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Offline SteveD

Proof that Dakar riders are not normal people
« on: January 01, 2013, 05:56:37 pm »
The story of a Dakar crash and subsequent events, as described on ADV Rider forum (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=202153&highlight=roadbook+navigation)
It's from 2007, but still makes riveting reading. This guy is not normal.

I'll copy the story across bit by bit. 
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Proof that Dakar riders are not normal people
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2013, 05:57:35 pm »
I haven't written a full report on my Dakar experience but thought a few words here about the crash might be appropriate.

First of all the cause was plain and simple. Major brain fart and misjudgement of epic proportions on the part of the rider.

Day 6 started with a 400k liason to a 400k special. I started at just after 5am. I had slept well and was feeling very good. My training was paying of in that I wasn't sore or tired. A little frustrated about the mechanical issues that kept shoving me down the order but feeling good. It was still dark and a sand storm was howling at about 40mph. We played follow the tail lights because none of our lights were very strong. It was a leap of faith to follow the lights in front, the striped center line and hope everyone was staying on the road. There were several that didn't. You really couldn't see more than bout 20 yards in front of you with the tail lights in front just kind of floating in the blackness. But we still needed to ride fairly fast (100-130kph) in order to make our start times. Pretty cool huh?

After about a 100k the sand started to let up but was mixed with rain now. Which was nice. It made wiping at your goggles a real adventure. The refuel stop was at 160k and by this time light was just beginning to show. Oh, and it was wet.

About 30k after the fuel stop we came off the pavement for the rest of the liason. This part of the liason was as bad as any special. It was muddy, rutted, sandy, rocky and just treacherous as hell. There was only about 140 or so miles of it though. Normally it would have been a piece of cake but the rain made it just that much more interesting. It was actually kind of fun in a really sick sort of way. I mean you realize this shit is just completely nasty and would make a really tough race in anybodys book. But this is just to get to the special. I couldn't help but chuckle. It could only be the Dakar. Your brain doesn't work normally after a couple of days of this stuff. It just accepts that this is what has to be done and that is what you do.

Started the special and it was high speed. Because of the fuel pump issues I was running hard to the first fuel stop at 200k because I knew I would need to conserve fuel to get through the dunes at the end of the day. That meant slowing down and giving back all the time I would have gained in the first 200k. F'ing fuel pump.

I was running at about 140kph and was just cruising. Unfortunately I picked a line through a small patch of trees that looked like small ripples. Upon arrival said ripples turned out to be washes about 2-3' deep and about 30 yards across. SHIT!!! was my exact word. Twisted the throttle for what was left (not much), got back on the bike (was already on the pegs) and braced for impact. Came off the first set pretty straight, hit the second time and things started to go a little Pear shaped but not catastrophic. The suspension hadn't fully rebounded and I bottomed hard on the second hit. The third hit was......well......bad. The bike nosed into the next wash or maybe it was the eighth because there was some air time. At any rate the sudden slowing of the front made the rear (with full tanks) decide it wanted to come around to the left to see what all the ruckus was about. I knew right then and there I was in trouble because the bike wasn't handling worth a shit at this point. The last thing I remember is being in the air standing on the pegs with the rear out to the left at about 75 degrees or so, the bars still pointed in the direction I wanted to go.

This was going to hurt.

Then I woke up.

I was on my back in a somewhat fetal position with my left leg pointing in a kind of funny direction. Not funny HaHa but funny I can move my toes but not my leg and shit I must have really messed something up. I did a quick inventory and much to my relief and suprise everything was still operable. Well, except for my left leg. Now by operable I mean I could feel everything and move most little pieces like toes, fingers, eyelids and stuff. But the body was curled up funny like it was waiting for something else to happen. I kept trying to convince it that the worst was over but wasn't having any luck. It was like I was frozen.

Ok, I have obviously sustained a fairly decent injury. I am lying in the middle of Mauritania. At some point the adrenaline is going to wear off and shit is going to start hurting. What do I do now? I can't move!! I can just see th bike out of the corner of my eye. It is over my shoulder about 20 yards away. I'm not looking forward to trying to get to it. Because I literally cannot move. Much to my suprise it looked to be in one piece. All the body work was still on it. I won't know the real damage till it gets back later this month.

That is when she arrived. Yep, the Spanish lady who was riding a Yammie 450 was there. My range of motion and vision was extremly limited and I hadn't noticed her. Now I must have been out for at least 4-5 minutes. The reason I say this is that I had passed her a ways back. She had also already made a call on her Iritrack. I think she thought I was dead because of the look on her face when she got to me and my eyes were open. It wasn't a good look at first but got better when she realized I was alive.

You can't make this stuff up. Here I was in the middle of Mauritania speaking French with a Spanish woman. It was just a little surreal. She held my head and we talked for a few minutes. She ran off again and came back to tell me the helicopter was about 10 minutes out. She pulled my goggles off and kept talking to me. She wouldn't let me close my eyes and was a guardian angel as far as I was concerned. She was pretty funny because she was trying to hide my leg from me. I knew it was hurt and kept trying to squirm so I could have a look. There wasn't any blood or bone sticking out so in my mind things were looking up. As cars flew by 20 yards away at well over 100mph she would bend over to cover me from the dust. Cannot thank her enough.

The helicopter arrived and let me tell you these guys are pros. They had mad doctor skilz. The Spanish lady was sent on her way and they got to work on me. I was hooked up to a Cardel monitor to get all my vitals. Helmet was eased off. After an initial assessment it was determined I was definetly out of the race but probably not going to die. The had to cut off my jacket and Koerta pressure suit, about which there will be more later because it saved my life. They hit me with some morephine and it was good. Nope, it was great. They intentionally had me tripping a bit because when I came back to planet earth my leg was in a different position and I had been put on one of those form fitting things.

All this time rally cars are still screaming by about 20 yards away. It was cool in that surreal kind of way again. Trippin again and this time I wake up just as they are finishing loading me in the helicopter. Now this isn't a life flight helicopter. They load you in from the side and everything and everyone barely fits. I love helicopters, even have a few hours towards my license. Riding in one gorked out on good drugs is an E ticket ride.

Wake up again in the back of an airplane. It is a twin turbo prop brush plane that is parked literally in the middle of nowhere. We are waiting on another injured rider to show up. He arrives by helicopter about 20 minutes later with a broken leg. They fire up and off we go. They didn't know if we were going to Madrid or the Canary Islands. Turns out we went to the Canary Islands.

Next installment. Canaryl Island Hell. Or why you don't want socialized medicine.
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Proof that Dakar riders are not normal people
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2013, 05:59:16 pm »
So you think the first part was bad

Ok, the docs have deduced that I have dislocated my left hip. The top of which is stuck up into the area of my lower back. Yeah, ouch. I have suffered a concussion. They arenít sure about internal injuries but the middle of the desert isnít the place to probe further.

I have been plied with very good drugs and am now laying in the back of an airplane headed for the Canary Islands. The doc is sitting back against the rear bulkhead of the airplane keeping a close eye on me. They have put in an IV catheter and I am receiving fluids. Best of all when I start to hurt the doc hits me with the good stuff.

I donít remember landing in Las Palmas but woke up in the ambulance. At the time I thought it was the worst ambulance ride ever. I have never been to the Canary Islands but the ride over the roads to the hospital hurt like hell and I was on some serious controlled substances. That son of a bitch had no suspension whatsoever.

We get to the hospital and they wheel me around a bit. Iím parked in a hallway while the doc and the head nurse talk a bit. Thereís quite a bit of talking, head shaking and consternation. I was a little fuzzy but knew something wasnít right. Apparently the head nurse was put off by having to lock up all my stuff which the doc wanted signed for. The guys had pulled the Iritrack, GPS, Sentinel and balise off of the bike and put them in a bag with my helmet (you should see it, ugh) boots, gloves and miscellaneous other stuff. There was also my passport and several thousand dollars in dollars, euros and Dinars. She seemed very concerned and couldnít understand why I was traveling with so much dosh. The doc explained the race and that you never know what might come up. They counted it all up and had a paper for me to sign. Like I was in any condition to be signing
any kind of legal document.

