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Hey Elefantino!(20 posts)

Hey Elefantino!Len J
Jan 11, 2002 7:00 AM
We've watched the countdown.......
Are you riding again?
How is it?

C'mon it's Jan, we need to know.

No, I am not, and I am not making this up...Elefantino
Jan 11, 2002 7:51 AM
I am not riding. Here's the tale:

The night of Dec. 28, I left work about 8:15 p.m., headed home to pack for my trip to the Fiesta Bowl (my Oregon team was playing, and my college roomie lives in Scottsdale); I was scheduled to leave the next morning.

Called the wife as I left the parking lot at work, told her I was on the way home. Then, about two minutes later, I was crossing an intersection when BLAM! — a woman driving a minivan ran the red light and hit me at 40 mph. She plowed into the right front of my wagon, pushed me up onto two wheels, and then the force of the collision pushed me head-on into a light pole.

Thank God I was driving a BMW. Every air bag went off, the front and side of the car crumpled where they were supposed to, and the engine was pushed up into the windshield instead of back and onto my legs.

One of the witnesses (he was one of the guys stopped at the light) rushed over to me and asked me if I had family I wanted to call. He used my cell phone to call my wife, and because she had just talked to me, she thought it was someone playing a sick prank. She even said so. But when the guy put me on the phone, she realized it was real. She was stunned. She asked me if I was OK, and I said I felt sore.

Unfortunately, that was an understatement.

I broke my back.

Yes, friends, I snapped the T7 vertebrae in two. Thankfully, no damage to the spinal cord this time. But I also tore a rotator cuff in my shoulder, cracked several ribs and pulled the LCL in my left knee

Anyway, the authorities were on the scene in minutes, and I was pulled out of the car by the paramedics — and, get this, one of the paramedics who helped the passengers in the van (she was traveling with two small children, all are OK) was one of the guys who took me in after my tree branch incident.

Scarier still: I was in the same trauma bay (#2), and the same room in ICU (837) that I was in the last time! Same nurses, even! ("I remember you; you're the bicycle man!")

Anyway, I am now sitting at home, spending 90 percent of my day in a recliner. I am also wearing a TLSO, which stands for ... well, I forget what it stands for but it's essentially a wool-lined hard plastic body cast from my neck to my lower regions (pubic bone, mid-butt) that I have to wear 24/7.

I have to wear this thing for THREE MONTHS!!!

So you can guess that a) I am not riding, b) I can't even use the trainer, and c) I'm back on pain-killers that make me a tad loopy, d) I am pissed because it was only three days until the end of 2001 and the year couldn't let me go without another catastrophe, and e) I am glad it's 2002.

Legal disclaimer: We have retained counsel, because it was her fault (she said she didn't see the red light, even though two other cars were stopped at the intersection).

BMW disclaimer: The Beemer was totaled, but it gave its life for a good cause. I have already ordered another. And my son went to the wrecking yard and rescued my Thule rack.

So, friends, I am attempting to do some work from home, I will continue to peruse this board, and life goes on.

Aren't you glad you asked?

As always,
No, I am not, and I am not making this up...morey
Jan 11, 2002 8:02 AM
What shitty luck, I hope you are doing OK? I hope you sock it to her. I really was hoping you would start riding again. However, do not give up!
No, I am not, and I am not making this up...patrick
Jan 11, 2002 8:31 AM
Good luck with the recovery.
As bad as it was..........Len J
Jan 11, 2002 8:33 AM
it sounds like it could have been an awful lot worse. Thankk God for a well engineered car.

I am glad you are able to respond to my question. Sounds like you will be back on the bike in time for the good weather.

Sorry you have to go through this.

Wishing you a speedy recovery.


P.S. At least the new bike wasn't totaled in the wreck "S"
That totally sucks. . .js5280
Jan 11, 2002 8:48 AM
I'm sorry to hear your tale Elephantino. That just totally sucks because you've persevered so long from your first mishap. I hope you recover quickly and completely. Any chance of still making the Ride for Roses? That's just over 3 months but I can imagine there may be some recovery time after you get that cast off. Not really much training time before then.

Gees, I guess it's not fair to give you a hard time now cause your Ducks kicked the crap out of my Buffs. I don't think you missed much of a game but I'm sure you'd much rather been there instead. Take care of yourself and keep your spirits up. Karma owes you big time.
Mike, I am so sorry that happened to youKristin
Jan 11, 2002 8:59 AM
Wow. That is so much to go through in one year. I don't even know what to say except that I'm glad you weren't killed and that it wasn't worse. I pray that you experience a speedy and complete recovery and that you experience many, many blessings along the way, though some be disguised.

God bless in your journey,
and get well soon!
Jan 11, 2002 9:36 AM
glad to hear that you are semi-okay! sue the poo out of the woman! that is an unbelieveable story! anyway, i hope you heal quickly and have no lingering effects from the back injury. for now, ride the recliner!
Good grief!!DINOSAUR
Jan 11, 2002 9:38 AM
I am saddened to read of this, what a bunch of bad luck!!
I hope you are back to riding by this summer!! Persevere my friend, you have a challenge ahead of you. For what it's worth, if some fat, 56 year old guy who hadn't cycled for a decade can suceed, you can. I came back after a bad crash also, but nothing compared to yours. Keep us posted...

