crash - 9 mos later. post-traumatic stress? - MVAgusta.net
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-05-2012, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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crash - 9 mos later. post-traumatic stress?

I'm looking for some support and as always, life experience, from my fellow brutie rides following my head-splat into a guardrail 9 mos ago. Here's my trip so far-

It's been a tough recovery, certainly an enlightening (if unwelcome) journey. Physically, I'm 95% there; arm works fine, my face looks normal, I walk/dance (although more clumsily than before), I'm back to 143 lbs. Even began yoga class with moderate success - good to know I am slightly more flexible than the average. I once again play piano with ease, although my broken arm complains heavily after 2 hrs on keys. So I'm...ridiculously lucky, given my 25% chance of survival at some point. I don't wake up with pain, and I have only my right eyelid to fix (ptosis - droopy eyelid) so as to see better. My right eye sits about 3mm lower in my head now, but it's not awfully noticeable unless I'm snogging someone.

Mentally, I guess it's all there. The two months before the crash are hazy, but long-term memory is unaffected. What bothers me now is my sense of concentration - I get distracted more easily, and am more inclined than before to be forgetful 'in the moment,' as in, what was I just doing, why am I holding this carton of milk? Why did I just go upstairs? Distinguishing dreams and reality can be tiresome (e.g. I have conversations w people that never took place in reality). Conversations that actually took place I can confuse as a dream. Dealing with people - relationships/work - is more difficult in that I always feel under pressure to meet their expectations, imagined or otherwise. I don't even know what some of these expectations are - it's just some nagging feeling. Maybe much of that comes from a self-sense of compromised reliability. At times life has the sense of being a dream-state; I don't feel all there. Suddenly I also feel like I am wasting my life - wrong career, city, etc. I was never crazy about my work, but is this normal following life/death scenarios? Is this like PTSD? I get flashbacks to the coma experience, but that was uncharacteristically wild, and the flashbacks don't bother me much.

As for the bike, she sits pretty and desirable in the garage. Not scared of it, maybe I should be, but it has no sign of ever being in an accident now (thanks MV forum!). However, I have not ridden it more than circling <500ft in my backyard parking lot to 'see how it's like.' What were the experiences in getting back in saddle - never again? conseratively? devil may care? Everyone's attitudes/strategies are different, but my main liability is concern for ever putting friends/family into the same position, at an ICU, or worse.

Anyone with concussion/coma/accident willing to share, it would be nice to hear some of your experience, and the healing process, and what life is like 2,3,5 years later. I know most of use here are not psychologists/brain specialists, but we share a community that faces similar risks/experiences. It's tough to put these feelings in words, but I will be glad for any helpful insight.

Thanks, and safe journeys, Peter
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-05-2012, 01:06 PM
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I was involved in a horrible crash in 2004. Long story short, I low sided my bike under a pick up that pulled out in front of me to avoid broad siding him. The fella driving the pick up was a wanted man and had now intentions of hanging around to help fill out the police report. He immediately tried driving away while I was under the truck along with my bike and ran me over with his back tires. He couldn't drive off because the bike was there so he threw it in reverse and did the unthinkable. This guy panicked and ran me over with his rear tires a total of three times. He was driving a 3/4 ton Ford truck.

Witnesses finally came to my rescue to get him stopped.

You'll now find him in prison looking for parole. We tried him for attempted murder. The drug charges he was running from didn't help his case at all.

17 days in coma. ALL of my ribs were broken. Humerus bone broken and protruding through the top of my shoulder. Left lung collapsed. Spleen destroyed. Major brain trauma (from my helmet breaking and falling off from the sudden impact) Bleeding ulcers on the brain.

After I woke from the coma the docs put my shoulder back together with the help on some titanium A rod through my humerus, two plates and 37 screws. My lung was able to be inflated. Ribs healed up fine. My head was the biggest concern. The docs weren't sure just what extent of damage had been done. I spent a week in Omaha Neb at a wonderful place called Quality Living. They specialize in head trauma and rehabilitation. After a week I was given a clean bill of health and returned home to rehab my shoulder (which was now frozen) and try to go back to work. My rehab doc was very intense and after a week and a half I was back to work with out restrictions.

I bought my Ducati the following week and rode it the same day I bought it. First ever ride since that terrible day. Was I scared ? Oh ya.

But I'd been on two wheels since I was 7. I wasn't ready to give up. On myself or anything else. It's taken some time to trust the others I share the road with, but it has made me a more defensive rider. A little more careful.

Get back on the horse. It may buck you off again but to me... it's worth the pain I suffered. It's been a life long passion, and I'm not ready to end my life.

My medical bills set me back $375,000. He didn't have insurance. It was worth EVERY penny.


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Last edited by cooper3309; 03-05-2012 at 01:08 PM.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-05-2012, 02:01 PM
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DAMN cooper, someone upstairs was looking out for ya....