Now that brings up another story. It was day 4. Day 4 was a bad day. It is the day Elmer was killed. I was very upset and sat in the dunes for awhile. I decided I would ride to the next check point and quit. When I got there Robby Allen talked me into at least finishing the stage. There was a dune section left and it was all torn up by the earlier bikes and cars. I decided to head off to the left into unmolested territory. I would come back to the right from time to time to make sure I was paralleling the course. I came up to the top of a dune and a native (I donít know if they are Bedouins or not) was standing there. Heís wearing a blue robe and white turban. He speaks great French and we have a pretty good conversation.

Weird huh?


This is 50 miles out in the middle of nowhere, this is where nowhere goes to get away from it all, in the middle of an erg. He calls his son over and we talk about the best way to go. They point around to the left where I had been riding. We talk a bit more about sand, camels and all sorts of helpful desert type stuff. Then they ask for money!! They point out that they live out here and they donít work. They have helped me and when they helped Robby Gordon he payed them.

Thatís right. Iím getting shook down in the middle of this erg in the definition of the middle of nowhere. They donít put that in the brochure.

Evaluating the situation, I looked at them, the area, and the relative income level to be had sand farming. I figure 10 euros is probably a pretty decent wage for a few helpful tips. I mean its not like I called Triple M and they came out just to help me. They were already there for Christ sake. But no, they SCOFFED, yes scoffed at my 10 euros. Thatís like 13 bucks just to point and give a few lessons on Camel prints. It's not like the place was jamming with incredible employment opportunites. I gave them 15 and rode off. You thought you wouldnít need money here, you would be wrong. You just never know what might come up.

But I digress.

Back at the hospital they wheel me into a room kind of like a waiting room but not really. Imagine a relatively large room with 3 double doors. They just kind of roll you in there with a couple of other people in beds and leave. Youíre just kind of rolled in there all willy nilly and left with no chart or name or wrist band. I mean you could be mistaken for anybody. Soon a lady comes out of one the sets of double doors and wheels me into the x ray suite. Bugwife is a doc so I know a bit about x ray equipment. These kids have a pretty nice set up.

There follows a bit of mis communication while the nice Spanish speaking ladies try to convince me to slide off of the bed onto the x ray table. There is no way in hell Iím scooting anywhere. Hit me with some more morphine and I might fly over there but no way this kid is shuffling, scooting or anything else. They decide to gang up on me. They get a couple more people and lift me up in the sheet and move me over. Holy shit that hurt. The films are shot and Iím rolled out into a hallway to wait. I seem to have stayed fairly well entertained. I canít remember how but it really didnít seem like a big deal to be watching the ceiling.

The Dakar doc and the hospital doc come and wheel me into surgery.

Good news is they donít have to cut me and it doesnít look like anything major is broken.

Bad news is they have to put me really out to put it back in place. I ask about being put out and the doc says. And I quote "If we donít put you out youíll die from the pain". Ok, my vote is to be knocked clean out. Donít spare the ccís. Make sure I donít feel shit.

I wake up to be told that everything is pretty much back where it started the day but in a different time zone.

It is only down hill from here.
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Proof that Dakar riders are not normal people
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2013, 06:00:26 pm »
To recap.

Iíve ridden about 500kís in some very treacherous conditions, been beaten senseless by a rather solid piece of desert, drugged, air lifted, x rayed, and most of all had deranged pieces placed back in their proper locations.

All in all it has been a pretty busy day.

I am wheeled back into the waiting room that just isnít quite. You remember. The one with the three double doors and us patients just littered about waiting for someone to come get us. Once again the nice lady comes through the doors to take my after pictures. I am hoping they look better than the before pics. We started to have the same discussion about relocating me for the photos when they came to their senses and decided to just put the plates under me.

They wheel me back out into the hallway and leave.

Hereís the scene. I am in a hospital in Las Palmas, in a hallway, donít speak Spanish, all my possessions have been spirited away somewhere and oh yeah I have no clothes. Itís not that my clothes are somewhere else. My riding clothes are all that I had with me on todayís little ride. I wasnít planning on an overnighter someplace besides the bivouac and now
everything has been cut off. This doesnít mean much now. But it will.

I do have my cell phone with me. Through all of this I have made sure that it did not get misplaced or removed from my reach. This was to prove a verrrrry smart move on my part.

Back to the hallway. Iím just lolling about waiting for what happens next. You see, I have never spent a night in a hospital before. Probably spent the night when I was born but not since. Been broken and battered but never bad enough to keep around. I have seen friends and family in the hospital and they are taken care with doctors, nurses and all sorts of caring people making sure they are OK. My stress level is receding a bit looking forward to a nice comfy room.

I call Bugwife on the cell and she is just beside herself. She had been following on the website and knows something has happened because my little motorcycle quit moving. Everything is ok. Just a dislocated hip. Iíll be fine. Get me a flight out of here so I can heal at home. Sheís on it.

After a time a nurse and a guy show up in the hallway. They have something with them I canít quite make out. He whips out this roll of tape. It is about 4 inches wide. He heads for the inside of my injured leg just below my privates and starts to put this tape down the inside of my leg. Whooooaaaaa!!! Wait a minute there big fella. Just WHAT are we doing here?

Now you must understand I am one of Godís jokes. He took the hair from my head yet placed massive amounts all about the rest of my body. My legs are indeed very hairy and this tape while not appearing to be of great concern to the installer has long term implications for my comfort. That shit is going to have to come off sometime you know.

I speak very forcefully in English, then French with absolutely no effect. He proceeds to run this tape down the inside of my leg around my foot and up the other side making sure to press it down so it sticks real good as he goes. This is then wrapped in an ace bandage. Before I can say WTF they have placed my leg on some type of device and hung a 10lb weight off the end of my foot and the bed.

IÖÖÖÖÖ.. am not happy. Is this really necessary I ask? Yes it is. They tell me my leg needs to be in traction to keep the bones in my hip away from each other. They have done this in such a way that it isnít pulling straight out on my leg but drops over the end of the bed at better than a 45 degree angle thus insuring extreme pain in my foot and ankle. It is cutting off the circulation to the bottom half of my foot, from arch to heel. They really donít seem to care. I assure them I am in great discomfort and they assure me it isnít a problem. That would be a matter of perspective now wouldnít it?

I am wheeled off down the hall. Ok I think, Iím headed for a room. Just stay calm, relax, you can deal with this. There will likely be another nurse at the room to get all your vitals and stuff. You can plead your case there for the foot issue.

I am so wrong.

We arrive at this big room with about 10 beds in it. They are separated by curtains with each bed having about 3 feet on each side of it. It is about midnight by this point and the other patients are sleeping. They donít look so good. Theyíre all old. Some of them have some stuff plugged into them but nothing really being monitored. They stick me next to the wall beside a guy who has really seen better days and leave. I am not terribly impressed by the whole scene but am not in a very good position to a damn thing about it.

A nurse does pop in to take my temp. I tell her about my foot and she asks if I want pain meds. Well, yes that would be nice but a little work on the physics of this device left over from the Inquisition would go a long ways towards making life a lot better and really wouldnít harm the effectiveness of its mission. Remember I donít speak Spanish and she doesnít speak English or French.

She brings the pain meds.

Itís been a busy day and Iím a little tired. I call Bugwife and let her know the situation. She has already been getting flights arranged. I go to sleep thinking this will all work out in the light of day.

I am so wrong for a second time. My time in hell is just beginning.
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Proof that Dakar riders are not normal people
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2013, 06:01:50 pm »
I wasnít quite getting the nice comfy bed and top notch treatment I was expecting from the hospital staff. This was something I was about to learn a great deal about. The professionals in the Canary Islands were very good. The doc from the night before was very professional and instilled a degree of confidence in me that he knew what he was doing.

Support staff is another matter altogether.

I woke up a couple of times during the night and a nurse was doing rounds. Sorta, kinda. Rounds consisted of walking around the room and seeing if everyone was breathing. This was done by observation from 10 or so feet away. No temperatures taken. No blood pressure checks. No medications given. Just a little stroll around the room.

