… and sadly, it’s because I was. Also perhaps sadly (though I’m not sure) I was on the bicycle, not on a motorcycle. Regardless — WEAR YOUR HELMET. BIKE, BICYCLE — WEAR A HELMET. It saved my life and my brain, even if the lack of a full face on a bicycle was a challenge.
On 29th Nov, I was cycling on Tramway here in Albuquerque. I remember gearing up, leaving (wearing brand new gear) and riding — after sunset, so lights and all. On my way back, at Lomas and Tramway, a driver in a ‘white SUV’ (according to witnesses) made a left-turn into me while I had right of way (not that that counts). We collided at an unknown speed, and I came off significantly worse. In fact, I am lucky to be alive by all accounts. The driver fled the scene.
After the jump, details. TL;DR — I have an incredible partner in Heather, an amazing family, and huge support from my friends. I am incredibly grateful to all of them and while I have significant injuries and damage to my face, throat, pelvis, hip, and knee the recovery should be full if long and not too much fun.
The driver (according to witnesses and the police report) stopped, then ‘departed west on Tramway at a high rate of speed’. No-one got the licence plate, nor were they sure of make and model, and the cameras at the intersection were not working. While APD did respond (and at least one friend of mine was looking for the driver, though he had no idea I was the one hit). Albuquerque Ambulance responded, and I was unconscious when I was picked up.
I recovered in the ambulance enough to give them first my phone number (not useful) and then Heather’s. I was transported to UNMH, where the ER team intubated me and determined the extent of my injuries. Not surprisingly given closing speeds and the fact that I was basically wearing lingerie (or at least lycra) and a beer cooler, they were extensive. I managed to break my jaw in two places (both displaced and comminuted), several teeth, my palette, my nose (and the bones, and a depressed sinus fracture). cheekbones, all the orbitals in both eyes and others. I also had significant damage to the larynx, and a fractured hyoid bone to go along with it. Amazingly, little to no road-rash, but the piece-de-resistance was that my knee drove into the car, with bad lacerations and I suffered a displaced fracture of the posterior pelvis and associated hip dislocation where the femur battered it’s way out of the rear of the my pelvis.
Luckily, fentanyl, other drugs and shock mean I don’t remember much of this. The immediate work was the intubation and reduction of my hip, as well as tractioning it with a bolt run thru’ my shin. (Yay!)
Nov 30th they operated on my face in a long procedure under general. Several plates were inserted, and I had a tracheotomy to help my breathing. I was moved to the ICU, still in critical condition for a few days. They also inserted an NG Dophoff tube to feed me, and the trach and this were the bane of my existence
Dec 5th the operated on my hip in another long procedure. They plated it and re-established it.
The ICU staff at UNMH were amazing — as were my friends who showed up in droves to support me. More amazing was Heather, who was there constantly as I struggled thru’ a painkiller fog.
I was then transferred to a trauma ward, and again — staff, friends, and especially Heather were amazing. My sister flew in from Australia on the way back to the UK, and helped immensely; I am truly blessed My jaw was wired and I was being fed thru’ the tube due to fears that my paralysed vocal chord would lead to me aspirating food. A barium swallow (after a stealth removal of both trach and Dophoff minutes before) showed that I was able to deal with a liquid diet, and I was discharged to a inpatient PT facility Dec 18th.
More to follow on rehab, healing, and the less said about the inpatient PT, the better.