On Saturday, December 19, 2009 around 1 PM, I had a bad accident. To avoid hitting a small, mid-1980s, gray, "well used," Honda Civic (no tail lights), I chose to lay my motorcycle down on a busy street. Time seemed to shift its physical properties and slowed its natural pace. I remember saying a quick, "Jesus help me prayer," reminding myself to hang on and starting the ditch process I had studied, mentally prepared for many times, but after years of riding, I never had to use. I remember the initial impact with the street, then things are a bit fuzzy until maybe seconds, maybe minutes later.
I looked to my left and saw a large, black pickup truck heading for me and it stopped in the street's center lane next to me (in the left lane). I turned my head to the right and watched the little Honda drive away. I heard car doors slam, and then a woman looked into my helmet, identified herself as a paramedic licensed in another state, but requested my permission to, "Check me out."
I felt burning pain throughout my back, chest and right shoulder. I could not breathe, but I managed to tell her, "Okay." As she asked me a bunch of questions, checked my responses to hand and foot movements, I watched a young woman, and someone else, lift my bike off of my right leg.
I heard someone ask, "Did anyone call "9-1-1," and I heard another say, "Yeah, I did and they're one they're way."
Then, I heard the sirens, and saw a fire truck pull near my left side. The Lakewood Police, Fire and Rescue, and others asked me more questions, and I answered them as best I could. All I could think about was my wife, Mary, and how we were supposed to meet for lunch at the restaurant just down the street from where I laid. I kept asking someone, please call her, but I guess they had other things on their minds. Then, the paramedics decided to cut me out of my jacket and pants. I knew my gear had kept me alive, but I was not too sure for how much longer, because I still found it difficult to breathe. Then, that first lady paramedic looked into my helmet again and said, "I know you may not believe me, or may not want to hear this now, but you are going to be okay."
I do not know how long it took the rescue team to scrape me off the street, strap me to the most painful board on the planet, and place me in the ambulance, but I remember begging someone, anyone to call Mary.
They could not get an, "IV," started. Each time they tried, my veins collapsed. I heard one of the paramedics say, "We better get him to the hospital." We took off right away.
Sometime later in the hospital, after x-rays, cat scans, the removal of my helmet, and the successful insertion of an, "IV," I got the attention of one of the young police officer's who promised to call my wife.
Hours passed before Mary and our thirty-year old daughter, Michelle arrived. I was still strapped to the, "torture board," when our thirty-five-year-old son, Dan, showed.
This is when the miracle happened. For almost three years, our son and daughter have not spoken to one another. As I watched them work together to support their mother, my dear wife, Mary, God filled me with His joy. I was so grateful to Jesus for letting me witness His use of my broken body, to bring reconciliation between our children. The greatest Christmas gift I could receive was seeing our children treating each other with kindness. This joy transformed into strength, and I knew I would be okay.
Don't get me wrong, the pain did not go away, but I had a joy and strength that surpassed the damages, which listed can be sung to the, "12-Days of Christmas," tune: 6 broken ribs, a broken collar bone - in 3 places, and a fractured shoulder blade.
My riding days are probably over (Mary demands that I sell the bike after it is fixed), the orthopedic surgeon tells me that it will take a year for all my broken bones to heal, and I still may have to have shoulder surgery if she is not satisfied with my progress. Nevertheless, if God used a crash to help bring our children back together again, it is okay.