I usually only sleep about 3 or 4 hours a night anyway and true to form this one wasnít much different despite the grueling circumstances of the day before. When I woke up my foot and ankle hurt worse than my hip and back. The weight hanging off the end of the bed was reeking havoc with my lower leg. After what I had been through I couldnít believe how much worse the treatment was hurting compared to the injury itself. To top it off there was no reason for it except it would have taken a little thought and effort to do it right. Not being a terribly shy sort I resolved to resolve this issue at the earliest opportunity.

Along came a nurse and after quite a bit of gesticulation and going pssssttt, pssssttt, scuse me, scuse me, pardon me, I managed to get her attention. Why so tough to get her attention? I really donít know. She was on the other side of the room but refused to acknowledge my attempts to distract her from whatever obviously non medical thing she was doing. Once more we go through the exercise of me speaking English and French and her speaking only Spanish. We both used plenty of Italian as far as hand gestures were concerned. No, I didnít give her the Advrider salute. Not yet anyway. She resolutely refuses to do anything about the Torquemada device. She is more than happy to give me pain medication but wonít redo the device to keep me from needing the damn things in the first place.

It is about 5 in the morning. I figure the doctors will come through for rounds between 7 and 10. From my experience it seemed like that was the time doctors always did rounds in the hospital. Hit me with the pain meds and Iíll take this up in a bit with the man hisself.

10 oíclock rolls around and there really isnít much happening in the way of patient care or anything else for that matter. I get to looking around and notice that each patient has an 8.5 by 11 piece of paper torn in half and taped to the end of their beds. On this paper is written the patients name. Thatís all. Pretty fancy innit? The more I look around the less comfortable I am beginning to feel. This feels more like One Flew Over the Cuckoos nest than a real hospital. I am in some very serious pain at this point. I can hear the nurses about 30í feet away at the entrance to the room. I remember a table over there and they are sitting at it. I canít see it and they canít see me because of the curtains. They are chatting away and I think they are eating. Trying to be polite I politely say ďexcuse meĒ, um, ďexcuse moiĒ, ďpardonĒ. This brings absolutely no response. Errrrrr, maybe they didnít hear me. So I repeat it just a little louder. Certainly loud enough to be heardÖÖNothing. Hmmmm, they arenít really ignoring me are they? I resolve to make sure I am loud enough to be heard and repeat the excuse meís again. Son of a bitch!! They ARE ignoring me. Not being one to be easily ignored and being in a great deal of pain I proceed to make damn sure I can be heard and raise quite a ruckusÖÖ

NOTHING.

The old guy on his death bed next to me is up. He was making quite a bit of racket with me. Donít know if he was pissed at me or wanted a little help too and was working with me. He was on oxygen and looked to be plumbed with some other stuff too so he was of very little help. I appreciated the effort though. Assuming he was helping and not trying to warn me about nurse Ratchet. This goes on for 45 minutes. Some of the geezers on the other side of the room are even starting to join in and help. I think. Finally I have had enough. No docs, no meds, no nothing and this goddamned bar bell tied to my foot. I remove the IV catheter from my arm. A little bit (ok quite a bit) of blood because I didnít do it quite right. Next is to get this weight off of my leg. I canít lift my leg even with my right one under it enough to get the weight over the edge of the bed. You know what that means. Remember the tape? F#$@, F%$#, F#$%, this is going to hurt. And it did.

I have massive amounts of swelling in my left leg, my back is very swollen also. Keeping all this in mind, donít forget the hip isnít very bendy either, I am trying to undo the Ace bandage all the way down to my foot. I get it off and take a break.

Next I start to take off the tape. I made sure to make very loud painful noises as I pulled it off. It was my vain hope someone of medical authority might take interest in the inhuman noises emanating from the corner and come investigate. No such luck. I did pull all the hair off my leg from just south of my equipment all the way down my leg and up the other side. It was an experience I do not wish to repeat. The weight dropped to the floor with a crashÖÖ. Still no one came to investigate.

Now I am free from my shackles but am too tired to do anything. I steel myself for my escape. I have talked to Bugwife and apprised her of the situation. There is a ticket waiting for me at the airport. Ok, so I donít have any money, or clothes, or passport. Iím a big picture guy and those are details. Undaunted I figured I would figure that part out as I went. I ungracefully swing my legs off the bed. I was smart and did it towards the wall so I had something to lean on. Good move because I was none to steady and my left leg hurt like hell. It was at this point I began to realize that my injuries may have been more severe than I was letting myself in on. My body couldnít really tell where my left foot was. It knew it was there but the parts werenít communicating all that well. I noticed my left thigh was twice the size of my right. I noted the beautiful colors up and down my left side from knee to lower back. No problem, I am having myself an escape. I make it to the end of the bed draped in only a sheet. Remember the clothes thing? It will be a continuing theme.

There the bastards are just sitting there at the table. Nurse Ratchet looks up at me. The other nurses look up at me. No one moves. Nurse Ratchet grudgingly lifts herself from the table. The others act like nothing is going on. Ratchet ambles over with a less than amused look on her face. I scowl back at her. She approaches and surveys the situation, IV out, weight on the floor, blood in a few places. She turns to me and saysÖÖÖwhere are your clothes? WWWWWhat?? Where are your clothes? I was prepared for many things. After all I was having an escape and one needs to be prepared and flexible to change plans. This question had flown under the radar and I was having trouble with an answer. After all I thought the head nurse would know what had happened. Being quick of whit and steadfastly determined not to be out done I simply said ďIím leavingĒ. Now it was her turn to be taken aback. Thinking I had played that fairly well nurse Ratchet made her next move. She called security.

Shit.
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Proof that Dakar riders are not normal people
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2013, 06:03:21 pm »
Consider this a mini installment or more appropriately a flash back. A damned scarry one at that.

Remember when the nurse was strolling around supposedly doing rounds? I had her attention about the foot issue and not knowing when the opporutnity might present itself again I asked if I could have some water.

Hmmmm, lesssee.... cervesas, nono that's beer probably not going to happen, de l'eau, nono that's water in French, hold on little lady I'll get it, vin nono that's wine, merde, no that's shit in French, aqua, aquaman oooohhhh close, I'm getting close, Damnit I thought all these romance languages were supposed to be the same, uhhh say it like agua. That's it!!!

Agua.

I was so excited whipping my bad Spanish on her like that. No response, I know I said it right. Hmmm majic word...please ....with a big smile. Nothing. Ok work it. You can figure this out. Porfavor? Yeah thats' it!!

Agua Porfavor. I was so proud.

Non non she says. Si Si says I. Non Non. Well why the hell not?? She points at the IV. Yeah I know but I'm severly parched. I have only had a couple of sips from my camelbak since about 1 yesterday afternoon. Agua with a big smile. She points to my hip. Yeah, I won't poor it on my hip and promise not to spill it. I need to drink it. She manages to get out the word

"SURGERY"

Yes, I know they took care of that just awhile ago. She shakes her head no. It is beginning to dawn on me that on the big board by the nurses table that I saw on the way in they must have me down for surgery. No fluids before surgery because you kack it up. That much I know.

Uh Oh.

This is somewhat disconcerting if not down right causing panic. Now listen here senorita. There has been no cutting, there will be no cutting and is there someone else here I can talk to? I show her that my hip is mostly back where it should be and we haggle for a bit. Haggle without any hope of understanding more than water.

She leaves.....never to be seen again.

I slept with one eye open the rest of the night.

I never did get the water.
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Proof that Dakar riders are not normal people
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2013, 06:04:44 pm »
Ratchet and I make nice....sort of

I am standing there in my sheet, on one foot, but doing a good job of disguising it, I think. Ratchet glares back across the room at me. I sit down in a chair and choose to look nonplussed by the whole thing.

As an aside, any of you ever have that dream where youíre in public with no clothes? Yes, that one. The one that psychologists say indicates insecurity or some such bullshit?

This wasnít a dream.

