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Cathar broke his wing while trying to fly...

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' at netrider.net.au started by [FLUX], May 4, 2006.

  1. So what happened?

    Cue 22nd April. HRC Ride day at Phillip Island on an ominous looking weathered day. You guessed it! Cathar here has a highside accident @ 140kph around Turn 8 of Phillip Island on a wet track, on a cold day, with a new rear tyre. What can I say? Worst possible combination of diabolical factors set to test the absolute limit of my skill to keep bike stuck to the road and upright, and sadly I was found wanting. Would normally touch an indicated 220kph through Turn 8 in the dry on a good day, so I was just gently powering on through the corner apex doing ~140kph, taking it comparitively easy really, when the rear wheel very suddenly decided it wanted to say hello to the front wheel. Within half a second the bike ended up in a full opposite lock crossed up power slide looking for all the world that the bike was going to low-side, which would've been much better if it had. Suddenly the tyres got grip and hooked up, (gee where was the grip before huh?), and correspondingly catapulted me over the high-side of the bike. Went sailing up through the air, about 7' up, and landed left shoulder first onto the track. When I hit the track I felt the shoulder and ribs crack. Ugh. This is one time when you don't like to think of your body as having its own in-built crumple zones, but that's effectively what my shoulder and ribs acted as.

    Slid feet-first for maybe 100-150m or so, first flipping over onto my front, then on my back, feeling the ribs and shoulder bone fragments "rippling" as they tracked every irregularity in the road's surface. At some point I left the track, which was worse for me. Slowed down very rapidly on the grass/gravel but the "rippling" of the bones got suddenly very painful (as if it wasn't painful enough already) as grass/gravel isn't as smooth as bitumen. Eventually I stopped sliding, and for about 30 secs there I was gasping, unable to breathe, as the shock of the pain from what had happened sunk in hard. It hurt to even draw breath, but this feeling passed relatively quickly as the body figured out what to do and I was able to take shallow breaths without being wracked with mind-splitting pain. I lay there for about 2 to 3 minutes, regaining my composure, letting everything settle down. Things hurt a lot less now.

    I decided I'd try to sit up to see where I was and where the bike ended up, but this turned out to be a mistake. The moment I tried to move I felt the bones and ribs start crackling against each other and the pain was quite possibly the worst I've ever felt. I've cut myself badly before, broken my arm falling out of a tree as a kid, plus a few other medical procedures, but the memories of those earlier painful conditions paled in comparison to my shattered shoulder blade bone fragments rubbing against each other. I gave up trying to move at all, and settled for positioning myself in the least painful position for me. I found that my left arm wasn't working at all, aside from my left hand which I was able to use it to maneuver my arm into a more comfortable position by using the hand to do its best impersonation of "Thing" from The Addam's Family. This strangely morbid thought and action gave me some bizarre sense of amusement while I waited for the ambulance crew to arrive as "Thing" rearranged my arm from an extremely painful, to a somewhat less painful position. At least I was comparitively more comfortable now.

    Anyway, to cut to the chase, the ambulance crew did an excellent job handing my some puffer medication pain killer which enabled me to grimace through the pain just enough for them to lift me onto the stretcher, and wheeled my away to hospital. X-Rays and CT scans showed that I had fractured the left collar-bone, 3 ribs, broken the left scapula into 3 main pieces including fracturing in two places the all important and extremely painful glenoid (being the socket rotator cuff joint area), plus more smaller bone fragments in that area floating about. Oh, and my big toe which must've broken when I flipped down after landing shoulder first. Some dodgy orthopaedic guy tells me that it's not too serious and I can probably go home that night in a sling. I call bullshit since I can't even move at all without excruciating pain even when on 10mg's of morphine.

