The Last 6 Months
Here's the story on what happened to my foot, and where I'm at with it today, trying to get it good enough to ride and race again!
Just over 6 months ago, I had a crash while riding on an off weekend from racing. Although it was a minor fall that many would think you could walk away from with ease, as luck would have it, I somehow managed to get my foot in the wrong spot at the wrong time and shattered the majority of bones in the area to smithereens. I was protected with my Gaerne boots, that were only weeks old at the time, and believe they did a great job at limiting the damage.
Luckily I wasn't alone when I crashed, and after a bit of foul language at high decibel's, I got up to start the process that would follow. I got lifted back onto my KX (thanks for starting it Chris), and proceeded back to the cabin the vehicles were at, about a 10min ride side saddled. We arrived at the cabin and my next step was to just lay atop the picnic table to have some of my riding gear removed (I wasn't going to the hospital just to have them cut threw my boots and knee brace!). It was a painful process, and maybe not the smartest use of time, but we did manage to get my SG10 removed and my lower half of gear followed. I then was lifted into the back of my van (thanks again Chris) and was driven to the local hospital.
The pain on the way there wasn't quite enough to make me pass out, which isn't necessary a good thing, and once we arrived I was greeted with some pain killers and an IV to get it under control.
After a few x-rays, they found that I had done severe shattering in my foot as well as some extensive dislocation. I was told that it was to much for the local hospital to handle, and was ambulanced to the Kamloops BC hospital, about a 2 1/2 hour ride, where surgery would take place. But as we arrived, and they assessed the situation, again the surgeons told us that they didn't think they could save my foot and didn't want to do the surgery. A comforting thought, as they called the hospitals in Vernon and Kelowna. After forwarding the x-rays, a surgeon in Vernon agreed to dive in. I arrived around 1am, which was of course to late for them to get started, so I spent the night with my mangled foot and a self controlled IV drip. I also ended up with my cell phone, sorry about that Jordie and Kitt, at least the barrage of somewhat legible texts were entertaining.
Sunday morning came, and after a long span of no sleep, I was ready to get this taken care of. I met with the surgeon and doctors, and was told the risks, yada yada, and they mentioned something about me possibly waking up with it amputated. Luckily the anesthesiologist had just about finished getting me under at that point, so it didn't seem to register as a concern.
They ended up taking double the estimated time to fix me up, and as I came to I was pleased to see my old friend still attached. But with eight rods sticking out of my foot and ankle, all held together with external fixators and anchored deep into my bone, I knew it wasn't going to be a pleasant thing to live with. Luckily I had my great girlfriend Jordie by my side there, and even if she was grossed out by the mess, she still took my request to snap some photos to remember the momentous occasion.
The following week was spent in a shared hospital room, made bearable by all the great people who came to visit me and wish me well. My great family and friends were all there to keep my spirits up, and when they weren't, I had lots of dirtbike mags to get me by. Although all I could do was look at the pictures, reading was to much of a task, it helped me daydream about getting back on two wheels. The nurses continued to be impressed by my tolerance to morphine and pain killers, telling me numerous times that they could of put a horse to sleep with what they had given me, and my response only being, "It hasn't taken the pain down or made me drowsy yet". Long, painful days and nights, but it all came to an end when they cleared me to go home and get set up for the long haul there. The next issue was getting me into Jordies Civic. I wasn't able to stand or put my foot below my heart level, and getting set up for the ride was probably an entertaining site for the bystanders.
The first couple months were rough, keeping my foot above my heart and keeping the contraption clean were our main concerns (Jordie loved the cleaning part). After having the extra hardware attached for a couple months, weekly x-rays and check ups, I was looking forward to having the rods removed to start the next step of recovery. My surgeon had told me at one of our meetings, that my foot was the worst one he's been able to save.
At an earlier visit I asked if we could record the procedure of removing the rods. I was told it was fine at the time, but when we arrived we found out that wouldn't be the case. They wouldn't allow a personal camera and extra person in the operating room. So instead of going under and into the O.R. again, we agreed to attempt removing them in the ortho clinic. As long as I was in there and awake, recording was fine. They remove pins there all the time apparently, but I was told they hadn't taken out anything to my extent there. They agreed to start the procedure, but if it was to much to handle I would be swapped to the other room and knocked out. Well, anything for the shot. Jordie got the whole thing on HD video.
A couple more months would pass, the holes healed up, and now I'm actively doing physio and trying to get back to where I was before. I would say I'm half way there, the muscle atrophied and pain is still apparent. I'm having trouble with my ankle joint, where the bones are contacting, a rather unpleasant feeling. It's just a matter of time and hard work, I've got all winter to heal and recoup, so hopfully I can fit my foot into my Gaernes sooner then later!
Thanks for taking the time to read this rather long entry, and thank you to my family, friends and sponsors. Without you all having my back, I wouldn't be able to pursue my racing goals.
"Remember hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny. With your family in your corner, there is no limit to how strong you can come back."