The fact of the matter is I was re evaluating my position. One part of my brain was frantically taking inventory about what worked and what didnít. My own little Mr. Scott if you will. The damage report was not promising. Massive swelling in lots of places (think of a camel sticking off your side) accompanied by huge lack of mobility and a not small amount of pain, I didnít feel so good either. The little Scottish bastard was reporting in his best brogue, ďI donít think I can fixer captain. She wonít hold togetherĒ. DAMN! I may have over played my hand.

Security arrives and walks over with Ratchet. My, he is a fairly healthy looking guy. No problem taking him just 24 hours earlier, but times change. He has a funny look wondering why Ratchet has called him for an obvious invalid like myself. Hah!!! I did have her on the ropes. He leaves and Ratchet turns her attention back to me. She has some broken English but it is better than my Spanish. She asks me where Iím going. The USA baby. Could I please wait? The doctor is coming to see me.

Heck, that was all you had to say. I am not, however, getting back in that bed. It wore me out getting this far. Bugwife has been on the phone with the Consular and she is coming to help me out. There may be an escape here yet.

I begin to survey the situation and notice that many of the other patients have people there to see them. It is interesting because they are just sitting there. Not talking. No nurse interaction, no conversation of any type. Just sitting there. Hmmmmm, I really donít like the way this place feels.

I notice a clear plastic bag under my bed. To my complete amazement I realize it has my jacket in it. I have just hit the mother lode!! In that jacket is everything I need to survive in the desert for at least a day. Power bars, Promax bars, electrolytes, Endurox, those power jelly beans, a pharmacy and water in my camelbak. I havenít eaten for almost 24 hours and I donít see any food coming. I eased the bag out from under the bed. It wasnít very graceful and yes, everybody noticed but I gave them an ďI dare youĒ look and they left me alone. Whoís going to mess with a naked guy that looks as bad as I do?

I made a really big mess too because all my stuff was covered with Morocco and Mauritania.

I busted out a Black Forest Promax bar and hit the nipple on my camelbak. I am back in business. I dig on a Peanut Butter and something or other Powerbar next. I still havenít figured out how to walk very far or get clothes but I am working on it.

The doctor finally arrives. He speaks English and is very upset. Great, that makes 2 of us. He says I canít ride in a airplane. Says it will ruin my hip by cutting off the blood flow. Iím not going to tell him I donít think I could do it anyway. How long do I need to stay in traction doc? 2 Ė 3 weeks. 2-3 weeks my ass!! We talk about throwing clots and bad brain things happening. I understand completely. So far nobody has done a damn thing to prevent any of these things. The consular arrives. She was very nice and diplomatic in that diplomat sort of way trying to resolve the situation. We talk a bit more with the doc and he leaves.

They hoist me back in bed under the condition that the traction thing doesnít go on till the doc gets back. Like magic a pair of very old scrubs appears for me to put on. They were the most beautiful things ever. Most of the buttons were missing from the shirt and my package hung out the hole in the pants but they were at least clothes. I told them I would buy a good pair. It fell on deaf ears.

The consular tells me I am in a good hospital. I am incredulous. She tells me her husband is the head of orthopedics at a private hospital in town and that they are little better though the big public hospitals have better equipment. Damn Holmes, why didnít you say that to begin with? Screw the better equipment. Put me in the first cab to the private hospital. Iíll take my chances. (remember this).

The doc comes back and we talk some more. We agree that his nurses (ok I agree) suck and I am moving on. I lay back thinking things are finally looking up. Iím not going to get home today but things should get somewhat better and hopefully they wonít try to take me to surgery by accident.

Couple of hours later the ambulance boys show up to take me away. Before I can go I need my money, gear and passport. I have to sign for it. Problem is they already have me in the ambulance. Ratchet comes running out and explains the situation. The ambulance guys refuse to take me back in the hospital. Give me a break willya? I get the consular on the horn and we agree she can send someone to get it. Absolutely nothing about this place is easy.

This was definitely the worst ambulance ever. Much worse than the first. It beat the crap out of me. It was so bad I couldnít hardly breath at some points.

We arrive at the private hospital in the middle of a very busy downtown street.

I am about to acquire a very deep hate of the Canary Islands.
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Proof that Dakar riders are not normal people
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2013, 06:06:13 pm »
The ambulance ride really hurt. It wasnít so much my hip but I was beginning to have some very bad pain in my ribs just below my left shoulder blade. Felt like a sword being shoved between my ribs. It would take the breath right out of me. There were other things to deal with at the moment so I tried to ignore it for the time being.

I was rolled into the private hospital and to a room with several stations. They wheeled me into the middle one and went to work. Directly in front of me was a desk with a nurse and the doc looking at a computer. They had all my records and were asking the usual questions. Everyone spoke at least a little English or French so we could get our points across fairly They took my blood pressure and commented that it was a little high. Ya think? The doc gave me a good once over and sent me for more x rays. This time they didnít try to talk me into crawling onto another bed. Although I think I could have done it.

Back to the admitting room and the nurse asks me if I would like some water. Rock on, you bet I would. Itís all starting to come together.

X rays are read and everything looks good. Now letís stop and take a look at the situation for a minute. I have had a fairly serious trauma. It says right in the records that I was knocked unconscious. I have bruising on the left side of my back not to mention the other areas. They have taken 3 different sets of x rays but not once have they looked higher than my hip. Here in the states when I have taken my kids in with sprained and broken things, even a foot. They make sure they get that chest x ray. Insurance will pay for it and it covers their ass. In this case I am showing signs visibly and pain wise that a chest or back x ray may be in order but no one bothers to do one.

No problem, I am comfortable and the nurses here are on the job. The Consularís husband has picked up my paper work from the other hospital and has also bought me a cell phone charger. This was above and beyond the call of duty and was really appreciated because that phone was my only contact with the outside world. I am told to keep my money and passport under my pillow and with me at all times. Hospitals arenít safeís. This seems a bit of a strange comment from the doctor but I heed his advice. He lets me know that Saturday is a holiday so no place will be open and things will also be closed on Sunday. This has implications on my clothing plan.

Then bad news, I do need to be in traction and they have to put the goddamned tape back on my leg. You have got to be kidding me. They do it but their tape was a little more advanced and gave hope that it would come off with a lot less pain. There was a lot less hair to deal with by this time too. They took the time to set the weight up properly so it is pulling straight out on my leg and not causing all the problems I had before.

It is time to be wheeled up to a room. Sixth floor into the room, 3 beds, one other guy, looks nice enough. I can start working things out from here.

Itís late Friday afternoon and while I am getting wheeled in I notice the food cart and people being fed. Thereís probably no hope for me being fed because I am just arriving. Dang. After a bit of wrangling the male nurse does bring me a cup of tea and a biscuit. Nice. The guy on the bed next to me is in his street clothes and just laying on top of the bed. Iíll wait a little bit to try and find out his situation.

Thereís a TV on the wall, a very small TV but a TV none the less. Great! No not great, its coin operated. I have plenty of coins but no way to get them to the TV. No problem, Iím comfortable and these guys seem to have a program. It is a little hot though. As a matter of fact it feels about 90 in the room. I see the AC for the room and the thermostat on the wall. Probably just turned off because no one was in here. Again something that can be dealt with in a bit. Time to regroup and evaluate my situation.

The ASO call and ask how I am. I must say the organizers were on the ball. They called me at least a dozen times to make sure I was ok and to organize my flight out of there. I have a deep respect and gratitude for how hard these guys work for the competitors in conditions that are incredibly difficult.

8:30 or 9:00 rolls around. Either dinner was way early and I missed it or these guys are like Spain and everything happens late. Sure enough it is like Spain. Along comes the dinner cart and it smells pretty good. No tray for me. My paper work must not have made it to the kitchen. I try to see if maybe they can get me a little something. MMMMM no. This is a little disappointing but I have just arrived and so far things have been pretty good here. Iíll cutíem some slack. After all I still have some Powerbars in my jacket which happens to be in the bag on the floor to the left of my bed.

