A Slight Hiccough

OK, maybe not that slight then: the police and the press referred to my SMIDSY* crash injuries as being “life-changing” and the Sprint GT is unlikely to see the late of day again, sadly.

Dead Sprint GT

So what happened?

Well on Sunday 7th July 2019, I had tickets to go to the Goodwood Festival of Speed and despite it raining hard when I woke up, as I had a ticket for a mate (whose partner had bought her own one) I decided to go anyway.  The day was OK and brightened up a bit later and we decided to head home around 4.00pm. As we were on bikes – my Sprint and Yox’s R1200GSA – we knew we could filter past all the cars trying to leave at the same time. I needed petrol so added a petrol stop 10 miles down my route home and off we went.  I wasn’t in a rush as Alison was due to go out with a friend for meal and to see “Magic Mike XXL Live” and the roads although mainly dry still had some damp spots under the trees.

And that’s when it all went wrong: as I was filtering past some traffic next to The Badgers at Petworth on the A285, a young guy in a Toyota Yaris decided to either turn into the hidden pub entrance without signalling or waiting for me to pass.  I had no chance of stopping in time to avoid the collision, so down I went – clearly I’d not been going fast or I’d have flown over the bonnet/roof rather than (as it transpired) landing on the bonnet of his car before sliding off the front and being run over by the same car!  Twice! According to the police, the pub’s CCTV has the whole crash on video; I really want to see it to understand how I ended up getting run over (I even had tyre marks on my stomach).

So yes, the injuries are serious.  Two doctors driving along stopped and immediately called the Air Ambulance to come and get me (which is when I came to, just as they were loading me into it to fly me to Brighton.

At Brighton, they assessed my injuries and decided they couldn’t deal with them all there and I needed to be transferred to a dedicated trauma hospital, St George’s at Tooting. What they did first was try to stabilise my hand injuries: the crash had “de-gloved” my left hand ring finger and little finger, stripping off the skin and flesh around the bones whilst still inside my gloves. They also had to cut off my wedding ring which was a tad painful…

So a late night ‘blues and twos’ ambulance transfer it was to St George’s.

The following day I had 12 hours of surgery on my hand to try to rebuild the fingers including grafts of flesh, tendons and veins from my forearm.

A week of treatment with leeches followed to try to encourage the fingers to ‘take’ but sadly it was not to be so on the 15th July whilst finally having surgery to pin my broken pelvis, they amputated my ring finger and the top of my little finger and to pin my left hand.

In the meantime, I’d also had my jaw pinned and plated as it had been broken in three places.  They’d also put a load of orthodontic metalwork in to line the teeth up again.

After a week in intensive care drugged up to my eyeballs on morphine, I was released onto a ward where I started receiving physiotherapy to get me up onto a frame, then crutches for me to try climbing stairs on one leg (the other being non-weight bearing as that’s the badly broken side of the pelvis).

On Friday 2nd August, I was allowed to go home as I’d mastered (ish) stairs and I’m now going backwards and forwards to St George’s for ongoing checks, X-rays and procedures and hoping to start physiotherapy next week whilst still trying to do a little bit of work when I can.

I still can’t walk, I may still have to have my little finger amputated and i may need to have my jaw re-broken and plated to line it up properly. Nice…

According to my discharge summary, my injuries are as follows:

  • bilateral mandible fractures
  • displaced right thyroid cartilage (fractured larynx)
  • comminuted fracture of right inferior and superior pubic rami (pelvis)
  • left sacral fracture with left extension and resultant diasthasis
  • C6 & C7 spinous process (neck/spine)
  • left L4 & L5 transverse process fractures (lower back/spine)
  • left little finger broken and partial amputation
  • left ring finger broken and largely amputated
  • left hand fourth and fifth metacarpals broken

In addition to this, I have BPPV that will need to be sorted – my temple was badly bruised as it was under my right ear.

Anyway, here are some cool X-rays and 3D scans that show my now-displaced jaw and the metalwork in my pelvis that may need to be removed:

So now I have to recuperate as much as I can – I can’t grow new fingers – and I need to buy new bike gear to replace all my stuff that was either trashed or cut off me.

The Sprint looks too badly damaged to be economically repaired so it looks like I’ll be buying a Tiger 1200 next year after all.

* SMIDSY:  “Sorry Mate, I Didn’t See You” often spoken after a car driver who didn’t look knocks a motorcyclist off their motorcycle.