TALLADEGA SCENIC HIGHWAY ON MT. CHEAHA ~ ALABAMA ~ photo taken by Dianna Stover
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

THE WRECK

Saturday, May 7th, 1:45 p.m... I got the worst phone call I could ever get.

It was my husband's aunt, asking if I was at home. Sensing that something is wrong, my first thought was; she's calling me about Mama A, Harley's mom. Crying through her words she said, "It's Harley... he's been in a bad wreck." WHOOSH!! In an instant, I felt the blood drain from my face and my legs turned to water. It was Mother's Day weekend and I already knew he had planned to ride his Glide up to Sylacauga that afternoon to take his mama out for lunch.

All I could say was "OMG... OMG!" Fear washed over me, and I felt panic set in. I questioned her almost angrily about his condition, but she had no information yet, other than the fact that he was being transported by ambulance to the trauma hospital in Montgomery. As I tried to sort out the compiling thoughts bouncing around in my head, I had to swallow hard to fight the sudden nausea that rolled in my churning stomach. I begged her find out the extent of his injuries and call me back. I told her, "I'm on my way home... right now!" I forced my panic to take a back seat while my mind raced, trying to figure out what to do next. You see, I was about to hostess the annual Kentucky Derby Party that was going to start in about 15 minutes... in Panama City, FL.

Talk about switching gears! I went from the excited anticipation of a festive afternoon with some awesome ladies to, the extreme fear that my life has just changed, and not for the better. My friends sprouted into action as they assured me they will handle the afternoon's activities for me. They also made sure I was calm enough to embark on my three and a half hour drive home to Montgomery. I knew I would be fine. I was on a mission... and that mission was to get home to Harley.

When something like this happens, it's a total interruption of life's momentum. Your world stops, disorients you, and throws you into a living nightmare. Questions without answers flood your brain, and leaves you feeling helpless and lost. About twenty five minutes had passed from the time Auntie M called me, before I got a phone call from an ER nurse at the hospital. I'll have to say, that 25 minute span of time was probably the worst 25 minutes I've experienced yet, in my entire life!

In spite of being in extreme pain, Harley had his senses about him enough to tell the nurse my cell phone number and asked her to call me. It wasn't until that moment that I learned he was stable and was going to live. I had to force back my tears of relief so I could take in what else she was saying. She explained, "So far we know he has four broke ribs, a bruised lung, and some road rash on his left shoulder and elbow." I was able to breath a little easier, but nervousness set in again when she said they were taking more x-rays and doing a CT scan so they could find out the extent of any internal injuries. The damage to his helmet led them to believe he may have suffered some head trauma. Those words alone made my nausea return... it felt like someone just punched me right in the stomach.

Hanging up my cell, there was no holding back my tears now. How bad could it be? He knew enough to ask her to call me... right? I needed to focus on driving... I still had a long way to go.

Running up that old familiar highway (Hwy. 231 north), a route we've done so many times we could practically ride it with our eyes closed, was agonizingly long that afternoon. Trying to go as fast as I could without getting a ticket was quite the challenge and when I needed to stop in Dothan for gas, well... I just wanted to hurry up and get back on the road. Unfortunately, the lack of concentration on my part resulted in my locking my keys in the truck when I went inside to use the facilities. What next?!?!

You can imagine my dismay when I came back out and realized what I had just done! This was NOT the time to be waiting on a locksmith to come open up my truck for my dumbass mistake! Feeling the panic rise up in my stomach again, I looked around as if an answer to my problem was going to come to me out of thin air. By the grace of God, it did! A gentlemen with his family was pumping gas at the unit right behind mine when he noticed I was distressed and asked if he could help me. I must have looked a bit wild eyed as I explained my dilemma, because he told me to calm down, that he may be able to help.

He went to his trunk and returned with a long vinyl wrapped pouch of tools. As he unwrapped this mysterious bundle, I noticed the words printed on the pouch... "Locksmith: Automotive Lockout Kit." It was filled with an assortment of flat bladed tools that I recognized as the right kind of tools to get into almost any vehicle. I cried with relief right then, as I just knew this was going to be the man who would me get back on the road again.

As he worked his magic, he told me he heard me praying while I was pumping gas so he figured I was in some sort of trouble. In my desperation, I hadn't realized I was speaking so loud, but I explained that I was trying to get home to my husband who's just had a motorcycle accident. He told me to keep the faith, that God was listening, and then he revealed to me that he was a deacon in his church. I hugged his neck and offered to pay him something, but he just made me promise to stay safe while I continued my journey to Montgomery. I was back on the road again within five minutes. Yes... God was listening.

Approximately 4 hours after receiving my jarring phone call, I walked into the ER of the hospital. Seeing my sweetheart of 31 plus years laying on a gurney with IV's in his arms and tubes up his nose delivered a mixture of emotions. I was glad he was alive, but my eyes kept darting over him trying to access the damage. His forehead was purple where his helmet dug in and left with him with a bad bruise and a big ol' goose egg, the backs of his hands were gouged and bloody and still covered in road grit, his elbow looked like the ashphalt took off several layers of skin, and he was moaning in pain. He opened his eyes when he heard my voice and said... "hey woman, I had a wreck."