I munch my Powerbar and take inventory of what is left, one Promax bar, one bag of Power Beans, not much. Water is getting low. The pharmacy is low also. I had Doxycyclene (sp?) in there to take as an anti malarial, Advil and my favorite, Tramadal. Tramadal is my pain killer of choice. My body tolerates it very well and I can still operate things like motorcycles at fairly high speed while taking it. I have more of all this stuff in my airplane box somewhere in Africa. This was just for if I was caught out and the marathon stages. Plenty of Doxy left but the Advil and Tramadal were low because I had used some the night of the marathon stage and hadnít restocked.

No worries, I am sure these guys will take care of it. The nurses come to take away the food tray from the other guy and I ask (gesticulate) about the AC. They get the picture and go fiddle with the thermostat to little effect. Shrug their shoulders and walk out. I have all the covers off and am sweating my ass off. No food, no ac, no meds. The nurse does come in and hooks up a new IV catheter and an IV. He isnít the most friendly fellow even though I try to make nice. I do manage to get him to open the window to let a little air in. The guy in the other bed hasnít said a word.

The nurse flips off the lights, closes the door (so much for setting up a draft) and I assume thatís it for awhile. I am in quite a bit of pain but they donít seem inclined to do anything about it. I hit my stash. Eventually I fall off to sleep. Itís been quite a day and a half.

I wake up to 120 decibels of Euro techno disco trash coming in through the window. What the hell!!!! Itís 12:30 in the AM. It lasts about 30 seconds then is gone. I think maybe it was some kid with a wicked car stereo and internal organs turned to mush. Then wham!!!! There it is again. It keeps going this time. I hear glasses clinking and loud voices. It appears that there is a bar across the street and its Friday night. No strike that. Itís Saturday morning.

Just when you think it canít get any worse. Ya know?

About 4 AM I fall to sleep with all this happening. I woke back up about 6:30 and the party was still going on. I notice a fruit basket on my table with a card. It has been sent by the ASO wishing me a speedy recovery. I told you those guys were the best.

Daylight and the bar finally settles down around 7:30. Breakfast is served about 8:30ÖÖÖ to everyone except me. Now I am trying to be a patient man but I do have my limits. I manage to get a bottle of water from one of the nurses and hit my fruit basket.

No meds, no doctors doing rounds, no ac, no food and no way to get to the bar across street to party with them. The nurse does manage to screw up my IV catheter and gets blood all over my scrubs. They have to come off.

Yep, Iím back to having no clothes.
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Proof that Dakar riders are not normal people
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2013, 06:06:58 pm »
Iím laying there sweaty and naked. I have been sweaty and naked a time or two and enjoyed it very much. This wasnít one of those times.

Through all of this I had a bit of congestion and drainage. It started in Portugal and continued into Africa. This wasnít completely unexpected as the weather was up and down in Portugal and I was breathing quite a lot of crap on the stages. I hadnít brought decongestants along. This all resulted in some coughing to keep the pipes clear. Nothing to get excited about. I really hadnít given it much thought.

I was starting to give it some thought now though. I couldnít lay the bed all the way flat or I would start to cough. On a pain scale of 1-10 that pain in my back was a 10 when I coughed. It was a very sharp, deep pain that would just take my breath away and leave me stunned. It got so I would tighten the muscles in my back when I needed to cough, then cough as lightly as I could. This wasnít enough to clear my throat a lot of times. When I did hoark up a loogie there was no place to spit. There happened to be an old towel around and I used that. I tried to discuss this with the nurse when he came in but to little effect. Hopefully a doc will be around soon to have a look.

To my great horror I did almost sneeze one time. Fortunately the pain part of my brain got on the horn the sneeze center and they worked out a deal where that sneeze just kind of flickered. Thank God. I would have exploded.

My sister had called me and we had a few laughs about the trials and tribulations so far. She had sent out an email to some English speaking churches in the Canary Islands and thought maybe someone there might be able to help.

I sweat my ass off till lunch time came around. Finally I would get some food. Wrong. Iím still not getting fed. Holy shit! What do they expect me to do? Call Dominoes? Son of a bitch. My patience and pain tolerance are being sorely tested.

I express my displeasure at the situation in what I thought was a very polite manner to the nurses in the room. They give me some blank looks. We try to communicate again with little luck and no food or meds for me. A third nurse comes in the room. Sheís a young dark haired little gal. To my complete surprise she proceeds to chew my ass out for not speaking Spanish. Huh? Who the hell did I think I was coming to a Spanish country and expecting them to speak English? Now this is mostly in Spanish but I am getting the point. I am in Spain and should speak their language and it wasnít her problem. She is absolutely livid. If I could have gotten out of that bed I would have torn her throat out. I tried to explain that I wasnít here through my own volition and while I didnít speak Spanish I was trying my damnedest to communicate with the 2 languages I did speak. She goes on for a few more minutes until one of the male nurses explained the situation to her. She is not amused or apologetic while she storms out of the room.

That went rather poorly I thought. It does give you an idea of the level of care that was being provided.

I have traveled all over Europe beginning with being an exchange student at the age of 14. I never had a problem in any country at any time with anyone. My usual routine is to smile, laugh and make the other person realize that it is a fun game and weíll get it worked out. No need to get all stressed, have some fun with it. This wasnít working in this particular situation.

Time for a sponge bath. Good, because I havenít bathed since Tuesday night. I got in too late to TanTan to take a shower on Wednesday night. I just wanted food and sleep. Itís now Saturday and Iíve been laying here sweating since last night I needed a shave too. No time for it before but if they have a razor it would be nice. Sponge bath is over. They put this disposable paper type of hospital gown on me.

Much to my surprise they also gave me a razor. Just the razor. No water. No soap. Nothing else. I give a rather perplexed look and ask about maybe some water or something to hold the water or maybe even a towel. Nope, just the razor as they leave the room. I had to laugh. From the surreal to the sublime.

They think they have played a nice joke on me and I do find it rather amusing. But damnit I am going to shave. It will make me feel better and cooler since the AC isnít working. I decide to make a bold move and hobble to the bathroom. The weight on my leg is actually a bag filled with water. I slide it over the end of the bed and sit up. That spot in my back screams in agony. I whimper. I shuffle off to the bathroom dragging my bag and look in the mirror. I look like shit. No, really, I look bad. I lather up some soap and go after a five day growth of beard. My beard grows pretty fast so this no small task.

Remember, nothing is easy in this story. The razor they gave me is a little single blade disposable. Fine, beggars canít be choosers. However, it is a very safety minded safety razor. It has a little protuberance protruding in front of the blade. This little engineering gem effectively keeps one from cutting oneís self. It also effectively keeps you from having almost any hope of shaving anything. I dig very deep into my skin and manage to scrape most of the whiskers from my face. It was an experience not unlike what I would think it would be like to shave caveman style with a sharpened rock.

I donít look much better after the shave than I did before. But I do feel better.

On the way back to my bed I stop by the thermostat. I notice it is turned off. My experience is that they tend to work better and are more effective when turned on. I turn it on and adjust the thermostatÖÖNothing. I fiddle with it a bitÖÖ.Nothing. Why does this not surprise me?

I lay back down and begin to cough. Badly.
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Proof that Dakar riders are not normal people
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2013, 06:07:51 pm »
The congestion has caught up to me and even with the bed elevated I am coughing quite a bit. I canít adequately explain just how bad this felt. It absolutely felt like having a 4 inch wide sword shoved between my ribs just below my left shoulder blade. I was beginning to have trouble breathing. Each cough took my breath away and it was hard to breath because of all the shit I couldnít cough up.

I desperately ask the nurse to get a doctor. She just looks at me. They are all very good at this. It is very obvious that I am in distress. Because, well, I am. Two more nurses come in. The three of them just look at me. They leave. A fourth nurse came in. This guy liked the Dakar and understood the situation. He also spoke just a little bit of English. He looks at me then leaves. Iím screwed. I decide to try give myself a few seconds to cough as hard as I can. This is going to hurt like a mother fíer. I tighten the muscles in my back as much as I can, grab the sides of the bed and go for it. I hoark up some huge loogies and damn near pass out. I managed to catch my breath and with the phlegm gone can at least breath a little.

