Monday, August 15, 2005

Broken bones and rallying families!

So I guess by now almost everyone has heard what happened to Brandon a week ago Friday. If you haven't, I am not sure what rock you have been hiding under. So here it is, written out so everyone can read it, and Brandon does not have to tell the story again!! On August 5th, Brandon, Christie, and two of their close friends, Sean Wellnitz and Kyle Snow, all rode their bicycles out to West Seattle for an annual gathering and ride called the "Dead Baby Bicycle Downhill". While everyone in the group was going to ride the downhill, along with the other 500 people present, Brandon decided to ride the Messenger Challenge. This is a multiple point to point, semi-competitive ride with about 20 other cyclists. The Messenger Challenge kicked off shortly after 7pm with all riders heading south. After the Messenger Challenge participants left on their quest, the Downhill started and ended with a party at "the Big Building" at Spokane and East Marginal. Brandon was heading south on 40th Ave Southwest and was fast approaching Southwest Morgan St. with Brian from KNR in tow. Brian called out for Brandon to make sure the intersection was clear. Brandon started slowing his momentum down to look and clear the intersection. Brandon looked left (east) down 40th and saw that it was clear (no cars), but that there was a slight rise in the road. Then Brandon looked right and saw that there was an Explorer a little over a half a block away, plenty of time to scoot through the intersection. While Brandon started to pedal back up to speed (after slowing down to check for traffic) he kept his eyes on what he perceived as the most immediate threat, the Explorer, and not looking back to the left because "It was clear!!". Brandon started through the intersection and when he was just about all the way into the first lane of traffic, looking right, he got hit by a red car (It WAS a red Mazda Miata)!! At this point Brandon remembers most of the details but some things might be fuzzy. The shock and suprize of, "Where did that come from!" hit him first as he was cartwheeling through the air and quickly followed by "DAMN I just got hit!" Brandon is not sure what kind of damage happened to the car. Brandon got hit in his left lower leg sending him into one and a half cartwheels over the vehicle and sending his bike in the opposite direction onto the SW corner sidewalk. Brandon is pretty sure he landed on his feet, it is really the only way to explain the fact that he has no other injuries except some scrapes to his right knee, no damage to his helmet, head, neck or spine. Brandon looks down and sees his left foot out at "a not right angle!!" reaches down with both hands to stablize it, sees that it has broken through the skin, and falls to the ground. Brandon lets out a few loud yells and moans as the injury is immediately painful. Brandon can remember wanting to lie down on his back so the FFs and Medics would not yell at him about his c-spine but everytime he tried to do that his foot would just flop over to the left so he just laid down on his left side. Suprisingly enough Brandon then reached up to his Nextel radio, dialed up his wife Christie and beeped her. Brandon said in a very calm voice; "Christie, I just got hit by a car, I have broken my leg and I am going to the hospital." (You may not believe it, but he was cool as a cucumber when he called. I kept waiting for him to say "I think my leg is broken.", as quoted from the Austin Power's movie.) By this time ,many bystanders and the vehicle drivers have stopped and 911 had been called. Brandon took off his messenger bag and hip pack. Soon the Seattle Fire Dept engine arrived on scene.

8/5/2005 7:36:42 PM F050074651 1

M32 Sw Morgan St / 40th Av Sw Medic Response
8/5/2005 7:36:07 PM F050074651 1

E37 Sw Morgan St / 40th Av Sw Medic Response
Engine 37 and Medic 32 arrived and good old Brandon started to give the FireFighter's his own SAMPLE short report. The FF's asked how I knew all of that info and "why do I think my c-spine is clear?" Brandon told them that he was an EMT and a volunteer FF with King 20 in Skyway, WA. The Medics started a 16g IV on Brandon's right AC (started an IV on his right arm) and pushed Morphine and Valium, WHAT A FEELING!!! They cut off all of Brandon's clothes (which he was not entirely happy about) and were amazed they did not find any other injuries. The FF's then backboarded Brandon and put his leg in a vacuum splint to stabilize it. Brandon does remember once, onscene before the leg was realigned, someone saying that his foot had no pulse. But it was quickly recovered before being splinted. Brandon was put in the Medic rig and a cop came to talk to Brandon. He said that he was not going to find fault and I was one lucky guy and I had enough to worry about with healing up. He was a very nice guy!! By the time Brandon got to the ER at Harborview he was loopy and in good spirits. He went through all the usual at the "Zoo" including CT scan, X-ray, and laying on the backboard for over three hours. The Docs cleared Brandon's c-spine and his body and the ortho docs said that he had a compound (multiple) open (through the skin) Tib-Fib (Tibia and Fibula) fracture. The important part was that they could put his leg back together again. Brandon wanted surgery ASAP! The Docs were very busy that night, but they said they would take me to surgery that night. Christie and Brandon's Mom arrived at the ER at some point and were a huge help to Brandon. Christie was ans still is the most important "solid as a rock" figure during this whole ordeal. She has had help but she has also had to deal with our car getting stolen from the party Friday night and then recovered only to find it in the impound yard after three days, a very energetic 15 month old girl, work five days a week, and helping Brandon in his gimped state. CHRISTIE IS AWESOME! Brandon was taken to the seventh floor (admitted to the hospital) room 711 bed one sometime late in the night. Christie even slept on the floor of the waiting room that night waiting for Brandon to goto surgery!!! Around 5am it was time for surgery. The surgery took about three and a half hours! Boy oh boy! Brandon was sore after his surgery. They had Brandon laying on his right butt check for three and a half hours and somehow his tongue received a huge sore (probably due to the ET tube??) , but his leg pain was relative to the injury and surgery received. The surgeons drilled out Brandon's Tibia and inserted a Stainless Steel rod to hold it together. (I hope to have copies of my before and after x-rays soon!!) Then they opened up the left outer side from Brandon's ankle knob to the bottom of his tattoo to insert the SS plate that they used to put the parts of his Fibula back together again. They packed it full of antibiotics and left it open (unstitched), but covered and splinted the leg. Then Brandon laid in the Hospital and the "Families" came to his and his family's rescue!!! Brandon's dad flew back from Alaska (he was done) on Saturday and his mom, aunt, and uncle all helped to care for him and his wife and daughter. Pretty soon the word started to get out and over the weekend the fire department started to overflow with support. The same on a smaller scale with the messenger family. On Monday morning, Brandon was taken back in to surgery to clean the open wounds, remove the antibiotic capsules and stitch the wounds closed for good if it looked like there was no infection. After about one and a half hours in general surgery, they said all looked great and they would be starting PT (Physical Therapy) on Tuesday. The pain is intense at times but the drugs help! They started PT with a walker on Tuesday and Brandon walked about 10 feet total!! On Wednesday, they had Brandon back up, this time on crutches and he walked all the way around the unit and up and down some mock stairs. On Wednesday, the hospital gave Brandon an ultimatum, either have a ride ready to pick you up at 1:30pm or go wait in the waiting room??!! So, prayerfully Brandon's mom was on the way and one of Brandon's FF buddies , Brett Omri and family, helped to get Brandon out of the "Zoo". One of Brandon's Messenger friends, Bryce Weaver, met them at his apartment to help him down the stairs. Together Brett and Bryce helped his mom get Brandon settled on the couch. Ever since Brandon has been getting better and healing up. Brandon's parents spent the week here helping like crazy and Abigael is handling the whole situation quite well. As is Christie she has been the BEST throughout all of this. Brandon says it is pay back for when Christie broke her foot/leg last fall, but he is only joking around.

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