No, I am not, and I am not making this up...weiwentg
Jan 11, 2002 10:36 AM
hey, thank God indeed that you're safe. get well soon!
What can anyone say...Tig
Jan 11, 2002 10:52 AM
What can anyone say that could possibly help? Not much!

First, I'm very glad nothing happened to your spinal cord. Luckily they didn't have to fuse any vertebrae together. The ribs, knee and rotator cuff should heal up nicely if they didn't get too traumatized. Hopefully you won't have to go through PT. Wearing the body cast must be like the halo... just a different kind of hell.

The car was worth its price. I wish I could put my wife in one instead of a Taurus. The legal road will most likely be a short one since it was a clear case with witnesses. The money will be a small compensation for the pain you are/will be going through, but it should help.

Now to something more fragile... your peace of mind and mental status. After all the crap you've already gone through during the last 3 months, and then, so close to full freedom, having it all ripped away from you by someone... well, the damage can be painful in many different ways. The word, "disappointment" is too weak to use. A big part of your life has been stolen from you. To be able to get back to where you should be can take a while. Being angry and even depressed is quite normal, and would not mean you are crazy by any means. Delayed stress syndrome is very real. After being hit on a bike I kept getting an image flash for almost a year of someone coming up behind me with a baseball bat and WHACK to the head! The wounds to your body are only a part of the picture. You are a victim now. What you will want to strive for is to become a survivor! If, and I mean only if, you find yourself having a difficult time getting through this, by all means ask for some counseling help. It could help prevent unforeseen problems down the road. Trust me on that one!

Keep us informed, and don't let anyone or anything steal your spirit away from you. You may not know it for a while, but the quote, "There are no accidents", will become true when you someday look back and see what all this has actually done for you.
Horrible. Get well soon! nmgtx
Jan 11, 2002 11:47 AM
Hope you have a better 2002kenyee
Jan 11, 2002 12:17 PM
And I hope you ordered something bigger than your 323i wagon. As in most cases of conservation of momentum (a.k.a. accidents), the more mass the better, and a minivan has quite a bit more mass than a car. I'm glad you weren't on your bike at the time. You probably wouldn't be writing about it.

Take care and hope the healing goes well.
You couldn't make up a story like that ...tarwheel
Jan 11, 2002 12:32 PM
Nobody would believe it. That is really tough, and I'm truly sorry for your misfortune. Keep us posted on your progress, and I hope you'll continue to participate in our "virtual cycling" discussions on the board.
That is HORRIBLE!!!cyclinseth
Jan 11, 2002 1:56 PM
Do your doctors say you'll make full recovery? I am sorry this happened to you. I'm sorry it happens to anybody.

Guns don't kill people, negligent/angry motorists do.
Jan 11, 2002 2:00 PM
i and life goes on.

That's what you said, and in view of everything that you're going through, that's a great attitude to have, so congratulations on making it through and good luck in your recovery.
Stunned!Mel Erickson
Jan 11, 2002 2:33 PM
What bad luck! I can believe you're one hurtin' unit. Hope everything heels well, including your psyche. We'll be thinking of you. Keep us posted when you can.
re: Hey Elefantino!Bike Fool
Jan 11, 2002 10:10 AM
Hang in there, man!!! Hope ya get better real soon...
re: Hey Elefantino!Jon
Jan 11, 2002 11:27 AM
Unbelievable!!!! Just goes to show that BMWs are worth something. Nothing to add, except
my name to all the above-well wishers. Somehow, sometime things WILL change for
the better for you. Keep the faith.
Thanks, folks.Elefantino
Jan 11, 2002 3:38 PM
I appreciate the kind words. Just came back from a meeting with the attorney — getting in and out of a car and sitting in an office for an hour are new definitions of pain.

To answer some questions:

• Ordered a new 325i wagon. Bigger may be better, but I'm hooked on the baby Beemer.

• No RFTR this year. Won't get the brace off until the first week of April, and I couldn't handle a Texas century with a week of training after being sedentary so long. I'll continue to raise $$, but the trip will wait 'til next year. I may try to do one of the AIDS rides in the fall.

• The time I have off means ... well, I'll just have to buy another bike!! I think this time I'll tell the wife beforehand.

If we get a good settlement, it'll be a Litespeed, or maybe a Seven Odanata Ti, or maybe even a Colnago. (Wouldn't that be a hoot if I posted one of those "What should I buy, Litespeed or Colnago?" threads, the kind we all get so ticked about?)

If not, it'll be a Schwinn Varsity. Circa 1970.

Again, thanks to all. I'll keep in touch, of course.

P.S.: Which is better: Shimano or Campy? (Sorry; couldn't resist.)