I Should Not Be Alive
On October 7th, 2010 I should have died.
Now, just over seven months from that day I am still processing all that I have learned from this experience. As I continue to seek God as to why I am still here, why this happened to me, and what it means for the rest of my life I have decided to let you process along with me.
I am realizing now that crashing my dirt bike quite possibly could be one of the most significant spiritual events of my life, but before we get to that let me tell you what happened.
I had just sold an old dual sport motorcycle the week before, and I already had my eyes on a newer, faster, lighter, and better performing dirt bike. On Monday of that week I went to test ride the bike with a friend, we saw it needed a few things done to it, but the guy was willing to negotiate and I ended up buying it that night. This whole process took longer than expected and as a result I was late for music practice at church.
Due to my obvious excitement for my new purchase, my next several evenings were filled with working on the bike. I had made plans to go on its inaugural ride after church on Sunday so I needed to get it ready. On Thursday I got a call saying the new clutch cable had arrived, so after work I picked it up before I went home. Once I was home I changed the cable and crank case oil; now it was time to test it out.
I started the bike for the first time since I bought it and rolled it out of the garage. As I did, my 3 boys were playing in the driveway, and now watching me intently. Feeling the weight of leading by example, I went back into the garage and grabbed my helmet. Once I strapped it on, I jumped on the bike and took off around the corner. There are a bunch of vacant lots behind our house I decided to ride through, and once I was in the dirt I punched the gas. I started through the gears—the bike was running strong, the new cable was working great, and I was full of confidence. I made it to the top of 3rd gear (somewhere around 40 miles an hour) and suddenly everything went into slow motion.
The only thing I remember about that moment was this thought continually running through my mind over and over again, “Maureen is going to kill me, Maureen is going to kill me.”
I had hit a pile of rocks and concrete chunks someone had dumped in one of the lots. It was on a slight down slope and covered by some weeds and I did not see it until I was already in the air, off the bike, and flipping through the air. I can still see the vivid picture my mind took, which I later realized was the aerial view of the rocks. The first thing to hit the ground was my head, followed quickly by my left arm. After the impact of the ground I ended up flat on my back. I sat up and trying to catch my breath I lifted my arms and instantly my left arm buckled.
A lady driving through our neighborhood saw me fall, and quickly drove down by where I had wrecked. As she yelled at me asking if I was ok, I stood up holding my arm and walked toward her. She drove me back to my house where my wife and boys were still out front. My wife, in a state of panic drove me to the hospital. Once I was assessed I was transported by ambulance to a different area hospital, one that could handle my injuries better. I had surgery on my left arm that night, which started my 3 day hospital stay full of scans, tests, pain meds, needles, nurses, tons of family and friends praying for me, and a lot of questions.
My injuries were summed up into a broken left radius (arm), a broken sternum, and a broken back. When I landed on my head, the face shield of my helmet dug into my chest which broke my sternum. My helmet stopped my neck from being injured but the force went further down my spine which crushed T9, T7, T5, and T4 vertebrate. The doctors said if I had not had my helmet on it would have most likely killed me instantly. My life would have ended 50 feet past that pile of rocks.
I soon realized that a week before while selling my old motorcycle, I had done basically the same thing on my old bike with out a helmet on. Truthfully if my boys had not been out front, I am not sure if I would have put on my helmet. This obviously hit me like a ton of bricks, not that I needed to be “hit” with anything more.
After being in a back brace for 10 weeks, a lot of medical bills, and a pretty cool scar on my arm I can say I am mostly physically recovered. However, I am still not completely sure of all the spiritual and emotional lessons I have taken from this. If you want to process it all along with me, stay tuned…