no obligation, Gentle Reader: I love you regardless. 

In the mean time, as I heal, my stump is gonna make faces at you.

IMG_8654

16 responses

  1. Reblogged this on Choosing the Green – Roghnú Glas and commented:
    Brilliant writer, Great rider and extended family who got the short end of the stick. Please help if you can

    February 1, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    • Thank you, Shannon! I appreciate the reblog, and the kind words.

      February 4, 2015 at 2:21 am

  2. Hey, you don’t know me, but I’ve seen you at Obscura Society and Odd Salon things, and followed your tweets about the ones I missed. Speaking as a fellow rider- you just lived my nightmare. Just a sprain recently put me off the bike for a month, I can’t even imagine relearning the game with a peg leg. You are totally rad for pulling through this with grit and a grin. Rock on!

    February 3, 2015 at 11:36 am

    • Thank you!

      I know, it’s scary. But one of the best things is that I *can* and *will* ride again. That’s a big part of my motivation to get through this. Rubber side down, friend. Hope to see you at Odd Salon!

      February 4, 2015 at 2:22 am

  3. jenneviere

    Reblogged this on Yosha Web and commented:
    One of our dearest friends in the entire world was in an accident a couple of weeks ago. Ever the undaunted spirit, Whiskeypants is making great progress, and we’re hopeful that there will be Miss Y & Whiskeypants pillow fights again in the not-too-distant future.

    February 3, 2015 at 11:37 am

  4. very brave. salute!
    and all warm wishes!

    February 3, 2015 at 9:30 pm

  5. Kristen Loper

    A little over two years ago, I was driving behind someone from out of town, who didn’t realize that she should slow down on a bridge and not instead check out the gps below her line of sight.

    She plowed into the car in front of her, who had slowed down, and both came to a crashing halt. I put on the brakes and put my feet down (I was maybe going 20mph?), expecting to come to a stop. I was not expecting to keep sliding along on the bridge upright, and then tip over and fracture my elbow in several places.

    If it weren’t for my helmet, I’d have been gooey brain paste all over the pavement, and if it weren’t for my gloves, my hands would have been badly broken and probably partially degloved.

    I ended up having a long surgery to put my arm back together, after almost 2 weeks of being in a soft cast while waiting for surgery. I’ve got lots of metal in my arm, but my elbow works at about 95% and only hurts about 50% of the time.

    I can’t imagine the pain and agony you went through, but I can empathise with your situation. My ride was totaled, but I got a replacement and was back on it about 5 months after the accident. I know that your recovery will be longer than mine, and your situation much much more serious, but I hope you can get back up on two wheels sooner than later.

    The best thing about the whole accident is that I realized that a lot of people love and care about me, and without the generosity of friends and family, I’d have been up shit creek. My insurance only paid for a little bit of the accident, and fortunately, the hospital ate a large part of the bill as a foundation grant, but my life changed dramatically, and is radically different to this day.

    I don’t think I’d have minded a GoFundMe back then, but it wasn’t really a thing yet. Hopefully you’ve got something like that for yourself.

    It sounds like you are pretty bad ass, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that you can transition smoothly to your new life post accident.

    Cheers.

    February 3, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    • It’s amazing how quickly somebody else’s carelessness can change your life. In this case, I think I am actually coming out of this situation a little better off than you. Sure, I lost part of a limb, but once that heals, there shouldn’t be that much chronic pain to deal with and my lifestyle really won’t change all that much.

      My friends have really stepped up–I am so glad yours did, too! It’s a great feeling, right?

      In any case, thank you so much for the encouragement and the crossed fingers. Take care, and ride safe!

      February 4, 2015 at 2:26 am

  6. B.A.D.D. — http://www.baddcentral.com

    February 8, 2015 at 5:04 pm

  7. I hope you have a good lawyer, and Godspeed. 🙂

    February 9, 2015 at 6:25 am

  8. I got a left below knee amputation when I was a kid (pedestrian-bus). As a teen I rode motorcycles offroad, during the 1970s. In this prehistory, the only modification required was re-mounting the left-foot shift lever vertical so that I could kick it forward or backward to shift. I know there are adaptations for modern motorcycles but don’t know the details. Every prosthetist knows some motorcycle riders. If you haven’t heard of it, the Amputee Coalition of America has a peer visitor program. They also have an information packet for new amputees.
    I am more into bicycles now. The major effect this has had on my life is that my job choice has always considered the health insurance. This may change with ACA.

    February 9, 2015 at 6:44 pm

  9. Jen Tomes (Nelson in the ECVHS days)

    I remember you from our high school days…always had something quirky to say… 🙂 I was in a wreck on my bike almost 3 years ago…and 5 days before my wedding!! I got in a fight with a concrete barrier…while I like to say I didn’t exactly loose that fight, going 6ish down the freeway when I hit and I didn’t drop the bike, I did shatter my foot in about 10 spots or so. 5 days later…on a lot of meds…instead of walking down the aisle I rolled in a wheelchair! As soon as my doctor gave me the ok I was back on my bike…despite some telling me I was crazy lol. While my situation was no where close to how severe yours was…and the accident was MY fault…the healing process is still hard. I can’t do some of the stuff I use to and it sucks. But you just learn to adapt…the fact that you have this amazingly positive attitude is great!! Keep your spirits up!!!

    February 11, 2015 at 8:25 am

  10. Pingback: 2015: The Year of “Welp…” | The Adventures of the Terminally Snarky

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