Seven weeks ago... our path in life took a serious detour. I'm thankful that Harley's CT scan's came back normal, but he suffered a concussion, which delivered him a round of daily headaches and dizzy spells. In time, these should go away.

The good thing about time, is that it heals many wounds. A lot has healed since then... and a lot has not. Harley still can't remember the accident and the doctors tell him, he probably won't. According to the accident report, they are basically saying no fault on either party, but if you ask my opinion... Harley got the raw end of the deal.

I'm convinced that wearing a helmet saved my husband's life that day. Ribs can heal, bruises fade, and skin grows back. Your melon, on the other hand, once it goes "POP"... it's popped!

Having an accident might wreck your day... but it doesn't have to wreck your life.

Please... wear safe DOT approved helmets when riding. Someone in your life will be thankful.

Lady R

23 comments:

dave said...

Glad to hear that he is getting better. His (your) story is one more reason why I always have on a (full face) helmet. Road rash and broken bones heal-broken heads not so easy. I ride a 'Wing but if you and Harley ever make it above the Mason-Dixon line (Cincinnati or thereabouts) my daughter and I would love to join you in a short tour.
And yes God is always there, sometimes we just know what he is doing with us.

Arizona Harley Dude said...

Reading about the phone call gave me chills. I'm glad Harley is on the road to a complete recovery and can get out on the road again.

bobskoot said...

Lady R:

I'm glad that LUCK is on your side and that eventually, all will be okay. I don't know if I would have been able to handle that 4 hr ride like you did. I would not be able to see through the tears.

bob
Riding the Wet Coast

mq01 said...

i think you were meant to be calmed by the girlfriends and the deacon in the gas station. sometimes helping hands do more than we know... you're both blessed that this turned out ok. get well soon harley!

B.B. said...

It took me a few times reading it to get through this post, it was a hard one. I'm so thankful that Harley continues to recover, and I'm thankful that there were angels placed in your path when you needed them to get you to your love.

KT Did said...

I really believe in Angels and REALLY believe you had one, or a feww even, with you and Harley. Also very happy that you can report to us he is mending well. I'm with you... I wear my helmet.

FLHX_Dave said...

Wow...I had a hard time reading this. Been through this many times in my life and I have been on both sides of the bed.

Still have never figured out which side of the bed is the hardest to deal with as of yet.

This really put my head, literally, in a different place. I have been save by a helmet 3, maybe 4 times, yet I still don't wear it all the time. I think it might be time to start thinking about all the other people who need me around...and to stop being selfish in that regard. My last one was an eye opener and I got off easy...simply because I was wearing a helmet. I think it's time to put away the bad ass...and just stick with the ass part. I have been warned enough.

You just may have saved someone's life with this one and thanks for sharing the experience from the other side of the bed. I'm glad he is doing better. The concussion part made me nausious...I was in ICU for days with a smashed melon...it's not fun to deal with. It's almost like getting stuck on a merry go round that never friggin stops...i feel for the dude.

Best wishes and thanks again for this...really.

Willy D said...

I’m a fairly emotionless person. But the stranger at the gas station almost brought me to tears. What was that? Was it fate? A prayer being answered? Or just a case of ‘shit happens’? Guess it really don’t matter. It’s just kinda’ nice when life gives you a break once in a while.

Raftnn said...

I am not paticular religious, but your story was very touchung, the best blog I have read from you . I am very very glad the Harley was okey. You must wear a helmet in New Zealand that is the law. For the life of me I can not understand why people in your country dont.

HArley is living proof why you should. Take care my love and good stuff once again.
Roger

Webster World said...

God is awesome is he not. Of all the need you had to have He sent an angel to unlock your truck. It had to be a rough day. And yes time does heal. Your right too. Our heads once brused bad won't heal. Wear a helmet. I used to help bounce a biker bar. On some mornings my head or jaw would hurt from a fight. Now in a fight that dudes fist shoulder and body is forgiving a curb is not. Wear the lid.

Mr. Motorcycle said...

I ditto Willy D.'s comment.

Also, I have been wearing a helmet for the last couple of years. I went many many years without for the freedom factor and the coolness factor. However, my last wreck made me think twice. When you have several wrecks in your life and the thoughts change from Oh shit this one's going to hurt to Oh, F' I'm going to die, helmets start making more sense.


There is no mandatory helmet law requiring licensed endorsed mororcycle riders over the age of 18 in Minnesota, but the trend is becomming that I see more and more riders wearing lids. Bout 50 50 now.

Glad Harley is recovering fine.

Road Captain said...

This was hard to read, but I appreciate you sharing the story. I wish Harley well.

Carol and Johnny said...

Thank you for sharing. I'm so glad Harley is recovering! It was especially hard to read as it hit a bit too close to home for me. 2 weeks ago tomorrow, Johnny was loading the motorcycle on a trailer and it fell over just as he got it on the trailer. He hit the concrete driveway with his head and the bike landed on his leg on the trailer rail. It was the longest seconds of my life as he stared up at the sky, before he finally gasped. He was very lucky and only suffered some bruised ribs and a big gash warranting 17 stitches in his leg. He too is recovering, but it's hard for me to think about him on 2 wheels right now. I'm praying for a trike in his future!

