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Mission, TX
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Our website is all about motorcycles, especially BMW cycles. We cover rides in the Southwest and Mexico, motorcycle modifications and review motorcycle products. 

Blog

Rider Down

Ricardo Perez

Just a quick followup: It took me four months to walk on my own; two months in a wheel chair; a month with a walker; and another with a crutch, but finally walked on my own. I'm doing well with little evidence of the accident; exercise on treadmill and riding again. We rode to Colorado this summer about 3,000 miles in nine days without any problems or fears of getting back on the bike. I just replaced my '13 RT that was buried in Missouri with a new 2017 RT and look forward to the riding season this spring. I am blessed!

We were about 20 or 30 miles out of Eureka Springs, Arkansas in Missouri on a nice hilly two lane highway as I rounded an upward left curve there sat on my lane two elderly ladies in a van at a complete stop, trying to figure out where to go I suppose. I was on the inside of the lane, but didn't try to pass them for fear of an oncoming vehicle so I leaned as hard as I could to the right to try and run off the road. I almost made it. The bike was at a good angle and my body cleared the rear of the van, but the left side of my BMW RT clipped about 8 or 10 inches of the rear of their van. I suspect I was doing about 45mph at impact. The bike hit about 10 inches of the right rear end, knocked off their exhaust and my left cylinder head crashed into their rear tire flatting it and breaking their rim. My lower body went into the bike; I broke my left leg in two places from probably slamming into the fairing. My pelvis took the brunt of the impact as I broke my pelvis in about four or five places. 

I flew off the bike and landed nearby never losing consciousness. I lay on the side of the road, wiggled my toes, hands, and head to see if all the parts were still there. I knew something was wrong with my left leg as I couldn't move it nor could I sit up. The guys were behind me, all separated about a quarter mile apart. The came up to me to see if I was okay. I told them I was okay, but probably had something wrong with my leg. 

Not sure how it happen so quickly, but there was an ambulance at the scene within about 15 minutes. There were others that stopped most notable a flight attendant nurse that took good care of me as we waited for the ambulance. The other was Rocky, he and his wife were riding by, stopped and he said he lived just a couple of miles away and would go get his truck and trailer to take care of the bike. He did just that and the guys all helped load the bike onto Rocky's trailer. He took it to his barn where he covered it and kept it for more than two weeks. 

I saw none of that as the ambulance got there quickly, loaded me up and took off. One of our riding partners is an MD and he requested that I be taken to a Trauma I unit hospital. That turned out to be a great decision. We rode for about an hour and twenty minutes to Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Missouri. Turns out this was a big 600 bed hospital with a Trama One ER unit. As my brother tells me, they rolled me in and there were more than a few patients waiting for a scan, but a female doctor in charge ordered the staff to move in the portable unit so they could start right away. The staff complained about how heavy it was to move, but she said that it was critical so they rolled the unit in. 

 Here's the pelvic area. Not a pretty site. I broke it in four of five places and had three surgeries. 

Here's the pelvic area. Not a pretty site. I broke it in four of five places and had three surgeries. 

 Here's my left leg, broken below the knee. The drove a nail down the bone and tuned it with those side screws. No more casts. Doctor said it weren't for my pelvic area I could walk on it immediately.

Here's my left leg, broken below the knee. The drove a nail down the bone and tuned it with those side screws. No more casts. Doctor said it weren't for my pelvic area I could walk on it immediately.

As it turned out Mercy was a great place to end up at. They are a 600 bed hospital with a Trauma I Unit so they had an orthopedic surgeon on staff and ready to help me out. Trauma unit levels are one through five, but a level one unit is capable of providing any type of care regardless of type of injury.

In total I had four surgeries, the first was Saturday morning on my broken leg (Leg Lower Intramedullary Nailing). The doctor said that they drove a nail down the bone and aligned everything up perfectly so that I would heal well. The second was on my right pelvic area where that huge long screw went to mend a break (Pelvic Open Reduction Internal Fixation). That was followed by a bikini type cut at center and below my belt line to fuse the "open book" break back together (Acetabulum Open Reduction Internal Fixation). The third and final surgery was on Tuesday, four days after my accident, that one was a long meandering cut along the left hip side. The doctor said, "we can leave it as is and see, but you look like a 67 year old in a 50 year old body and if you were a 67 year old in an 80 year old body I'd say let's leave it". So I said, let's do it. 

Coming out of surgery with morphine was not a good experience for me. On my first or second surgery I was accusing my fellow riders and the nurses of scheming to defraud someone I knew. Of course, they just laughed, but in my head it was real. My nights were not any better, wondering why I was in this RV in Missouri with no way home. After about the third surgery I asked them not to give me any morphine that I'd rather deal with the pain. They moved me to Tramadol 50mg, but that was not much better so I weaned myself off of them by the end of the week. 

By the weekend I was ready to go home, but nothing much happens during the weekend so I waited until Monday morning at 5am and buzzed my nurse to come pull the catheter out because I needed to go home. They asked if I was sure and said yes. I had ten hours to pee on my own or the catheter would be reinserted and I'd have to stay. By 7:04 I was able to pee so I called my case manager and requested that I be discharged so I could go home. By 2pm I was discharged.

A couple friend of ours who were in New Mexico drove to El Paso and flew to Springfield to see if they could help out. I was glad they did that because we finally, after looking at several alternatives, decided to rent a car, drive northwest away from Texas to Kansas City, MO. We spent the night close to the airport in KC and on Tuesday morning headed to the airport to fly home. KC was the closest airport that had the larger passenger jets that had the wheel chairs that fit down the aisle of the plane and that would allow me to slide on over to a seat. Everything worked well and I was home by 4:30pm on Tuesday, June 23 about 11 days since my accident.

So now comes the long road back. The good news is that I should recover fully, but it would be a slow process. The doctor said I could not put full weight on my pelvic area for 6 to 8 weeks, in other words, I cannot stand. So I'm wheel chair bound at least until August 10th when I revisit my local (back home) orthopedic surgeon. By that time it will have been 8 weeks since my last surgery so I should show signs of healing and can be released to start my walking rehab. 

Yesterday was my third week since my last surgery so time is moving along faster than I first thought. It's a pain to be in a wheel chair, but it does give you an understanding of how life is compromised when you are not fully mobile. You quickly learn about businesses that merely attempt to comply with ADA standards and those that really do. This wheel chair time is a setback, but it could have been much worse, so I consider myself blessed to be in a position to fully recover.

The bike. I was riding my 2013 BMW R1200RT when I had the accident. As I was at an extreme right sided lean to try and avoid the van my upper torso completely cleared the impact, but the left side of the the motorcycle, mostly the fairing and left cylinder head and exhaust clipped about 10 inches of the right rear end of the van. I was told that the bike knocked off their exhaust, and the head flattened their right rear tire and broke their rim. The bike's fairing looked off-center and the cylinder head was leaking oil. The insurance company said it was a total loss so I'm getting a settlement check which I think is very fair for the bike. 

My brother and fellow riders took some of the accessories that I had added to the bike off before Rocky stored it away for the insurance company. So I was able to keep some accessories. Additionally, my Corbin saddle was removed and shipped home. 

I still have my Harley Ultra Classic here at home so I'm still with a ride, but who know how long it'll be before I can ride again. I hope that I can ride by September and before it starts to get too cold to ride. Of course, I have been looking at the new water cooled RTs and even looked at the Honda Goldwing, but I have plenty of time to make a decision on that.