Its been three weeks now and I am just and inch and a half shorter, I am no longer flat on my back at less than 30 degrees. I can walk but still need help standing up or wiping my bum. Talking, eating, moving around, a miracle of no jest. My pain meds are at a minimum. Every breath I take one of thankfulness.
00:01 - I was taking my gentile but fast ride down hill from the local state park “Look Out Point”. The conditions were dry and hot, with no traffic, the road in perfect shape having been repaved after the forest fire a few years ago. Along the sides of the road were many dead trees and piles of brush with sharp branches. My speed was about 30 Mph and slowing to the bottom of the hills in preparation for a blind turn. Out of the corner of my right eye I saw charging at top speed three feral hogs, one large and two small. They were plowing through the grass and brush and angled to intersect the road just in front of me without diversion.
00:02 - I slammed my brakes slowing my ChroMo UNIVEGA and my 238#s but it seemed that slowing was just going to precipitate a more final convergence of bike, rider and hogs. My choices were to try to slide through and stay on the road or try to make a small diversion into a road way parking annex just to my right. The largest hog no more than tree feet high appeared to be mostly composed of an extremely large head and snout with two teeth the size of my thumbs sticking out from its lower jaw. The smaller ones were mere shadows. I had slowed to about 18-19 Mph. Maybe I could jog right and recover.
00:03 - My final thought was what if I hit or startled the hogs they would turn on me. Of hogs I have heard many stories that in spite of Texas like exaggeration were mostly true and gruesome. You just don’t mess with feral hogs unless fully prepared. The hogs passed in front of me as I jogged right. They may not have even seen me they were running so fast. My front wheel bit then sunk into soft gravel on the roadway shoulder as it skipped into a fallen tree. I was in the air coming down chest first my sternum slamming into a burnt stump about 18“ high. As my body folded my head banged directly down into the sticks and dirt at the stump base as I flipped. I could hear the crunching of helmet and bone. I then was in the air again bouncing off the stump and buried back first into a pile of debris, branches, brush, and fallen trees wrapped in thistle. My only thought was “Do not loose consciousness.”.
And I did not. No air I forced myself to breath raggedly then checked my self for feeling of head neck toes, it was so hard to breath and my upper body was loose and disconnected. Blood flooded my eyes. Thankful that I was not fending off hogs it took several minutes to struggled to the road. I knew that if I stayed were I was there was no visible sign of my presence from the road. At the road I got my feet under me and staggered, it was so hard to breath, do not loose consciousness. Some how I got to my not so high an IQ smart phone. My fastest ride out not 911 but my wife a nurse just two miles from home and a transport to the ER less than 3 miles away. At the ER I stepped out of the truck and stood blood pouring from my head an asked for a back board and collar. The medics totally surprised as they had never had a patient ask for them.
From our local ER to Austin trauma center and a long row of studies and tests and I live. The current verdict is Broken sternum with hematoma, two displaced ribs, compression fractures T7 to T12, Compression Fracture L2, Displaced L5, contusions Right knee, arms, back, chest, head, Head lacerations, and a very painful neck.
I am alive. This could have so easily been death or paraplegia. My family and friends and community are all praying for me and its working. I am getting better everyday. I think back on previous spills that I have had even at much higher speeds and more rugged terrain but at 60 years I guess things just can’t take the same beating they used to. Now my biggest problem is trying not to be such a burden around the house. I have less leeway than a porch dog at this time but I know it will get better. I am in an LS spine brace, a type of clam shell that mobilizes the spine (mutant ninja turtle type brace). If I’m lucky I will be able to remove it after Thanks Giving.
My boys brought the UNIVEGA in and let me look at it. WOW, it looks great! I’m not sure but I don’t even think the fork is bent and the wheels are almost true. Of course thats all I got to look at before it was chased out of the house.
I don’t know when I’ll ride again but I’ve got three bikes to build up and that should be fun when I’m allowed in the garage again. My thoughts on Helmets is now changed. I have always thought them a burden and viewed them as flimsy attempts at offering more peace of mind than protection. Over the years I have worn them more for fear of road rash than contusion. My cheap little WallMart Bell helmet really did its job. When my head impacted the ground it caved in spreading out the blow. Small sticks poked through the holes in the helmet sticking my skull and causing lacerations. I believe it saved me from a cranial fracture.
I have talked to people around town here in Bastrop and most everyone has a story about their encounters with feral hogs. One person over in Smithville was nearly disemboweled by one when stepped off of his tractor. I am still not a fan of mandatory bicycle helmets but I will admit their use is well vested. Thats the long story. We’ll see more as I go along and thank you all for your kind thoughts and prayers. Next trip to Vegas I don’t think I’ll be gambling. Most likely I’ve used up more than all my luck. Thank God...