I really was hit by a bus, what is your excuse?

Foreword

May 2013  I’ve been keeping this journal since July or Aug 2011.  When I first started I had no idea what the future held, what goals I wanted to achieve other walking miles and miles. I knew then I would never get the real me back but I wanted to try to get most of the ultra runner me back.  Because I am walking some, even if like a drunk sailor, I am apparently an inspiration to some.  I have to admit I have come a very long ways since Jan 2011 when there was real concern if I would even make it, what my mental facilities might be, or even if I would be walk at all.

In spite of several challenges along the way I am walking and I’ve already signed up for the Nanny Goat 12/24 hour run, walk 12 hours for me. Several people knew I was keeping this journal and asked if I might consider doing a blog or something.  That might be a good idea since I started this with no intention of being a hero, model, or anything.  It was just a way to put into words how I felt at that time, I knew full well I would forget many, many things and I just did not want to forget anything major.  Also, I decided from the start this would NOT be a woe is me or bitching about every little thing with which I did not agree or agreed with me.  I’ve tried to keep a positive on things even have a bit of gallows humor here and there.

Chapter 1

I am starting this journal about 7 or so months after everything changed.  There is a lot I don’t know about myself during the first few months but I will try to keep everything in somewhat order. But, as I become aware of different things I will just have something like “Flashback” or whatever come to mind.

Life changed suddenly on Jan 26, 2011 while riding my mtn bike thru an intersection that I had been thru countless both riding and running.  They say I was very nearly across the crosswalk when a handicapped mini-bus hit me. I was very badly damaged goods and do not even remember my first, and only, helicopter ride to UCI medical center.  The handicapped bus has made me handicapped but I suppose I should be thankful it was not a hearse.

I know what happened only because I was told about it later: Compound broken leg, shattered pelvis, hurt all over and spent the next 2 months in a coma.  Probably a good thing for the coma because I mostly healed, somewhat, from the worst injuries without too much pain.  Finally woke up from a 2 month coma where I enjoyed 2 more weeks in the nursing home and then went home. We had a live in nurse for another 2 months.

Shortly after I woke up Nancy was telling me I had a shattered pelvis and surgery.  I looked at my hip and said “Where is the bandage?”  Nancy then said “You were in a coma for 2 months and healed.”Duh!!!!

These words are being written for the time period of June and July so I will probably skip around some for the first 6 months or so trying to remember what happened when.  From Oct on I should be fairly accurate on the events and I will occasionally do a “flashback moment”.

I’ve mentioned a bus was involved but not I’ve not given any background on myself.  I am, or was, an ultra trail runner meaning I would run 12-20 miles on mountain trails.  I have several 50ks (31 miles) under my belt, 7 or 8 marathons, and dozens and dozens of shorter distances on trails and roads. At the time of the accident I was riding my mountain bike for some cross training.  I have no memory of that day either before or after, just what I’ve been told.  Apparently, the bus driver failed to see me even though 4 other cars were stopped. The traffic analysts think the bus was probably doing about 15-18 mph when the impact occurred. As I said, I was damaged goods. The photos below are a testament to my precarious condition.  It was fortunate that Nancy thought to take several photos but I can readily understand why she did not.  Who wants to take photos of your loved one when they may not make itImage?

Image

These were taken at UCI Irvine in the ICU  I’m in pretty very bad shape and no one was sure if I would recover or if I did what my long term pronogis might be.

Seems like yesterday I escaped, escaped the nursing home where I was being held against my better judgment for a while.  Judgement?  Who says I have any? Anyways, I did get home in May and had live-in nursing care for 2 months.  I needed it since I had the strength of a wee little baby and the flexibility of an overweight 90 year old.  Great combination!

Somewhere in July or so Mick got the mtb bike from the Fullerton police.  At first glance it looked fine but upon closer inspection one could see the wheels were slightly bent along with the frame.  All in all, the bike fared a hell of lot better than I did. Maybe $300 for a complete repair and me? Last I heard my medical bill was getting close to 2 million. Finally got rid of the bicycle since I had no desire to get on it again, ever. Gave it to a friend of a friend and have no idea what happened to it.

It was oblivious I could not do stairs so Nancy arranged to have a hospital bed set up in the family room. That was my bed for the next 2 months. Sometime in May or June, our downstairs bathroom got a complete redo and in June the hospital bed was removed.  Micks old room became my new bedroom for however long it takes me to be comfortable going up and down our circular staircase.  Oh, I have a new shower with handrails and it is great.  I would have had great difficulty in getting into a regular tub for months more. Even with the handrails I still needed a shower seat.  Feels so good to get really clean and my hair washed.

