Just over two weeks ago I crashed my motorbike, this is the story.
It was Sunday and we hadn’t been out for a while so today was the day, we’d called a couple we’d rode with before in a group, and arranged to meet them before taking in some of the mountain passes south of Sydney. The weather was fine, if a little chilly.
We headed south and met Dave and Toni at Bald Head lookout, the route was decided, Macquarie Pass then onto Kangaroo Valley.
As we rode along towards Albion Park, I was composing my latest blog post; would it be about the ride or would it be about how I was mastering the skill of hunching on the motorbike therefore giving me more control? You Ride Like A Girl, he said, I would show him, would talk about that, how I was becoming one with Rita.
We made our way up the mountain, Toni and I became stuck behind a caravan while the boys rode ahead, free of traffic. And then we reached an overtaking lane, sweet, although we soon caught up with more traffic.
We wound our way round the corners, going up higher and higher, the corners became tighter and tighter.
I remember approaching the right hand hairpin, I remember the traffic was slow, I remember cars coming down the mountain. And then I remember the noise of the gravel and I looked up. I remember thinking ‘shit, this is not good’ and then I hit the immovable object, the mountain. It wasn’t going to move for anyone. Somehow I had hit the wall at a 45 degree angle just next to a sign warning me to keep turning. Somehow I hadn’t. I heard cracking, I think that was my visor. Dammit.
I climbed off the motorbike, stunned, I knew that something bad had happened, my wrist ached, badly, I removed my glove looking at the palm, there was a bulge in my wrist, ‘that’s not good’ I though, or I said, I don’t remember.
I was shouting for Gary over my intercom, nothing, the music kept playing, why was the music playing? I must have broken the connection somehow, the music was so loud, I had to deal with that so I pressed the control and heard the two beeps which stopped the music.
I sat down and had a ponder, there were people around me asking if I was okay, yes, I’m fine but I think I’ve broken my arm and the motorbike. Embarrassment.
And then I felt hot, someone was shouting at me to lie down, whatever, I was hot, I stood up, I removed my jacket, I asked someone to help, they did.
And then I needed my helmet off. Again, I asked someone to help, he grabbed the helmet and wrenched so I told him to stop. And then Gary was there, asking me if I was okay, yes, please remove my helmet so he did, masterfully spreading it in the way we had been shown on a First Aid For Motorcyclists course last year.
Someone called an ambulance, I saw them on the phone and heard them saying I was coherent, well, I was, kind of.
The world started feeling weird, woozy. Somehow I knew I was going into shock, so I said this out loud and then there were people there helping me sit down in a gutter. Everyone was lovely.
There were people. Everywhere. I looked around, there were cars parked, motorbikes parked, people were concerned and sharing stories about how they had crashed at this point, no one was judging me, that was lovely.
My wrist hurt, really badly. Someone produced a toy hockey stick to use as a splint, a bandage was hooked around my neck, Gary had retrieved it from our first aid kit. Another learning from our course, always carry one. Where was the ambulance?
Everything was happening around me like a dream, Gary had met Warren and Tracy who were local, she on her scooter and him on his Goldwing, sympathetic, she had crashed here twice. Warren knew a tow truck guy, Warren knew what to do, Warren helped Gary strip the motorbike of luggage, my tank bag and attachment, my Krieger bag containing our waterproofs, all the things that wouldn’t be covered by insurance and which would disappear once the bike went to the insurer. Warren knew the deal.
And then the ambulance turned up, Aaron and Cheryl, the paramedics, so nice I just kept apologising, why? I don’t know, yes I do, I was embarrassed, I didn’t just want to be another statistic, even though I probably was exactly that. However, there was all round relief that I was generally okay.
Morphine was pumped into my arm, that’s better, thank you. Into the ambulance I went, lying down, no, there was no need for the siren. A neck brace was put on me. The trip took ages, more morphine was pumped into my arm, Cheryl drove, Aaron kept an eye on me and kept me calm with easy chat.
Hospital? I was wheeled in, what was my name and address? Yes, I used to live in Darling Point, I still have no idea how they knew that. And then I was in resus, (“resuscitation”, nothing to do with the monkeys) I was examined, fully. Poked gently all over and asked for feedback, no, nothing hurt. Did I lose consciousness, they asked, they kept asking, no, I didn’t think so.
Gary arrived, dealt with the people, strong, caring, controlled, I felt safe.
And then I was taken for xray and a CT, the results back, the neck brace removed, I was fine except for my arm. Relief.
I called my colleague with whom I was meant to be going away on business for two days the next day, I’m not sure I’ll make it, I said, do you want to talk to Gary, I’ve had lots of morphine. She’s not going anywhere said Amanda to Gary, no way, said Gary.
After a bit of waiting, I was sent home with some strong painkillers, a referral letter and a sick bag, turns out morphine makes my sick. Initially was told to visit my doctor for a referral but the wonderful emergency doctor found a specialist at my nearby hospital so that job was done.
Gary had been talking to Toni and Dave and they kindly offered to drive me home, a 90 minute drive from their place nearby. So generous, so kind.
As for my gear, I had a burn mark on the jacket, a burn mark on the left hand glove and my helmet a write-off, I had banged my head and the helmet had saved me, why would anyone think it’s a good idea to ride without a helmet?
The next day I managed to get an appointment with the specialist at 12.30. The conclusion was, yes, crazy paving broken bones at the end of my arm but no operation required, they put me in a cast and said I could go back to work the next day, if I wanted to. I’m a contractor, yes, I wanted to.
I called the insurance company, I cried on the phone, poor lady, Gary took over, I would need to give myself some time.
A couple of days later I noticed that my knee hurt, nothing to serious but I must have banged it in the crash. Fortunately, I have armour in the knees of my DriRider trousers; otherwise, I reckon, I would have smashed my kneecap.
I’m okay but the news isn’t so good for Rita, she’s been written off by my insurance company. It makes me so sad writing this, sorry Rita.
And now the next journey is recovery, more to come on that later…