In case you were wondering. I am very incredibly extremely pissed off at this point.

I make sure the bed is sitting up as far as it can and take some time to compose myself. Breathing very carefully I again start evaluating my options. There arenít many. Can I get out of here? This time I do have money and my passport but still no clothes. Physically Iím not sure I can do it either. This hospital obviously isnít going to provide any better trauma care than the other one. It isnít looking good. Bugwife is working to arrange to get me out of here and so is the ASO but it takes time.

Into the room walks a young lady.

Tim? Yes, that would be me. She introduces herself. I am embarrassed because right now I canít remember her name. Her mom received the email my sister sent. She asked her daughter if she would come over and check on me.

Her family originally moved here from South Africa and she has lived here most of her life. Sheís 20 and yes guys she is very cute.

We talk for a little while and she concurs that it isnít good to get sick in this place. They donít go to the doctor or hospital. Youíre kidding me? Nope they stay away if at all possible. It basically comes down to you get better or you donít. They donít help much either way. My experience would seem to back that up.

She asks what she can do for me. STOP, get your minds out of the ADVrider gutter right now. I know whatchyer thinking so just cut it out.

First thing I ask is if she can get me some clothes.

Donít even think about me being naked (under a sheet) in front of a cute young girl and asking her to get me clothes. In another life I would have handled it differently. The stakes here are a little different.

I have money. Is there any chance of picking me up some basics? Any other time yes but today is a holiday and all the stores are closed. Sonnnn offff aaaa bitch I canít buy a break. Do you have any brothers? No. We try to work out how to get me some clothes but the holiday has everything screwed up. Everyone she knows who she could get clothes from are gone for the weekend.

Food, can you get me some food and water? Yes, the little store right down the street is open today. Hot damn! At least these bastards arenít going to starve me out.

Off she goes to pick me up some munchies. Back she comes with Chips Ahoys, Oreos, a sammich of some kind and two big bottles of water. She also brought me some Benadryl cold and allergy. Iím going to kick these guys asses yet. Theyíve been fíing with number 149 from the US of A and Iím not going down that easy.

Four and one half hours later the doctor stops by because the nurse told him I was having trouble.
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Proof that Dakar riders are not normal people
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2013, 06:08:46 pm »
Gee doc nice to see ya. Long day on the course? Old ladies in front wouldnít let you play through? Fortunately his English wasnít good enough to understand my sarcasm. He gives a listen to my chest and agrees there seems to be something amiss. Great, but I could have told you that and Iím just a guy. He gives me some meds. Who the hell knows what they were and leaves. He doesnít seem to care about the excruciating pain my back.

I get a call from the ASO with two items of very good news. 1. My motorcycle has been recovered. This makes me very happy. 2. They have arranged an AirEvac flight to Paris the following afternoon. Things are coming my way. Sort of.

The nurses come in a little later and see my stash of food. They look at me very suspiciously. I give them a ďpiss offĒ look. Iím tired of playing nice. It appears to be every man for himself and I now have my own cookies. They do seem pleased that I will be leaving.

Did I fail to mention that during the afternoon the room faced the perfect direction for the sun to shine right in for the hottest part of the day? It did. We had to close the curtains or bake. This obviously got rid of any draft we were hoping to create. Iím luvin the island life.

Tea is served and I get some along with some biscuits. Very nice but not as good as my Chips Ahoy. Nine oíclock rolls around and dinner is being served. Miracles never cease. They have a tray for me!!! Iím wondering if they are messing with me. It has only taken them a little over a day to get me into the system. I take the top off and it is actually a very nice fish and potatoes dish. When they brought food it actually ended up being pretty good. Full tummy and escape on the horizon. None too soon either because I am down to the last 2 pain killers in my stash.

I doze off around 11. The techno euro disco trash from across the street cranks up again at 12:30. This has to be a Twilight Zone episode. It just has to be. I get zero sleep that night.

The next morning and I get breakfast followed by some bad news. Iím not getting Evaced out today. It is actually at 4 in the morning. Monday morning. Grrrrrrrr. Rod Serling you are killing me.

Along about 9 in the evening the nurses are in a panic. It has finally dawned on them that they are close to being rid of me. Problem is they canít be rid of me till I have at least a loin cloth to put on. One of the testier nurses is working hard to make sure all my stuff is ready to go. She isnít happy about the mess all my stuff made either. Dusty bits of Africa are all over my part of the room. She asks about my clothes. This is getting tedious. Honey they are toast. She asks, hand signs, can they be sewn? Only if you are the seamstress from hell. The pants have been cut all the way down the left leg and both sleeves of the jacket have been cut down their length along with my Underarmor.

I took amusement at the look of despair on her face as she pulled them out of the bag and realized that it was indeed hopeless. He who laughs last and all that was something I should have heeded. The light bulb goes on over her head and she scurries out of the room. Iím hoping for the best. It came up somewhat short. Literally.

She comes back with some yellow pajama bottoms with about an inch of almost frilly stuff at the bottom of the legs. She also has an old PJ top that is white with blue stripes on it. A quite striking combination of clothes that probably would have escaped my somewhat retarded sense of fashion. She has a big smile on her face.

Not having a lot of options I put them on. The pants come not quite to the top of my ankles. They do have a little flair at the bottom, which is nice. As an added bonus my package hangs out the front of this pair of pants just like the previous pair . The shirt barely fits around my shoulders, is missing some buttons and the sleeves like the pant legs come just not quite to my wrists.

Quite the fitting ensemble for a Dakariste.

What? No footwear?
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Proof that Dakar riders are not normal people
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2013, 06:09:33 pm »
Ok, another flash back.

Itís Sunday afternoon. Iím just kind of waiting to get ready to leave. Getting ready to get ready if you will. My mind is playing over the sordid events of the past several days and I realize there is something missing.

I havenít taken a dump since Wednesday night. It is now Sunday afternoon. Hmmmmm, this has far reaching implications most of which involve a great amount of discomfort. I call bugwife. Dear? I know that morphine and pain killers can have a bad effect on oneís digestive tract. I havenít pooped in about 4 days. What do you think? She laughs because she was wondering if I might have some trouble with that. She points out that the Powerbars and stuff donít have much fiber in them. The body pretty much burns them up. They shouldnít be too big a problem.

What about the 2 steaks and big dinner I had Wednesday night in TanTan? Well now that could be a bit of a hold up. She advises I head to the Head and try to shake some things loose. Roger that.

I go through the ritual of sliding everything off the bed and dragging my water bag behind me. A nurse looks through the open door, starts to say something then just moves on. Good call.

I make my attempt. I am even having a bit of success. My positioning isnít ideal because I have to keep my left leg straight and canít completely bend at the hip. Iím telling you, nothing in this story is easy. To my relief it appears this is going to work. Thud, I mean a loud thud on the stool. Had to almost crack the porcelin. It has to have the mass of Uranium, or more appropriately Pootonium. I have never had a poop like this in my entire life.

The stools are equipped with power flushs. You know, the water comes out at about a 100 PSI for just these situations? It took two flushes!

I felt soooooo much better. My back still hurt like hell though.
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Proof that Dakar riders are not normal people
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2013, 06:10:51 pm »
Escape at last

The plan is that the ambulance will pick me up a 4:15 in the AM. The plane will depart at 6:00. There are stops in Madrid and Barcelona then my stop in Paris at 4:30. Bugwife and the ASO have arranged for me to be taken to the American Hospital in Paris. A well regarded bastion of medical prowess if ever there was one.

I want to again compliment the ASO on their handling of the situation and organizational abilities. My trials and tribulations have been no fault of theirs and they have constantly kept me up to date on what was happening.

It is Sunday night, Monday morning but the Canarians are still partying across the street. I manage to doze off for a little while. The ambulance guys are right on time. They load me up and off we go.

Remember how I said the first two ambulance rides were the worst? I was wrong again. My back is killing me. There appears to be a bar in the gurney that mates up just perfectly with the most tender area of my back. Every bump, and let me tell you the Canary Island pavers suck asphalt balls, almost makes my eyes roll up in my head. Itís only a 20 minute ride though.

