So, our year has come and gone. Why doesn’t it feel so much easier? Everyone said it would be! Doesn’t a magic wand wave over you and everything gets easier? Darn.
That’s not our story – but that’s ok. We can seriously handle a lot! I know we are being tested, but we haven’t failed yet.
We went to thunder hill for the Anniversary Round, it was very therapeutic and hard for Me and Anneliese. Saturday night, we decided to have a ceremony of sorts. We decided to go out to the bottom of turn 5 with our friends; my trustworthy mechanic over the years, Kenny, and his wife Lisa and their son Kyle Norman. We took my helmet that I was wearing that day. It had tire marks on the base of the helmet and scratched up where I hit my head – but overall, amazing.
We finally got out to the turn… Anneliese stopped and began to sob. Lisa quickly put her arm around her to console her. I, was taking it in. Taking it all in. This was the turn uh? The turn that changed my life? What was so special? What went so wrong? It looked like the turn I had done hundreds of times before without incident. Why, on this day in 2013, did it decide to challenge me? Why couldn’t I pull out? Why did I have to be in the right place in the absolute wrong time? Why couldn’t the bike behind me miss me? Instead, it would ride directly over my spine. I always want to tell the docs and nurses, it’s not racing that did this to me! It’s a really unfortunate accident, someone was directly behind me and had nowhere else to go- but over my back. These types of accidents are very rare.
I’m the lucky one, as I have been accustomed to say now. I sat there, took this all in. As the sun set, we held each other and said our goodbyes to the pain of that day a year ago. We looked at Kyle, who was holding the helmet. We said our peace, in whatever form. He threw that helmet as far as he could – into an empty field. There it sat, alone. A part of our lives we need to move on from. That fateful day a year ago that would shape my families lives forever.
Racing was tough on Sunday – as there were many Red flags as well as the wonderful air transport. I think Anneliese saw that more times than she wanted to on this anniversary. Truthfully, it was more than most races, what really was in the air?
Overall, we had great racing – FP was an incredible battle once it got going. Thanks to Ricky Corey and Chris Siglin for the continued support. I can’t tell you how great it makes me feel.
We stayed in a hotel and it actually went fine. After the long day of racing on Sunday we made our way to Chico. We arrived around 6:30 and went straight to dinner.
We went to dinner at Crush- what an incredible filet mignon we had. The next day it was a lot of…
Showing me where everyone lived while I was in the “coma.” I was so interested in seeing where Anneliese ate, shopped and stayed (when she wasn’t sleeping in the room with me.)
The day of the anniversary, we drove around Chico and Anneliese showed me the route to the hospital. We went to the beautiful and humble Enloe Hospital. We went through the front doors – Anneliese remembers how she did a year prior, screaming……” they airlifted my husband here, where do I go?”
This time, we walked right through, right back to the elevators, up 3 floors to the Neruo ICU. Here, we rang the buzzer to be let in, to see where I spent the most critical 3 weeks of my life, Anneliese recognized nurses and respiratory therapists. We went in and thanked those that helped our family get through so much. It was pretty emotional – I had a moment – and realized a fellow racer, who was at our race and involved in one of the critical accidents, was in a bed near. I rolled away immediately to speak with his father. It was all too familiar- his son was laying in a bed in the same Neuro ICU. It was nice to comfort him – with the little I could – this was a young boy, 15 – It could be my son. It definitely hits home and you want to help in anyway you can.
We again went to Crush for dinner and had an incredible meal. We sat and reflected about our 3 weeks last year in Chico. For me, no recollection. For Anneliese, memories that she will never forget.
We enjoyed our couple of days in this little town- this is where -Anneliese heard the words, “Your husband is a paraplegic and will be for the rest of his life.” (According to my wife, he will be wrong about that- she believes in our lifetime, I will walk)
We drove home enjoying our therapeutic few days. It was nice to be away. We hadn’t ever been gone this long together since the accident.
Our Kids took care of the house and the puppy, they continue to amaze us.
Speaking of that, my daughter, Alli, graduated last Friday. How incredible is that to see your daughter walk across that stage. So many emotions go through your head. I’m so proud of my girl. She will attend Dominican University in the fall and intends on becoming a nurse.
She will follow in my family’s passion. My Grandfather and Father were Doctors, my mother an OR nurse. My mom is very proud of her granddaughter – I’m sure my Father would be too – if he were alive. I turned out to be a racer, not sure how that happened! This “gene” must have skipped a generation!!!
Father’s Day was great. Anneliese made us Crepes with Fruit accompanied with sausage, We then ventured out to see a car show. That was fun and looking forward to when I can get my mustang done and driving to one of them. I saw a friend from high school there. – Rob. He had his 66 Mustang Converible there. It was beautiful. Get ready!!! My mustang might be coming back in the next couple of months – I’ll need help putting the interior back together. If you want to help, let me know!!
This week is filled with doc apps. Bone scans, spinal doc appointments – spending 2 days to work out at SCI fit. Friday I will go in for another surgery on my wound. I will stay in the hospital for a bit – pumping me full of antibiotics to ensure no infection. I’m ready, I want this surgery over so I can try desperately to move on from this part of this stressful journey. My right leg has been more swollen the past few days. I tried not to think about my 3 blood clots sitting there. Unfortunately, they teach you. You have to be aware, aware they can break off any minute and kill you. It’s a great thing to think about.:-)
At this point, being “just paralyzed” sounds good! Give me the Bird Legs!!!!
It’s amazing I could ride/race at 180 mph at Daytona… but- this crap scares me.
Crazy how life is.
Enjoy the little things every damn day.
I’ll post after my surgery.