7 years ago today my life was changed forever when I took a little tumble off my loaded flatbed & shattered both my wrists. It took 3 years to fully heal & neither wrists healed right. The right has a 5% angle & the left a 10% angle. The doctor restricted me to lifting no more than 5lbs & no repetitive use of either hand or wrist. All this ended an 18 year trucking career & I was heartbroken. I loved trucking & being a truck driver. I wasn’t sure I would be able to ride Harley any more either. My doctor was very negative on her prognosis.
6 months after my tumble & a couple modifications to my motorcycle, I was back on it. I couldn’t ride very far because the bones in my wrist were not completely healed and the vibration tore me up. But at least I was riding some & that gave me hope.
About a year after my tumble a friend of mine picked me up in his big truck for a 5 weeks excursion to see if my wrist would hold up to shifting and driving. Nothing in that 5 weeks gave me hope. Shifting hurt and holding onto the steering wheel hurt even more. I knew my driving career was over.
Accepting that I would never drive a big truck again was not an easy thing to do. Even today, sometimes it is still hard to believe that it is the fact. I went to college for three semesters at USM while I tried to figure out what I was going to do with myself. Workmen’s Comp. had spent six months with a specialist trying to find someone that would hire me with the limitations placed on my wrist. No one would. I didn’t want to live on disability. I didn’t want to give up & I missed driving. So I created my own job and became a pilot car.
Before I shattered my wrist it was nothing for me to do 750 miles in a day on my motorcycle. I could do 500+ miles a day for several days in a row. Today I can do about 400 to 450 miles in a day. But I can’t do that day in and day out. Every year I take a week off to do a motorcycle vacation. Whereas before I shattered my wrist I would have ridden my bike to the location; 10 months after shattering my wrist I attempted riding to Sturgis & that taught me a really tough lesson. My wrist we’re not going to handle something like that. So today I trailer it to the destination. It breaks my heart to put my bike on the trailer, but I still have a lot of wonderful roads in this great nation that I want to ride. And if I am going to do it, I am going to have to trailer my bike to a central location, pitch camp, and ride out from there.
Since shattering both of my wrist I have done a 13,000 mile crisscross of the country with the aid of my brother, a nephew and my dad. My brother and I would swap off and on my bike so that I would not tear my wrist up anymorethan they were already. My nephew would ride my brothers bike, my brother would ride mine and I would ride behind my dad to give my my hands & wrists a break. It was the only way I was going to be able to make the trip.
Here I am, seven years later. I have been a pilot car for 4 1/2 years and I am loving it as much if not more than I did driving a big truck. Regulations for truck drivers have gotten ridiculous and I do not have to deal with some of them as a pilot car. One of these days, I hope to make a cross country trip be able to ride every mile without having someone to take over to make it for a few miles while I rest my wrists. I figure this will be a trip I make by myself because not everyone is going to have the patience to stop every time I need to and only do the miles I am capable of doing without taking myself out for the next day.
Every one has heard the saying, where there is a will there is a way. I have come to fully believe that. I have found ways to work around my disability and still enjoy the road weather on two or four wheels. I may not be driving a big truck anymore, but I still enjoy the trucking industry by escorting all those oversize loads. And I have to say, sometimes it is a bigger adrenaline fix than driving a big truck.
The following are photos from the emergency room and x-rays from the hospital of my broken wrists, then x-rays of pins in, and then when pins removed.
Here are the CT findings:
Right wrist Findings: There is a fracture at the wrist joint. There is an impacted, comminuted fracture of the distal radius which is angulated posteriorly.
Left wrist Findings: There is a fracture dislocation of the wrist joint. There appears to be a comminuted fracture of the distal radius which is displaced. Unfortunately, because of positioning it is difficult to evaluate the bone alignment. It is probably posteriorly displaced. No fracture of the other bones is seen.
Facial findings: There is a comminuted fracture of the nasal bone. It appeasers to be and open fracture associated with a laceration. Some bone fragments or foreign body are seen in the skin. The anterior nasal septum is deviated to the left. The remainder of the facial bones are intact. The orbits are also in tact.