We get to the airplane. Me being wrong is a theme in this story. I will continue to be wrong some more. When I hear medevac plane I think of a jet. Maybe itís not the biggest jet but a nice little jet with beds in it. A plane with medical stuff and doctors in it. Nope. Our plane is a twin turbo prop of about 1970ís vintage. Being a pilot I take a look at it and it looks very well maintained. I donít see any reason to doubt itís airworthiness.

I count about 5 ambulances on the tarmac to load their wounded into this plane. There is an airstair at the front. None of us are going to be lifted through that. The rear of the plane does have a large cargo door for us to be lifted through. A man comes over and introduces himself as the doctor, another as the nurse. Nice to meet you guys. Anything I need? Nope, just get me out of here.

Problem is there isnít anything to lift us from the tarmac into the plane. It is about 5í feet up. Pilots, doctors, nurses and ambulance crews are scratching their heads. Iím giggling. They decide the brute force method will work best. Or more appropriately that is the only method available. They hoist the first guys in. I am about 4th in line. Itís my turn and I try to convince myself not to be worried. I tell myself that if they do drop me medical help isnít too far away. They get me in there and I must say I was a little disappointed.

The plane originally had a row of seats on each side of the cabin. Most of the seats on the starboard side have been removed. They have been replaced by field stretchers that have been bolted in. These field stretchers are about as wide as my shoulders and hard up against the cabin. The form fitting bean bag things they put us in are about twice that wide. The preverbal 20 pounds of shit in a 10 pond bag scenario. I notice there are 2 seats facing each other on the port side. I volunteer to sit there. I can sit facing the rear and stretch my leg out. Laying flat is not the best thing for me at this point anyway. They load the rest of the wounded in without dropping anyone and close up the doors.

Looking around I realize the guy laying across form me is Vladamir Chagin. I stopped at the scene just after he had wrecked his truck on stage 5. It was a yard sale like you read about. The guys were very shook up. The driverís side of the truck was caved in. You have to go a bit to do that with the size of roll cage tubing they use.

Without going into the whole stage 5 situation I had torn a radiator hose on the right side of the bike. I stopped at some spectators to get some water to fill back up. They were Portuguese and more than happy to help. It was obvious I wasnít going to make it with that hose leaking the way it was. They had some wine corks and I used them to plug the hoses to the right radiator. I had about 60k left and was going to try and make it on just the left radiator. While doing this Chagin and the other team truck came by at about mach2. They were hauling some serious truck bootay. 30k later I came across the accident. Like I said before, it wasnít pretty but they were ok. I needed water because I was boiling over on just one radiator. I had to stop about every 15k and beg water to keep going. They showed me the water tank on the back of the wrecked truck and I filled my radiator and water bottles back up.

I looked a sight with my fine threads and all but he remembered me. One of his guys had hurt his back pretty bad. They were headed to Poland.

I started to cough and really hurt. The doc was on it. He felt around and hit the precise spot on my back. I was standing at the time and it almost buckled my knees. Some of you have been speculating. Cracked ribs is the answer. He gave me some pain meds and some decongestants. They seemed to do the trick, at least for now.

We landed in Madrid and off loaded some other Dakar casualty with broken parts. Not sure who it was. I moved back and tried to lay on one of the beds. Beside me was Jordi Viladoms. I thought I was in bad shape but poor Jordi had it rough. Both arms were casted up along with his right leg. They had to pull his pants down for him to go pee. He did have nice clothes though.

5 painful hours later I made it to Paris.

 

Offline SteveD

Re: Proof that Dakar riders are not normal people
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2013, 06:15:08 pm »
I'm home but it isn't over

Ahhhhhh Paris, I woke up after the first full nights sleep in almost a week and a half. I was sleeping well during the race but youíre still kind of on edge. I hardly slept at all in the hell hole hospitals in the Canaries.

They brought a nice traditional French breakfast including a nice cafť au lait. I spent about an hour luxuriating in it all. Then I wandered into the bathroom and finished my shave. Actually I am very embarrassed. I took another shower and it was gooood. I spent the rest of the morning getting my flight home arranged with Bugwife. She got me scheduled for a flight home at 11:00 the next day by way of not the direct route. It was Paris, New York, Atlanta then St. Louis. But hey, I was getting home. Being in a plane that long with my hip and back was certainly going to require a fair amount of pharmaceuticals.

Jean Claude and Stephan showed up right on time. They took great mirth in the whole situation. Much like you sadistic bastards right here on ADVrider. JC brought some clothes from home for me to wear while they went out shopping. JC is French, they have no shoulders. Me, I have fairly large shoulders. Shirts are always a problem because when a shirt fits my shoulders, upper arm and forearms they are generally too long. I was expecting the whole PJ fitting all over again. To my great suprise se had a sweat suit that was too big for him and it fit pretty well. At least no parts were hanging out. Off JC went to get the clothes on my list. Which included well, everything.

Meanwhile I waited to get released. I wanted to get out of there and to a hotel as close the airport as possible. The nurses said it was quite ok to stay there for another night. I appreciated the gesture but I had been existing at the whim of others for long enough.

The only problem was my doc was hung up with Mrs. Bush.

JC came back around 3 with a couple of bags. He said he had a nice robe and slippers for me. I wouldnít put it by him.

Fact was he had all the items I needed. I paid him, thanked him and went to put on my new threads.

Remember when you were a kid and your birthday or Christmas came along? How pissed were you when you got clothes? Well I donít know about you guys but it hacked me off. This was like getting the best Birthday and Christmas present ever. All at one time. Iím telling you. You donít realize how much you like having your own stuff till you travel over two continents and three countries with your privates hanging out and not having any real clothes.


I was BACK. Alright, I was back but still hobbling quite a bit. Late afternoon rolls around. Still no doc. Evening rolls around. Still no doc. The nurses assure me that he will be there. I stay out of the political stuff here on ADV but this I was blaming on Bush. Finally about 7:30 he pops in with my CT scan. Where the hell have you been? He had to plant a tree. A tree? Yes there was some tree planting ceremony with the first lady and he had to attend. I figure that was pretty painful and offer my apologies. We go over the scan. Itís not good. Itís not bad. Only time will tell. Does that mean I can go? Only if I promise to use the crutches. I will use them if you give me pain meds to get through the plane ride. Deal.

The get me a cab. JC told me the Sofitel was right next to the airport. I never stay out there so it was as good as any as far as I was concerned. Off we go. I get to the desk and ask for a room. We are full sir. Merde. Are you sure? Oui. The Marriot is just down the way and I can head there. Thinking about playing the sympathy card I ask one more time. You see I was in the Dakar and had this accident. I really just need a room for the night to get home tomorrow. Now I got some action. Excuse me while I check again sir. He disappears, then he comes back. Like fíing magic they have a room for me. All I have is this big dirty, scruffy duffle bag. The bell hop scoops it up and off we go.

Firmly ensconced in my room I check out the mini bar, and the room service menu. Garcon, bring me the duck and the half bottle of wine. I kick back and relax. Dinner arrives. I eat it and drink all of my wine. It was goooood. Then again after what I had been through a cold can of Spaghetti Oís and a hot dog may have been satisfying. Time to hit the sack. Itís a little hot though. I go to work the thermostat. I nearly fell down laughing. IT WAS BROKEN!


My flight was due to leave at 11:00. I wanted to get to the airport early to deal with any delays. After all my ticket had been switched numerous times. I hobble to the Delta desk with crutches and my heavy bag about 8. The young guy behind the counter starts to work on my ticket. He picks up the phone and talks on it for awhile. I am not very comfortable standing on the one leg. He tells me to go sit down. He indicates waaaaaay at the other end of the ticketing desk..

Fifteen minutes go by. He is still talking. I hobble back over fearing the worst. 5 minutes later he prints out my boarding pass. He has changed my flight. I am now on the 9:00 flight direct to Atlanta then the 3:00 to St. Louis. Huh? You mean I donít have to make the changes and I get home 7 hours earlier? Yes. Think I could get an upgrade? No.