    Sadly in this world money talks, and I decide that these guys aren't going to do anything for me unless I go private, so I invoke my employer company's excellent health insurance coverage, go private, and demand that they get their best orthopaedic surgeon to operate and pin and plate the damaged scapula. Three very painful days later where I'm wholly confined to bed and unable to move at all without incredible pain even while whacked up high on morphine (yeah - send him home with just a sling - sure! :roll: ) I get wheeled into surgery and get fixed up by the most excellent Dr Miles Callahan, the hospital's resident orthopaedic shoulder specialist surgeon. I cannot recommend this guy highly enough. If you ever find yourself in Dandenong hospital (in Melbourne) and need the best guy there, ask for him by name. Literally 1 hour after I woke up from surgery recovery, I was able to get up out of bed and stand up and move around, such was the fantastic nature of the job Miles did to fix me up. I generally treat everyone on an even keel, even famous people I've met, but in my mind Miles comes about as close as anyone does to me in terms of being my hero. Checked out of hospital 3 days later.

    What of the bike?

    The bike is basically fine as it slid wholly on the track, which as bike crashes go, is generally about the best place for a bike to slide without causing it to dig in, flip up, and destroy itself. Damage to the bike is really quite superficial.

    Actually this has turned out to be somewhat fortuitous for it. Some of the things that were already marked/scratched and now are marked/scratched enough to need replacing. Picked up a set of aftermarket road/race fairings nice and cheap. I can fit these to the bike, get my original fairing parts repaired/repainted, and then keep them in storage for when I come to sell the bike in future. The tank has a small scratched area, and so I'll get it stripped and repainted. The footpeg broke off, but I was looking to get racing rearset pegs anyway, so this just makes that a necessity rather than optional now. The indicator is dead, no biggie. Easy/cheap to replace. Mirror is scratched. Can probably leave it but will hunt for a second hand replacement from a wreckers. Left handlebar clip-on is bent/ground, so need a new one of those. Cheap, done. Left headlight glass is cracked - not so cheap ($200 or so) but easily replaced. Might even be lucky to find one cheap at a wreckers. Replace the clutch and gear levers, no sweat. The bit of the bike that took the most damage was the gear-box cover. It got ground down good. Again, easy to pull it off and replace it, $150 or so.

    So all up, maybe around $2000 worth of repair to get the bike back to as good as new, with half of that being optional stuff that I wanted to get done anyway, so I really only consider it to be $1000 of damage and $1000 of optional extras that are now not so optional.

    Need to replace my leathers which got cut off me. New helmet and boots. Repair my body armour/back protector which got cut-off, but nothing that can't be sewn back together again. Gloves are okay.

    All up, I figure I got off it all reasonably lightly, considering. I mean, it could've been better, but it also could've been worse. I learned my lesson that it doesn't matter if I've paid $150 for some time at the race-track. It's not a forced event. I don't have to be out on the track when it's wet, and I don't have to risk my bike to a worst possible set of conditions all for the sake of getting my money's worth.

    I'll get back onto the bike again as soon as I'm able. This won't stop me, but it'll certainly make me wiser.

    My ongoing recovery

    My rate of healing is surprising me, and I am wholly convinced that I owe it all totally to the excellent orthopeadic surgeon and his team who reassembled my shoulder. Am off all the strong pain-killers now, and only take the occasional ibuprofen whenever my broken ribs give me some grief, and even they are healing quickly. One rib in particular seems to be taking its sweet time before ceasing its pain inducement though. If not for that rib I could say that I'd be in almost no pain at all. Then again, it has been only 12 days since the accident, so given another week it should quit bugging me so much.

    Strength has already started to return to my left shoulder. Still weak as a kitten though. The surgeons had to lift and peel away the deltoid muscles to get to the scapula to repair it, and so the muscles are currently in the process of reattaching and regaining strength. Presently I am able to lift the arm with a lot of effort so long as I keep it close to my body (i.e. can touch my head with it, but I can't reach out and grab anything with it). At least it's no longer a lifeless lump attached to my body. Very disconcerting when you take the ability to move your limbs for granted, and then one day you find that you can't, no matter what your brain is trying to tell your body to do. Certainly has opened my eyes just that little bit wider about how much I, and I would guess most everyone, takes the ability to control their body for granted.