Meanwhile back at the rest home I was bed and wheelchair bound for a long time.  Eventually I learned to walk with a walker.  After I got home I graduated to a quad cane and then began to be on my own around the house. That, to me, is a milestone.  I very vividly remember when I first started therapy at the rest home  and trying to take the walker up a 2” step  – I just could not do it.  Physical therapy was a huge help. I slowly regained back a lot of the mobility in the shoulder and elbow and the right leg got a little straighter.  Balance came slowly.  I remember the first few steps I took entirely on my own, walked in front of the couch with my arms way out for balance and made it about 8 or 9 feet without falling down. I also learned how to dress myself and even put my socks on and tie my shoes. Now a few months, later I do go up the downstairs and back down again.  Not easy but doing it, and it will become easier and still a very long ways from where I want to be but I’ll get there eventually. Still staying downstairs, I’m comfortable there and don’t have to worry about waking Nancy 2 or 3 times each night.

I will post more later.

 

.  Doug finished pushing me on our little tour and up and down we went everywhere, what fun.

Doug, a long running friend stopped by for a while and we played catchup with all the going ons of the SoCal Trail Headz.  So glad he stopped by.  We relived several races/runs we did and what fun we had.

A major event in late June when my right leg/foot became swollen!  A physical therapist suggested a trip to the emergency room.  X rays, a couple of cat scans later confirmed the blood clots and I was released the next day.  I had to take a blood thinner, watch my diet and not eat spinach, carrots, dried plums, all the good stuff that is too high in Vitamin K for the blood thinner.  Seems like the bill for the overnight stay, the cat scans, etc  was around $20k.  I might be high/low but I know it was a lot.

 

Bella and Heidi keeping me company.

By the end of Sept. I was walking for a long time, an hour and 15 min, distance/time is getting closer to being real. All you runners will probably think 1 ½ miles is no biggie but I am passing everyone on the couch. Thinking to myself, “I might have a shot of getting back to at least walking ultras but it may be only on fire roads and no climbing up and down rocks”  Looking at the calendar and the Nanny Goats 12/24 walk/run is at the end of May 2012.  There’s months of time left to build up endurance for a 12 hour walk.  Especially on a flat 1 mile loop, never more than ½ mile away from the great aid station and a comfy chair if I need to rest for a bit.  Already several cute girls said they would be there for me.  I like that. Thinking about having a special shirt made.  “A 15 mph bus hit me.  What is your excuse?”

Oops, fate intervened in Oct. when I developed a hernia, probably because of the pelvis operation.  Normally they do a preventative hernia repair during the pelvis operation but I already had 5 ½ hours of surgery and 8 pints of blood and they decided not to take a chance.   It got me later! And how!  I first noticed it in Sept but it was not until Dec 15  I had the operation. There was concern about the blood clots and it just took time, 3 months worth of time to decide on the operation. I got off the blood thinners for a while so they could do the hernia operation. Now New Year is only a couple days away and I now ready to get out there and do something.  I’m chopping at the bit but I know I just need to take it nice and easy for several weeks, especially at my age, an old fart!

I did go back into the hospital for a hematoma and got that drained. The New Year is almost here and I am starting to walk again, albeit slowly, and not far at all.  Did .36 miles yesterday and was tired all evening. Going try to do at least .25  miles every day till the healing is complete and I just feel better.  Decided all I want for the New Year is just to stop hurtin, feel better, and walk.   If I can walk pretty good there may be a real progress to be made.

There are a couple things that may be a real benefit to me.  First, an infrared sauna is supposed to be fantastic for all kinds of hurts and sore muscles, help you relax and helps lot of other problems.   I am cold all the time and perhaps if I am heated up from the inside out there will be no need to turn the thermostat up to 80 degrees and run everyone else out.

I had to go back to the hospital on Jan 2 because of an infection. It turned out to be MRSA, a staph infection.  Ended up staying all of January for the antibody treatment. By the time all the blood tests were done, doctors talking to each other, ect I lost 5 or so months of walking and physical therapy but now healing from the hernia surgery, I think! Also back on the blood thinner because there are still two clots in my leg, damn.

The second thing and it really depends on if my balance returns and I can ride a bike.  No, no, no not just any bike this is an Ellipitgo bike.  It is like an ellipitical exercise machine but with 2 wheels.  Very closely mimics real running.  Think this would be great for my hip.  Just don’t want excess bone buildup in the pelvic area and then really keep me out and down.   I have no intention of ever riding a bike on the street, I am now the world’s biggest wussie.  I’ll get someone to take me to the Santa Ana River Trails where’s there are miles and miles of safe riding, and no buses or cars.    Just have to kinda watch for the homeless around Katella Ave. The second thing about the Ellipitgo bike is that many elite athletes are using them to boost their training without injury.  I could use that.