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-05-2012, 02:25 PM
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You guys have been sent a real tough hill to climb. From what I read you are a shining example and inspiration to all of us...I am touched by your bravery and endurance ,,,joe
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-05-2012, 02:44 PM
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I think it just takes time, Two Daily. Never been through anything like you experienced but I have totaled bikes before and luckily walked away with not much more than road rash and a twisted knee. I did loop a bike once (flipped over backwards doing a wheelie) and that one scared me. There were times when I would wake up suddenly from the feeling of falling - it went away and I got back to riding the next summer and have ridden ever since. I think it is a personal choice. For me riding is very therapeutic and even on solo rides I gain a great deal of pleasure and relaxation from it. Could I give it up or should you-that really is a personel choice based on all of the inputs (family, how it makes you feel, the after-effects of the accident, etc).

You should know that the fear will subside, that simply takes time, the rest is up to you, but God Bless that your here to talk about it.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-07-2012, 11:48 AM
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Wow, nothing so bad as you guys. I've certainly had my share of off's from years of roadracing but that's a different thing.

My worst was ironically on a casual dual sport ride with friends where some clowns cleared me for a jump straight into ditch on my KTM 950. I smacked my helmet into the dash so hard I destroyed it and the GPS and I was out cold for a minute. When I woke up I had no idea who I was or where I was. Little by little it came back over about 20-30 minutes but I was dizzy for months after that. Every morning when I woke and sat up the room would spin so fast I had to lay down. It was a bit scary. Now, years later, I will still have an occasional morning like that.

Since that happened late in the fall I didn't ride again until spring. I was a bit nervous but like every spring the first warm breeze and the feel of the bike just sort of restored all the feelings I've always had towards bikes. It did mark the end of my racing career though. Well, that and two kids. I enjoyed it but the risk to benefit was now out of balance.

Go out for a nice quiet ride on an empty road by yourself. Go slow. Enjoy it. Little by little you gain confidence again and the fear recedes. It's important to get back up on the horse though and prove to yourself you can do it. Quit after if you feel it's not worth the (self evident) risks but do get back on the horse.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-07-2012, 03:29 PM
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Wow,incrediable stories and good advice,when you feel confident try and get back on the bike,quiet road,short ride and slowly build from their.I am sure after your first ride you will want more,good luck mate and let us know how you progress.


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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-07-2012, 09:54 PM
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Twice a Day.....I read with great interest your post. You discussed in great detail what happened in the past, and what's happening to you currently. I can't begin to comprehend what you have been thru, and other than the very few that have been there(Coop for one ), no one can.

What I find very interesting is that you make no mention of your spiritual or religious feelings related to this tragedy. Without meaning to preach here, I tend to look at these types of happenings thru my personal spiritual beliefs. Mine are mine, and yours are yours, and mine arn't any better than yours, just maybe different. That's not the point.

I personally believe that God has a reason for everything, both good and bad, that befalls me. I very frequently don't understand what his plans are, but I always have confidence in his plan. Furthermore, I'm convinced that God has given me all of the tools or gifts necessary to handle all adversity that I may face.

These personal beliefs give me strength and confidence to deal with these hurdles. Again, and with the upmost respect, I can not comprehend what you have dealt with, and are still faced with. But for me, asking for God's help makes it easier.

I have recently suffered the long protracted loss of my mother (age 80). I couldn't understand why God insisted upon her suffering for two years before her death. Why? She was a good woman. Neither she nor my dad deserved this painful death. I couldn't understand. So, I asked God.....why? I think I know now. I watched my father show tender love, dedication, and affection to my mother throughout this painful event. I'm now convinced that God put my parents through their personal trials as a teaching moment for the benefit of those around them......me primarily. I think this test of my parents faith was a teaching moment for me and others......how to grow old gracefully.....how to show love and affection in the face of adversity.......how to be a better person. That's my answer to this personal trial of mine.

I am personally sure that this accident fits into God's plan for you. Ask him, and I'm sure he'll tell you why in due time. Don't ask, and he may never reveal his plan.

Your thoughts?

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-07-2012, 10:15 PM
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So, Coop, being a F4 rider and all.....I'm guessing that that titanium assisted shoulder is the only thing still stiff in your body, eh?
.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-08-2012, 12:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randarosa View Post
So, Coop, being a F4 rider and all.....I'm guessing that that titanium assisted shoulder is the only thing still stiff in your body, eh?
.
Naw.. my shoulder has no evidence of any trauma except for a few scars.

But believe me when stiffness occurs, my wife's healing hands have the magic touch.

Mostly her left hand


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Take off your pants and jacket

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88 Yamaha YSR 50
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1982 Honda 110 atc
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1978 Honda 90 atc
2011 Yamaha Grizzly 700
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