Thatís cool, couldnít hurt to ask. I had a doctors note and everything.

Another nice young lady of who I have no pictures arrives with a wheel chair to take me to the gate. She weighed all of 90 pounds and had to wheel me about a mile to the gate. It was nice because I didnít have to wait in any of the lines.

Onto the plane into my seat and I can tell right now this is going to hurt. Nobody in the middle seat so I can stretch my leg somewhat but it is still not the best. When we get to altitude I head back to the galley. The attendants give me the once over and ask about my limp. I tell them my story. No, not this whole wretched epic but the Cliff Note version. To my astonishment they know about the race. They take pity on me and let me stay in the galley area to stretch out. I thought it was nice they gave me extra cocktails to go with my pain killers. They gave me extra Ice Cream too.

I finally arrive back in St. Louis. Bugwife is very happy to have me home. Itís good to be here.

I will have one last installment to let you know how my leg turns out and the surprising turn of events that leads Bugwife to an interesting proposal and ultimately to a VERY interesting agreement.

This will knock your socks off.
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Proof that Dakar riders are not normal people
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2013, 06:21:49 pm »
It has taken 7 days, 1 helicopter ride, 3 plane rides, 4 ambulance rides, 2 continents, 3 countries, 3 hospitals, 2 x rays, and 1 CT scan to get me here. I didnít even get any frequent flyer miles.

Bugwife is very relieved to have me home. She wasnít sleeping that well during the race. After the crash she hardly slept at all. She was working on getting me help and a way out of there. With the time difference it meant we were talking at all times during the night. It would have been much harder to keep my attitude without her on the phone to give me advice and tell me what was happening medically.

We get home and she makes it a point that I am not leaving her for 3 weeks again. I have gone off gallivanting across Africa and she has been somewhat of a basket case. She looks at my films and has already scheduled an appointment with the sports doc. I am not allowed to go by myself. Why not? She doesnít trust me. Why donít you trust me? I know you. Youíll spin this that everything is just fine and I wonít believe you. Whaaat? I would neverÖÖÖ.

She takes me to the doctor.

He does all sorts of tests, pokes, and probes. The hip has been set just fine. The problem with this injury is that when the ball leaves the socket it tears everything. Yes, everything, tendons, ligaments and all the blood vessels that feed blood to the bone. If the blood flow isnít returned it leads to AVN or vascular necrosis. This is when the bone literally begins to die. Gee doc, that doesnít sound so good. It isnít. If that happens I will be up for a nice piece of titanium. The good news is that if set within 24 hours you have a better chance of recovery. Mine was set in about 6.

What are the odds of AVN? There isnít a lot of data but it seems that AVN happens about 25% of the time. No way to tell and no way to do anything about it. We have to wait a month then do an MRI to see how the blood flow and soft tissues are doing. I do that this coming week. Even if there isnít sufficient blood flow all we can do is watch and wait.

What can I do and not do? Iím not allowed back in the gym till the MRI is done. Otherwise it is really just a matter of my pain tolerance. I was hurting last weekend after the motorcycle show. My back still hurts but is recovering. I can now lay on my stomach and left side but still not my right. Thatís weird because the left side is the hurt side.

What about the bike? It is confirmed in Paris and I received an email form James Embro the other day that the freight forwarder is getting everything arranged. It will be back in a month or so.

Right after I got home I wasnít going to be allowed out of the country ever again without Bugwife. I regaled her with my stories and how cool the race was up to that certain point.

We talk about it for a week or so. She then proceeded to let me know that she wanted to do this race and felt a quad would be just fine for her. What the??? Actually she wants to do it on a bike but has limitations. Bugwife is a great rider. She has a tricked out TTR punched out to a 150 with YZ 80 forks on it that she races in harescrambles, a 650 GS and her favorite, a 600 Ninja that has some very nice carbon bits on it.

The problem is Bugwife is 5í and 100 lbs of skinny ultra marathoner. She can run like the Energizer Bunny, holds several course records for 50 and 100 mile races and is training for the Leadwoman prize this summer. This means she must finish the following races all starting in Leadville Colorado and over 10,000í. A marathon, 50 mile mountain bike race, 10k foot race, 100 mile mountain bike race and finally the Leadville Trail 100. A 100 mile foot race which she finished two years ago. You thought I was crazy?

I point out that while she certainly has the mental capacity to do the race I really donít think she has the strength or experience to get through some of this stuff. She gives me a look. Yeah, that one.

She is surfing the web looking at quads and bikes. All the while bitching that short people are being discriminated against and she isnít happy about it. I am staying the hell out of the way.

I am recovering and my mind is already working on how to get back and finish this thing. She says it is her turn and I am not leaving her like that again. I keep my mouth shut. Iím still not 100% and there is a chance she could kick my ass if Iím not careful.

We talk for a week or so. I suggest maybe she go as an observer in the bivouac like several people did this year. She can really get a feel for what this whole thing is about. It is really bigger, more daunting and more hectic than I can explain. This way she can decide if she really wants to try it.

Sheíll think about it.

It now appears we have a tentative agreement. I can go back and finish this thing. WoooooooHoooooooo!!!! There are a just few things that must be done on my end. She has to go and be in the bivouac. If she then decides to try it herself I must support her.

With her in Bivouac I can do anything. She was responsible for my training and nutrition this year. I was in great shape and by following her advice on the day to day care and feeding of my body was having no problems during the race.

Can you believe that?? Sheís the best!!!!

Now hereís where it stands at this point. The sponsors from last year are pretty happy. However, I was still the biggest sponsor of them all. I probably canít do that again this year.

I propose a deal to you my readers. For my part I will write a full story of this years Dakar. This I will do regardless because of the great response and kind words from so many of you. I will write a story of the Baja 500 which I am trying to arrange to do with my team as a thank you. Most of all I will write a complete story of the preparation and experiences of the 2008 addition if indeed we can make it happen

I will get back to running, going to the gym at 5 in the morning and doing all the nasty training that nobody bothers to tell you about.

If you have enjoyed the story and feel the urge to be a part of this then go to the heartland-dakar.com website. If you want to make a 10 dollar donation in the swag section of the website then that would be more than great. Iíll put each persons name on the bike so you are part of the race.

I hope you have enjoyed the story and will write these stories for you no matter what. To my complete amazement and disbelief over 30,000 people have read this post. I am floored and have received literally a hundred emails. The truth of the matter is Iím just a guy who fell down in the desert. I had no idea so many people would be interested. I will officially make it the ďADVrider Team DakarĒ, ďFace Plant does DakarĒ or whatever you guys want if I have Baldyís blessing.

Meanwhile I will get to writing the rest of the story and provide you guys with links to all of our pictures so you can download them if you would like.

Thatís all for now. I am going to finish healing up. If youíll give me a week or so Iíll start on the race from our arrival in Lisbon to the fateful day. It has triumph and heartbreak. But then again that seems to be the way of the Dakar.

Thanks for listening.

Tim Hall
Just the Rider
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Proof that Dakar riders are not normal people
« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2013, 06:35:14 pm »
Photo of Tim Hall, using his bike to hide his big brass ones.
2008 was the year that Dakar was cancelled, so he never got back there.
He did write up the story of his ride, the bit before the crash.


http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=209947
 

Offline Cracker

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Re: Proof that Dakar riders are not normal people
« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2013, 06:57:17 pm »
Tx, SteveD, was a great read.
Don't let fear hold you back ..... take it with you!
 

Offline Fuzzy Muzzy

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Re: Proof that Dakar riders are not normal people
« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2013, 07:46:54 pm »
Great Stroy, thanks for sharing  :thumleft:
Africa trip, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania & Moz rr http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=61231.0
 

Offline bmad

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Re: Proof that Dakar riders are not normal people
« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2013, 08:13:55 pm »
I remember this story :eek7:

Still marked as one of my favorites :thumleft:
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Offline trevorwb

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Re: Proof that Dakar riders are not normal people
« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2013, 09:08:59 pm »
Thanks Steve ,an excellent read.