    It's certainly been a learning experience. My wife has been incredibly patient with her fool of a husband. I don't know what I'd have done without her. Just started being able to do a bit of careful rough-house play with my little girls (children) again, bringing a huge smile back to everyone's faces.

    Things are looking up, and I'm hoping to be mostly back up and running within 4 weeks from now, just with some degree of ongoing strength building required after that once the bones and muscles have knitted again properly and I can start to exercise them more vigorously, rather than the cautious stretching and limited movements which I'm presently limiting myself to.

  2. Ouch that has to hurt.
    I'll be honest i would rather have trashed teh bike and come out O.K. 7thsin style, but at least you are in good enough shape to be telling the story.

    Happy hunting for those part, and keep the spirits up.
  3. Sh1t Cathar. Sounds like you were lucky., and i am glad to hear you are on the recovery trail and able to start mucking around with the little ones.
    Won't be too long and you will back on the bike.

    Take care.
  4. jeeze.... ow. Im hugging my ribs in sympathy. I cant imagine the pain to the full extent im sure.
    heres to a swift recovery, good you have heath insurance!!!
  5. Now this ladies and gentlemen is a crash to be proud off! :shock:

    What and absolute bugger Cathar. Mend well mate!!

    The work some of these surgeons can do is just amazing. I cannot tell this difference between my shoulders now after a reconstruction on the left one. Modern day heros.
  6. great story cathar, I mean crap story but well written!

    keep on mending, it shows the right attitude is half the battle to wellness.
  7. holy crap!!!
    glad to hear you're mending well & the bike isn;t tooo trashed.
    heal fast, hope you're back on the road soon.
  8. Sorry to hear Cathar, I'm glad you are doing well in the healing department though.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery.
  9. Stew, I heard about your off round the traps, but didnt get the full details. Thats some damage youve done to your bod. You have a great outlook. More than anything you prob worried 3 shades of shit out of your missus. Best wishes to you. I agree with you about the wet track days, im in no hurry to do one in the rain. chin up.
  10. dammmm
    that was well discribed almost felt as i broke my ribs and fractured my bones
    :shock: :shock:
    speedy recovery mate
  11. Awful story, expertly told.

    Having had just ONE broken rib and having wanted to die from pain, I can't imagine how you must have felt with that many broken bones.

    Here's to a speedy recovery and a fixed machine :grin:
  12. Unlucky mate, get well soon, eh.
  13. Sending you best wishes. I (literally) felt some of the stuff you described and am feeling some of the things you are feeling.

    Glad you'll be healing faster than I am :) 7 weeks later of mine I'm just beginning to move my arm by itself in ways and still in a fair bit of pain. But I'm getting there.
  14. highsides are the devil :(

    learn you to abandon aus sbk school for those hrc gits ;)

    heal up fella :)
  15. Glad your getting better after only 12 days.
    I need surgery on my right shoulder when I destroyed my collar bone and THEY DID SEND ME HOME AND I HAD TO BUY A SLING.
    Im still no better at nearly 7 weeks on and the TAC have still not approved my claim.

    Im very pissed off. Good your getting there and I know from what you said about the pins and stuff that thats what I need.
  16. My Bones hurt justing reading that Cathar, let alone experiencing it. I hope your recovery is rapid and relatively pain free.

    Glad to see the damage to the steed is only relatively minor also.


    After hearing that it's amazing that MotoGP riders survive so many of there highsides unscathed.
  17. geez, sorry to hear that.... it hurt just reading your post, best wishes for a speedy recovery

    cheers stewy
  18. Ouch is all I can say stew, hope you back in the saddle soon mate take it easy and use your time off for those little ones of yours mate :wink:
  19. Bad news... have a speedy recovery mate!!
  20. Ouch is all I can say stew, hope you back in the saddle soon mate take it easy and use your time off for those little ones of yours mate :)