Lady Ridesalot said...

dave... Harley and I would be glad to ride with you and your daughter. We're just not sure when he'll be riding again. :(

AZD... as a parent, I'm sure you've experience those chilling calls before. They're not very fun! Sorry we missed your big party. :( Looks like you had a great time without me! LOL! Congrats again to you and the Mrs.! :)

Bobskoot... You do what you have to... strength comes from within. I'm glad it was there when I needed it. ~Love the new profile pic, BTW!~ :)

Mq01... my friends were amazing and Harley wishes he could hug that man's neck! Yes... angels were with us both that day!

Lady Ridesalot said...

B.B... I thought about you a time or two while I was driving home that day. Between my hubby and yours... our gray hairs groweth!!

KT... Yes... they were! Thanks for your support and prayers. They were felt... each and everyone of them.

Dave... Being on my side of the bed sucks! It leaves you feeling so helpless and lost, that I'd rather be the one taking the pain.

I appreciate your comment here, more than you realize. Harley even encouraged me to write this because he said the same thing... if it makes just ONE person change their mind and ride with a safe helmet, it's worth telling.

I know you feel like you've been given second chances in life, maybe more than once. Let's not look a gift horse in the mouth, shall we? Besides, in my mind, you'll always be a bad ass dude, just be a safe one! ;)

Eve said...

I'm so sorry that I am just now reading about Harley's accident LR. Sending prayers for fast healing. Your angel at the gas station brought tears to my eyes, for you to have that help when you needed it most was a Godsend. Harley was in good hands and you needed the help to get you to him. Like a seatbelt, a helmet is so very important. I just got back from Florida where very few wear helmets. I wouldn't leave home without it!
Hugs to that big ol Harley dude!!

Lady Ridesalot said...

Willy D... divine intervention. It just wasn't Harley's time. I can only thank God for that!

Raftnn... Alabama has a helmet law also, but Florida does not... and many of our friends do not wear one. I hope we can change some minds here.

I appreciate your comment very much! I wouldn't say I'm overly religious either, but I feel very strong in my spirituality. I recognize the fact that I don't survive in this life alone... my divine father is with me everyday. Amen.

Webster... bouncer, huh? I guess you were a good pal to have back in the day! Thanks again for your comment. Makes this bump in the road easier to deal with when you know you've got great support through friends.

Mr. M... I remember your post when you talked about your spill. I'm just glad you had the chance to make some changes to your style. Riding didn't get any less fun, did it? Didn't think so. Glad to have you around to help spread the word. :)

Lady Ridesalot said...

RC... Thanks! I appreciate your comment.

Carol and Johnny... Sorry to hear about that, but I'm glad he's alright! Funny how quick our plans can change! Good grief!
I keep talking to Harley about a trike, but he's not so keen on that idea... yet. :) Take care!

Eve... thank you friend. That man at the gas station probably has a first class ticket right to the pearly gates when he is called. Every time I retell that story, it amazes people at the blessing of his presence, right then. Hopefully, this story will change some minds, and help save a life.

MeanDonnaJean said...

Oh DAMN!, please forgive me for not gettin' here & seein' this any sooner, but I hope by now yer man is well on his way thru the recovery process.

Dammit, I've gotta learn to stay awake a whole lot longer and more often than not. I'm just glad that yer hubby's Guardian Angel/Spirit Guide/Whatever wasn't sleepin' like *I've* been.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear LadyRidesalot:

I swear I commented here last week, and I see nothing with my name on it. It wouldn't be the first time I quit out without hitting "send." I was confused when I read this piece for the first time. I thought Harley had yet a second accident, and I did a menta flip.

I am thrilled to read your husband is on the mend, and that you found the kind of assistance that counted most in your hour of need. Some might call it coincidental... But I wouldn't.

My regards to your husband.

Sincerely,
Jack/reep
Twisted Roads

Lady Ridesalot said...

MDJ... no worries here friend. Life gets busy and sometimes, I feel like I'm playing catch-up myself. Thanks for your well wishes and yes... he is back on the mend. We just need to get his head right. He still suffers from dizzy spells. :(

Jack,
Oh no... your comment was here, I just deleted it. LOL! JK!
I would never take away any words spilled forth by such a literary genius such as yourself. Sorry you forgot to hit "send". :)
Thanks for your well wishes also. Sorry I confused you with this post, it just took a while for me to compose my experience of the whole thing. Seems like my spare time has been... sparse. ;}

WooleyBugger said...

Some blogs I have left comments on and they don't show up. What's up with dat?

But here again, glad The healing process is coming along and hope it continues. And I always wear a helmet too even when a kid. Many times I was glad I did. Had a helmet around for years as a reminder with it's spider web cracks from a spill I took. I remember think "That could have been my skull"

George F said...

Thank God he is okay/going to be okay, glad to hear. Four hours riding alone without knowing what's next, must have been horrible, I feel for you. Give him my regards and wish him a quick recovery.