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I NEEDED back on the bike!

Updated: Aug 31, 2023


I NEEDED back on the bike! (A Support2UP story)

We want to hear from you! The truth is you are unique and you have something to say! There are several reasons why riders decide to ride 2UP. This is one of their stories.

 

Oct 13, 2019 was the day.

I was a 50 year old female


To start I have always and absolutely loved being on the back of a bike. It was our "go-to" transportation when it wasn’t extremely cold. We had just got back a couple months prior from an 11 day, 7 state, and just over 3,100 mile ride. It was my 50th birthday gift! I had been on the back of a bike for some time at this point and felt the need to go out and try on my own, so I signed up and paid for a weekend class to learn to ride and get my endorsement.


The Sunday before my class we decided together that maybe I should practice on a dirt bike (2012 Kawasaki KX450) to get a good feel for things. I got dressed in long sleeves, pants, full face helmet and etc. I was nervous. The bike was big. I am 5’9, my toes just touching. I live on a small acreage so it was a perfect place. I tried a few times with bad attempts and outcomes but I was determined and knew I would figure it out. I had accomplished a few unintentional wheel stands and landed on my butt a few times. At this point he got on the back with me and was guiding me along. I panicked. I hit the throttle wide open, standing the front wheel straight in the air. He flew off the back and I followed.


This is where things went bad…..

As I am coming off the bike, my left boot heel gets caught in the back rear tire. I am immediately “wish boned”. My left leg below the knee has been twisted tearing every ligament tied to it and leaving it in a non-front facing position. My right leg is snapped off at the top of the femur causing a tree break which looks like branches on a tree. I acquired several small fractures down the femur bone as well. The other snap was the ball of my hip joint, cracking it and breaking a piece off. I was not capable of getting to the kill switch. The bike decided to “show off” and stay up on both wheels dragging me through the pasture until we hit a fence and the bike could be stopped. He got to me….his face told a lot.


Here is where we made some bad decisions….

I needed my foot out of the bike. Now! He tried and it wouldn’t budge. I extended my arms and I said please pull me out. He did and my foot eventually slid out of my boot.


I needed my helmet off. Now! I was getting sick. We took it off.


Neither one was a good idea as we had no clue exactly what my condition was or what was hurt.


I was calm. There was no pain but I sensed things were not right. My body and mind were in shock I am sure. I pleaded with him not to call my family. I just needed “a minute” to pull myself together and figure out how to get up. We tried different things with no results. I could not move and some pain was showing itself. We stopped trying and he laid beside me and we cried. He no longer honored my wish and he called the ambulance. The volunteers showed up first and then the medical team. I was immediately given an IV for pain and then they had the heavy task of carrying me out of the pasture uphill. They couldn’t drive to me because the ground was so soft at the time and there was the risk of getting stuck.


We arrived at the hospital. My pain arrived with me! They could barely touch me without me screaming and they decided at that time to administer the drug Ketamine so they could do their assessment of my injuries. This drug took me on a faraway trip. When my senses came back I was furious. I was mad and loud about the fact that I was injured. I wanted everything to go back to the way it was. I had a new position at my work that started the next day. I was scared of losing my job. I had so many emotions starting to come over me. I knew my family was going to be upset with my decision to practice or even ride. I was going to get the “look what happened” because of it. And so I cried….


The top trauma surgeon from the area was contacted and I was scheduled for surgery the next morning. I was told that if I was on pavement I would have possibly lost my legs. Since my legs were basically detached, skin and muscle only hold on for so long on pavement.

The way my right leg and hip were broken, they were only able to try their best to put things back in line and hope for good results. I had a rod and lag bolts to hold the leg in place. The goal was for new bone growth to take over and everything marry back together. So we waited. The following week I had the second surgery on the left knee. They could only repair the MCL at the time. The knee surgery seems to be a success!


I eventually received blood transfusions as I had a lot of internal bleeding. I was alone when they came to my room to hook it all up. I was scared of this procedure. It was a strange feeling mentally I suppose. The trauma team informed me I would not have made it through the night from the amount of internal bleeding if I didn’t come in. Again I cried.


I remained in the hospital for 21 days. It seemed to go fast for the most part. My pain levels kept me on pain meds and I think I was not present a lot of the time. I had plenty of visitors but I continued to cry. My care on this particular hospital floor lacked compassion and caring. I felt alone a lot of the time consumed in my own thoughts. The daily movement of my body to change the bed or get me on a bed pan was excruciating. I could not go to the bathroom by myself, someone had to always clean every area for me. Modesty went out the window. It was difficult to eat even though that was one of my highlights of the day. I was eventually moved to the rehab floor and this is when some amazing staff stepped up and helped me on my journey to break out of there. I worked hard because I wanted to go home. On the 18th day they were able to get me onto a shower chair and I got to feel the water run over my head and body. It was indescribable! And I cried.


The day came and I “passed” rehab enough to go home. Having some upper body strength was definitely to my benefit. I was still completely non weight bearing on both legs. The wheelchair became my new ride. A ramp was made for me to get my wheelchair up from my garage to the house. I was wheeled in and I cried…hard. But there was my dog, my sweet baby girl who thought I had left her. I had a hospital bed set up in the living room. My wheelchair would not make it into the bathroom so I had to use a commode set up in my laundry room for quite some time. It was a hard one to swallow when someone had to carry your goods to the bathroom and dump it for you. Again I could not shower, only sponge bathing in my temporary bathroom. I slept in the living room in an adjustable bed for a few months while I was in the wheelchair. My dog never left my side. She brought me so much comfort. I had learned to master a slider board. It was a wooden board that I used to slide from the bed to the wheelchair or any other surface. I had in home therapy that came a few time a week. They finally let me stand at my kitchen counter on both legs with no movement. I bawled…


I was very fortunate with my job. My place of work was amazing and understanding. They got me completely set up to work from my bed. I worked from home several weeks and then eventually went into work. My first day back I was greeted with my entire team in welcome back t-shirts! They even got me a desk that moved up and down so the wheelchair would fit.

