Hello and apologies for the length of this post,
I am very, very thankful to be alive, today. I normally ride to and from work each day, 365 days a year, in Chicago, come rain or come shine. On June 1st, I was riding my road bike up Lincoln Avenue and Montrose at around 3:30 pm, going home from work during my lunch hour, when a moron who had parked "doored" me at the exactly the wrong time; I careened off the door (I was clipped in) and into the side of a truck.
My bike "travelled" with me against the truck, and then I hit the pavement,and it mangled my right leg, just to the right of the knee and then a large gash throughout the thigh; I quickly realized I was bleeding; an ambulance rushed me to the hospital, which was about two miles away.
At the hospital, I was met by the trauma team; I vaguely remember telling someone my story, and then remarked how cold it was getting.
I next remember waking up 4-5 days later. The impact into the truck had created an "open book" pelvis, requiring multiple surgeries, including the initial wearing of what is known as an "extrnal fixator", basically a metallic 2 x 4 attached around my waist, designed to stablize the pelvis. In addition, I had suffered two broken ankles, a hernia, and my mangled right leg had endured what is medically known as "deglovement"; basically a large part of the thigh was black-near gangrenous, and required a large amount of muscle to be removed. It was not a pretty sight.
After six days of wearing the external fixator in the Surgical ICU, where my leg was continually wrapped and re-wraped every six hours and I had begun hallucinating from the pain meds and was literally unable to sleep and would count the seconds down on the digiital clock, I went through a successful pelvic surgery; the external fixator was removed and in its place was an small internal plate and screw. I was then instructed that, for recovery purposes, I could not put any weight on my right leg for 12 weeks.
I then did the most difficult thing, from a physical standpoint, I have ever had to do: to learn to sit up on my bed. It took every ounce of effort to accomplish this elementary task and left me utterly exhausted.
Then, I had two concurrent medical tasks: to undergo intensive inhouse physical therapy (involving getting in and out of a wheel chair, learning to go to the bathroom) and to wrap my leg under a wound vac, whose purpose was to suck up the bad fluids and make the remaining muscles even, in preparation for an eventual skin graft.
Some time later, on July 5th, the skin graft was successful; three strips from my left leg were transferred to the right. But it's success created a setback to my physical rehabilitation, particularly given that the left leg wraps were physically stapled to my skin.
Finally, the staples, along with the wraps, were removed. I was eventually told that it will take two full years for the skin graft to heal, to transform the feel of it from a lizard-like quality to actual skin-like feel.
On July 19th, I was finally discharged, allowing me to go home and continue in-house physical therapy. Just this week, the orthopedic surgeon said that I can now put 25% of my body weight on my right leg, and in two weeks, that figure will be increased to 50%. Also: the broken ankles have also healed. This means that I can exchange my wheel chair to crutches.
I have a long road back to full recovery; it will literally take months of time in the gym to revert back to relative normality. A good friend of mine noted that I was the luckiest unlucky person he had known: I had suffered many traumas, but no head injuries, no upper body injuries, no neurological injuries.
Irony: my years of bike riding, contributing substantially to my relatively healthy disposition and constitution, contributed to saving my iife in the precious first few days, when I was intubated and in a ventilator and experiencing ridiculous blood loss that had to be continually replenished.
I will someday return to riding my bike, again. The moron who created the accident will not deny me this, which is one of the great pleasures of life.