Being a sometime ultra runner and running many trails up in the mountains has certainly been to my benefit. I know a lot of whens:  when to push, when to back off, when just to enjoy. And always, always enjoy friends. Being in good condition helped me survive!  Probably that and with all my friends are helping me from the edge of the dark abyss.   From what I’ve heard, it is easy to drift off the edge.  Anytime I feel a bit down, I just look at all the positive comments on FB and Socal web page.   There’s always a tear in my eye. There’s also a ton of get-well cards and several posters made by the Snails Running Club.  That really means a lot.

Damn tired of taking 2 steps forward and 4 steps back.  Another 2 steps forward and 3 back and so on.  Seems like I am making no headway at all for the recovery.

Early 2012   Random thoughts on earlier in the year.

Flashback to coma.  Nancy told me that when I finally woke up my first words to her were ”I love you”.  So glad I said that instead of something really stupid that would have landed me in the doghouse for next to forever.

Shortly afterward:  Nancy tells me I kept telling the nurses I was fine till I came in here and now I can’t walk or do anything.  I do remember yelling at nurses for a wheelchair so I could go to physical therapy.  It could sometimes take 1 ½ hours and I was not a happy camper.

At Brea Kendred Hospital I’m told I had so many visitors the nurses were surprised.  I am told a group of Snails came to visit during a run but only a few could come in at a time.  The rest had to wait in the visitors lounge while wearing their running clothes.  Don’t remember that one but I do remember some visits from Headz and Snails.  It is so nice to have friends.

Bella and Heidi came to visit me at the nursing home several times because dogs were allowed!  There was hall carpet halfway to my room.  Heidi had no prob with the shinny floor, but Bella said in dog talk “No way in hell am I going on that slippery floor” and put on all four brakes.  It was so funny watching her. I do remember lots of the residents absolutely fell for Bella, a huge snow white fluffy bear of a dog. Everyone thought she was it.

Do remember some Headz and Snails coming around to walk the dogs.   Nancy just had her knee operated on and did not have the strength to easily walk Bella.  She is beautiful dog but can be a big handful at times.  Bella and Heidi were appreciative of the walks and every time a regular came by both dogs got all excited.   They both got something special for their friends for Christmas.  We’re a little late in getting them out but since I can’t drive that is a problem.

Oh, I do remember several Snails coming over and wanted to push me around a bit.  Terri pushed me down the sidewalk but when she pushed the chair onto the grass and did not realize there is a small drop off between the grass and sidewalk.  Down I went into a big ungainly pile.  Course everyone was concerned bout me and making sure I was not hurt.  I survived and with pride somewhat intact

This is all I can think of for a while so I’ll start another chapter soon.

.  Doug finished pushing me on our little tour and up and down we went everywhere, what fun.

Doug, a long running friend stopped by for a while and we played catchup with all the going ons of the SoCal Trail Headz.  So glad he stopped by.  We relived several races/runs we did and what fun we had.

A major event in late June when my right leg/foot became swollen!  A physical therapist suggested a trip to the emergency room.  X rays, a couple of cat scans later confirmed the blood clots and I was released the next day.  I had to take a blood thinner, watch my diet and not eat spinach, carrots, dried plums, all the good stuff that is too high in Vitamin K for the blood thinner.  Seems like the bill for the overnight stay, the cat scans, etc  was around $20k.  I might be high/low but I know it was a lot.

 

Bella and Heidi keeping me company.

By the end of Sept. I was walking for a long time, an hour and 15 min, distance/time is getting closer to being real. All you runners will probably think 1 ½ miles is no biggie but I am passing everyone on the couch. Thinking to myself, “I might have a shot of getting back to at least walking ultras but it may be only on fire roads and no climbing up and down rocks”  Looking at the calendar and the Nanny Goats 12/24 walk/run is at the end of May 2012.  There’s months of time left to build up endurance for a 12 hour walk.  Especially on a flat 1 mile loop, never more than ½ mile away from the great aid station and a comfy chair if I need to rest for a bit.  Already several cute girls said they would be there for me.  I like that. Thinking about having a special shirt made.  “A 15 mph bus hit me.  What is your excuse?”

Oops, fate intervened in Oct. when I developed a hernia, probably because of the pelvis operation.  Normally they do a preventative hernia repair during the pelvis operation but I already had 5 ½ hours of surgery and 8 pints of blood and they decided not to take a chance.   It got me later! And how!  I first noticed it in Sept but it was not until Dec 15  I had the operation. There was concern about the blood clots and it just took time, 3 months worth of time to decide on the operation. I got off the blood thinners for a while so they could do the hernia operation. Now New Year is only a couple days away and I now ready to get out there and do something.  I’m chopping at the bit but I know I just need to take it nice and easy for several weeks, especially at my age, an old fart!

