Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Broken Neck .....

I mentioned earlier, in the helmet post below that I appreciate helmets as I had my ass saved by one once. Here's the deal.

I bought a slightly used 72 Triumph Bonniville in 1973. Beautiful Bike. It was a fun, great handling machine and I loved it from the first time I rode it. I was a complete squirrel but that's just the way I was about everything back then. Nowadays, I don't have near the manic energy for that and have to save what little energy I have for those times that I really need it. Mania is underrated in my opinion.

Anyway ... I went to pick up my friend Jeff after school let out. We left together and headed toward his house taking the street behind the school. First wrong move. The parking lot empties out that way. Not too bright on my part but at the time it seemed like the thing to do. The parking lot entrance/exit is less than a block from the corner, so I really didn't have the time or space to be going too fast. I should have had the time and space to be watching out WTF was happening around me though. A young lady, Debbie, driving her dad's 1971 Nova home that day, decided she was going to exit the parking lot without stopping or doing any of that normal, look both ways shit. No, she just came across that lot and kept right on going out into the street. About 15 - 20 feet from Jeff, Me and the Bike.

WHAM!!! - Jeff, Me and the Bike parted company at this point. The Bonniville became more than "Slightly Used" at just about that time also.

Packed it right into the left front wheel of that Nova. Shit, I never even left a friggen skid mark we were so close. It retrospect, if We'd have been going any faster, she'd have plowed right into the side of us and that would have been way worse. Well, I did attempt to countersteer away from her but it didn't do any good. It did change our trajectory and where we landed though.

It's weird how time really does slow down when shit like this happens. I remember looking her directly eye to eye through the windshield, as I was launched like a Titan missile over the hood of her car! I was launched about 60 feet from the point of impact and did a Lawn Dart, head first landing on the curb on the other side of the street. Now, I didn't know this at the time because I was knocked colder than a mackerel.

I really don't have any idea how long I was out. But when I woke up there was a Cop (whose name I forget) standing over me looking me in the face. He said something like "I don't think he's dead" or some shit.

The Cheech and Chong Ambulance service showed up about then. I was still listening to the bells and whistles going off in my head and was clueless about Jeff, what happened, etc.

It seemed that Jeff's guidance system at liftoff was considerably different, as he went about 30 - 40 degrees to the left from the trajectory I'd been programmed with. He touched down in the yard of a home across the street from the exit of the parking lot.

Jeff had a laceration on his leg that was bleeding some and Cheech and Chong decided that he was the critical patient and put him on the only cart available in the back of the Cadillac hearse painted to look like an ambulance. Cheech bent over me and took his scissors out and cut the chin strap on my helmet. When he started to take it off ..... It broke in half!!! Crushed right down the middle!

They scooped me up and put me in the front seat on the passengers side. I thought the damn Caddy was on fire there was so much smoke in it. Now I may have had a head injury, but there was one thing I was sure of. The car was not on fire. But something had been burning in there very recently. Cheech was the driver and Chong was in the back somewhere with Jeff. Even with the windows down it took a couple of blocks to clear the smoke out of that Caddy.

Keep in mind, this was the early 70's. So this kind of thing was a lot more common then. It didn't do much for their EMS skills. No cervical collar, back board, nuthin' on either of us. I had a broken foot and a bunch of crushed toes, along with some road rash. Jeff, had his laceration and some road rash too. Both of us had what we call in the emergency medical biz - Mechanism of injury. These two clowns were either to stoned or to stupid to know any better. Maybe both.

The nearest Hospital was about 20 - 25 miles away, so they took us to the local clinic/Doctors office. Both of the Morons took the cart with Jeff inside. I was in the Caddy waiting. It's probably a good thing my head was still spinning, because I didn't realize how friggin long I was out there. Jeff finally asked Chong, "Where's ****?" And got - "Oh Shit, We left the other Dude in the car!" in reply. They came up with another cart somewhere and got me inside then.

While laying on the cart, My family Doctor walks by and looks at my foot. He cracks some shit about "Looks like we may have to amputate." and keeps on walking. SHIT!! I knew it hurt like hell and was mangled up and bloody. AMPUTATE? SHIT!! The little prick was trying to be funny.

I swore I'd get even w/ him. I did too but that's another story. They stiched Jeff up and cut my big toenail in half with a pair of sidecutters to relieve the pressure (messy as hell. Hurt like a bitch. But felt better immediately) and put a half assed cast on my foot and sent us out. No neck or head xrays, no spinal nuthin'.

About 6 months later, I was a passenger in a rear ender. Smoochied and broke the windshield. Knocked cold again. It was in a big city this time and was handled in a professional manner. Board and collared. The ER Doc was looking at my neck Xrays and says - "When did you break those two vertebra?" . I explained the Cheech and Chong story figuring that had to be it and he told me I was lucky I hadn't sneezed to hard and killed myself.

This turned out to be way longer than I planned. But at least you can see why I'm such a believer in helmets. I'll tell the story of revenge on that asshole Doc later.
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