Eventually I transferred to a fancy walker as I was able to start putting a little weight on the legs. I did really well and finally made it to a cane!


Then things went backwards……9 months in recovery my pain came back and it came back strong and ugly.


I needed more pain meds, I was being refused. They were trying to be careful with giving them to me not understanding my new pain levels. I was finally taken for scans and they discovered that my hip surgery to save things was completely failing. No new bone was growing and the hardware was being rejected and backing out. One of the bolts had backed out completely and had broken off in my muscle tissue. My leg was basically dangling and not attached to anything. My doctor immediately apologized of the lack of understanding of my constant requests for pain meds. I had consultations and was presented with 2 options. I could either keep what I had going on and try bone grafting to keep as much of the original of me as I could and hope for the best or a total hip replacement.


I chose the total hip replacement.


So after almost one year of the accident I got my new hip! More scars added to try to complete some more rivers on the map of my legs. Now I was back to recovery again. This time things were better and things were faster. Again I was determined and kicked butt and of course shed some tears along this part of my journey as well.


I am still in need of an ACL on my left knee but I was told I can live without it until I think I can’t. I am not ready for more surgery or recovery or tears on that right now.


I had so many emotions with my time at home. I was so furious at my situation. Pissed that my life was “ruined”. Pissed at the bad decision to practice to ride. I wanted my old life back. I thought my life as I knew it was over. I was so mean to everyone during this time and then hated myself for being mean to the people that were there for me. I felt like everyone was going about their same daily things and leaving me behind. I didn’t want anyone I associated with to ride a bike. If I couldn’t you shouldn’t either attitude. I hated myself for feeling selfish because plenty of people have it so much worse. I cried and cussed for months. My feelings were all over the place. My people never left my side. I needed to grieve whatever I was grieving. However silly or big anyone thought it was. I needed to feel what I was feeling and my family allowed it.


I was asked by my doctors to consider counseling for such trauma to deal with my emotions. I was also asked as well to address the amount of pain meds I was currently on for so long through counseling. After my last surgery I eventually took myself off of any assistance when it came to the narcotics. Not saying it was easy at all. I think I was more scared of the fear of pain and wouldn’t be able to function without them. I do not necessarily have pain today but I am aware every day that things are a little different. My body might not do exactly the same motion smoothly but I can pretty much do anything again. I had plenty of days that I just felt sorry for myself and made excuses not to try to get better. I allowed myself to struggle if I needed a day. But the next day was always a better day. You would never know I had anything going on with my legs if you see my walk. I don’t have as much swing in my hips like I used to but I am working on it! On most days I forget anything had happened.


A couple years out and I wanted back on. I needed back on. We sold the bike I wrecked on instantly so I didn’t have to look at it. But I looked at our bike, the one we rode so many miles on. I thought I would never ever get on it again. Eventually I started to practice figuring out how to get my leg on it. I then would just sit. I could feel my heartbeat. I could hear my heartbeat. And tears flowed.


I finally asked to be taken for a ride. Whew. I was so nervous. I managed to get on with some assistance. And we were off and it was breathtaking. All the feelings of the open air came back. But I also felt like I was on extreme high alert. I was playing scenarios in my head if we wrecked…would I be so lucky the second time? My mind was a mess. I loved the ride but I was ready to go home. I started going again and again for rides. It became better. I do believe you have to have full confidence in the one controlling the handle bars. And I am fortunate to have that. I fully trust my driver but I know the dangers of two wheels. My mind overtime has definitely eased but I don’t think it would be normal if I didn’t think about what could happen. I do battle the thoughts of my family and how difficult it is for them to understand my need to get back on. That part has been one of the hardest as I know they just care and are scared for me. I continue to pray to give myself and them peace. I do now however look forward to every trip and have learned to get on and off the bike by myself! It may look like a crazy mount but I do it on my own!


I will never regret getting on the bike to practice nor will I ever push blame. I hate the saying “it is what it is” but I cannot change anything about the accident.


I can only share my story.


Please have great patience with yourself. Allow emotions and any sort of grieving to happen, big or small. Give yourself grace. And if you are not ready, that is alright too. There are 4 wheels that are just as fun. I bought a Jeep for that very reason too just in case I could not get back on a bike. Sitting on the deck with the wind blowing and a beverage can be just as freeing. Find something to fill your soul, for me right now it is the bike. I keep the tab open on my computer for a new motorcycle rider class. Maybe someday I will be ready to try and tackle it again. But for now I am good with 2UP.


I am very thankful I still have my legs. I have cussed and cried way too much and prayed for mental and physical healing. Lean on your people especially when your tank is empty. I have such admiration for people with courage and determination who are fighting their own fight. Every day this helps me choose to get up and not give up.


I am phenomenally willed and I will always continue to be my own badass!


Sherri


Do not grow old, no matter how long you live. Never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born - Albert Einstein

 




Do you have a story of why you ride 2UP?


There are several reason why "2UP riders" are in the motorcycle world. We would love to hear stories & adventures from the passenger! Email me at stephanie@theorneryone.com to be featured on our website, blog & social media!

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