I did go back into the hospital for a hematoma and got that drained. The New Year is almost here and I am starting to walk again, albeit slowly, and not far at all.  Did .36 miles yesterday and was tired all evening. Going try to do at least .25  miles every day till the healing is complete and I just feel better.  Decided all I want for the New Year is just to stop hurtin, feel better, and walk.   If I can walk pretty good there may be a real progress to be made.

There are a couple things that may be a real benefit to me.  First, an infrared sauna is supposed to be fantastic for all kinds of hurts and sore muscles, help you relax and helps lot of other problems.   I am cold all the time and perhaps if I am heated up from the inside out there will be no need to turn the thermostat up to 80 degrees and run everyone else out.

I had to go back to the hospital on Jan 2 because of an infection. It turned out to be MRSA, a staph infection.  Ended up staying all of January for the antibody treatment. By the time all the blood tests were done, doctors talking to each other, ect I lost 5 or so months of walking and physical therapy but now healing from the hernia surgery, I think! Also back on the blood thinner because there are still two clots in my leg, damn.

The second thing and it really depends on if my balance returns and I can ride a bike.  No, no, no not just any bike this is an Ellipitgo bike.  It is like an ellipitical exercise machine but with 2 wheels.  Very closely mimics real running.  Think this would be great for my hip.  Just don’t want excess bone buildup in the pelvic area and then really keep me out and down.   I have no intention of ever riding a bike on the street, I am now the world’s biggest wussie.  I’ll get someone to take me to the Santa Ana River Trails where’s there are miles and miles of safe riding, and no buses or cars.    Just have to kinda watch for the homeless around Katella Ave. The second thing about the Ellipitgo bike is that many elite athletes are using them to boost their training without injury.  I could use that.

Being a sometime ultra runner and running many trails up in the mountains has certainly been to my benefit. I know a lot of whens:  when to push, when to back off, when just to enjoy. And always, always enjoy friends. Being in good condition helped me survive!  Probably that and with all my friends are helping me from the edge of the dark abyss.   From what I’ve heard, it is easy to drift off the edge.  Anytime I feel a bit down, I just look at all the positive comments on FB and Socal web page.   There’s always a tear in my eye. There’s also a ton of get-well cards and several posters made by the Snails Running Club.  That really means a lot.

Damn tired of taking 2 steps forward and 4 steps back.  Another 2 steps forward and 3 back and so on.  Seems like I am making no headway at all for the recovery.

Early 2012   Random thoughts on earlier in the year.

Flashback to coma.  Nancy told me that when I finally woke up my first words to her were ”I love you”.  So glad I said that instead of something really stupid that would have landed me in the doghouse for next to forever.

Shortly afterward:  Nancy tells me I kept telling the nurses I was fine till I came in here and now I can’t walk or do anything.  I do remember yelling at nurses for a wheelchair so I could go to physical therapy.  It could sometimes take 1 ½ hours and I was not a happy camper.

At Brea Kendred Hospital I’m told I had so many visitors the nurses were surprised.  I am told a group of Snails came to visit during a run but only a few could come in at a time.  The rest had to wait in the visitors lounge while wearing their running clothes.  Don’t remember that one but I do remember some visits from Headz and Snails.  It is so nice to have friends.

Bella and Heidi came to visit me at the nursing home several times because dogs were allowed!  There was hall carpet halfway to my room.  Heidi had no prob with the shinny floor, but Bella said in dog talk “No way in hell am I going on that slippery floor” and put on all four brakes.  It was so funny watching her. I do remember lots of the residents absolutely fell for Bella, a huge snow white fluffy bear of a dog. Everyone thought she was it.

Do remember some Headz and Snails coming around to walk the dogs.   Nancy just had her knee operated on and did not have the strength to easily walk Bella.  She is beautiful dog but can be a big handful at times.  Bella and Heidi were appreciative of the walks and every time a regular came by both dogs got all excited.   They both got something special for their friends for Christmas.  We’re a little late in getting them out but since I can’t drive that is a problem.

Oh, I do remember several Snails coming over and wanted to push me around a bit.  Terri pushed me down the sidewalk but when she pushed the chair onto the grass and did not realize there is a small drop off between the grass and sidewalk.  Down I went into a big ungainly pile.  Course everyone was concerned bout me and making sure I was not hurt.  I survived and with pride somewhat intact

This is all I can think of for a while so I’ll start another chapter soon.

Advertisements

2 responses to “I really was hit by a bus, what is your excuse?”

  1. Jean May says :

    The begining of an amazing recovery and new challenges. You have shown so many how recovery is done. Thanks

  2. Natalia Fargasch Norman says :

    What a story, Leon! Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: