Alive Day - Date of Injury
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Alive Day - Date of Injury
I was a 20 year federal agent when I had my motorcycle accident and became an amputee on February 7th, 2015. I love to customize Harley Davidsons and collect bikes. My buddy and I were working on a bike to put in the SEMA Show. I was on my way to his shop to finish it when I got cut off by a diesel truck with spiked lugnuts, which is what took off my leg. My body made contact with the wheel while he was turning. My whole left body was at the front of the cabin where the wheel was, and the lugnuts grinded into my leg.
When I woke up, I was on the ground and I was still moving because I felt my helmet rubbing against the pavement. After I stopped moving, I tried to get up and put my foot on the ground, but I couldn’t. I looked down and my leg was loosely hanging. I inspected where I was cut and realized I was really close to my femoral artery, with only minutes to live. My federal agent training kicked in and I decided to apply a tourniquet to myself.
So an individual came running up wanting to know how they could help. I’m on the ground looking up at him, and I see he has cargo shorts with a canvas belt. I asked him to give me his belt and began applying pressure. I asked him if this grossed him out, which he replied no. So I had him grab the belt in a fist and turn it to give me the torque for the rest of the tourniquet. I told him to keep his hand there because it was saving my life while we waited for paramedics.
He was confused on how I knew what to do so quickly. After I told him I was a federal agent, he began telling me that he hasn’t always been on the right side of the law. So I said, “I don’t care, let’s start the conversation over; I’m a firefighter!”
The best part was when I called 911 and said, “We have a TC (traffic complaint), motorcycle vs a diesel truck, male, etc.” and I was describing myself. “Just to let you know, the lower left appendage has been removed from the body so he needs EMS immediately.” I looked up and saw the freeway on the traffic so I told them to not go down the freeway but to a different exit to reach me as fast as possible.
The 911 operator asks,
“Who was in the accident?”
“Who was the one with the lower left missing appendage?”
“Who was in the accident?”
“I don’t have a lot of time to explain things to you. I was in an accident. My lower left appendage has been removed. I’m bleeding out. I’ve applied a tourniquet. I’m a federal agent.”
So the EMS gets there, they begin working on me, and I think I’m good. They put me in an ambulance. The paramedic looks at me and asks,
“Hey, I know this is a dumb question, but do you want anything for the pain?”
“On a scale of 1-10, how is your pain level?”
“How are you so calm?
“I know that if I’m not calm, my adrenaline is pumping, and so is my blood out of my body. My blood is my oxygen, so if I lose too much blood, my ticket gets punched. And I know that, so I’m trying to remain as calm as possible.”
“Are you allergic to anything?”
“Yes, red diesel trucks with white trailers.”
“Are you kidding me right now?”
“No, I’m not kidding you. Don’t work on me like I’m dying. I have a 7 year old son, about to turn 8, and I’m not done making him a man. So, I’m not going to die, I’m going to raise my son. I’m not done.”
The same night of my accident, they took me into surgery to reattach my leg. I woke up in the middle of the surgery. That was the worst pain I had ever felt in my life. In that one moment, I felt like I couldn't live like this. In my mind I said, God if you want to take me, please take me now because I can’t do this. When I woke up from the surgery, I said just kidding God, I wanted to see if you were listening!
After they reattached my leg, my body went septic. My kidney shutdown and I went into dialysis. The doctors told my family that the only way I’m going to live is if I have my leg amputated. The doctors came to ask for my permission but I couldn’t talk because I had tubes in my mouth. They said to squeeze their hand if they could amputate my leg and I just kept squeezing and didn’t stop in order to give my authorization.
I spent February through June in the hospital minus 3 weeks. In addition to losing my leg, I had a total of 11 surgeries. I didn’t watch TV or look outside because it reminded me of a world I couldn’t participate in. When I did take a glance outside, it pissed me off. I shouldn’t be here in the hospital, I didn’t sign up for this. Knowing that my world was never going to be the same again, I was afraid. I didn’t know what life as an amputee would be like. I had no experience or met anyone that was an amputee. I had nothing I could relate to.
I was so angry in the hospital and it was not anything like who I am cause I love to joke around and have fun. People would come visit me and I would pretend to be asleep cause I didn’t want to talk to them.
I went 6 weeks without seeing the outdoors when I was in the hospital until they brought me to the garden in a wheelchair. It was one of the most surreal experiences I had because it was so out of body. I couldn’t understand why I was in a wheelchair, why I couldn't get up or couldn’t walk. Before my accident, I was the type of person where I’ll get up and move the world if I have to, and to not be able to do that, was extremely sad.
Like anything negative, my attitude has always been, there are no problems in life, only solutions. I’ve preached this to people for the longest time, now I get to be the example, not just talk about it. That’s my mentality but it was a tough climb because I had never planned this, it was never supposed to happen.
After becoming an amputee from the motorcycle accident, I was medically retired from my job. I loved what I did, protecting people, ever since I was a kid. I was able to follow my dreams and not work a day in my life because of it.
I didn’t know what to do after I was forced to retire because I had plans to retire on my own at age 47, then maybe train, lift and all these romantic notions of what it was going to be like. And then my accident happened; three months of sitting at home, I was losing my mind and became depressed because I was so used to moving everyday.
I spent the entire 2015 rehabilitating, and didn’t receive my prosthetic leg until December of that year. I relearned how to walk, to stand, and how to do basic things all over again. In 2016, I began physical therapy. My nephew approached me and said that he wanted to train me. I told him that my lifting days are over and that training was only for young people. But I started working out with him, because I hated staying home. Then, I fell in love with fitness.
I began thinking what am I gonna do now, as an amputee. My nephew said let’s get a gym together and asked if I could help run it. So I accepted because what’s the big deal, I can help, as a hands off, supervisor position. As time went on, being in the gym everyday, it helped a lot, whether you want to or not. You can sit there and say, oh, there goes another gym, or you can be a part of what they are doing, because you like it. That’s what got me into lifting. I did it, but wasn’t dedicated to the point where I am now.
I compete as a bodybuilder. There are some people that say that it’s such an amazing feat that I’m there as an amputee, just the fact that I’m there.
That’s cool, but fuck that. I’m not there to say that I did it; I’m there to compete, I’m there to take the prize. Not only that I did it, but I was the best one up there. There is no fucking excuse, just because I only have one leg. I’m not going to be in a different category, I’m there to compete like everybody else.
As cliche as it is, never give up. Because once you give up, that’s it, it’s done. Have the attitude that you will not lose, no matter what you do, even if it's getting up and taking a shower.
You can be angry, for whatever reason, but holding on to resentment is like taking poison and expecting the other person to get sick and die, but that doesn't happen because it kills you. I got to a point where I was angry because of the way the diesel truck driver reacted, he didn’t even offer to help. Then I thought one day to give him grace, he may not have known what to do, maybe he was afraid. If I were to meet him today, my old self would have socked him, but now I would shake his hand and thank him. Not because he did me a favor, but because my life would not be what it is right now if it wasn’t for that encounter with him.
And I love my life. Not only do I get to help myself, but now I get to help others.
What it represents! A brand by us, for us.
Anything and everything Jay-Z.
Surviving my accident and thriving in life!
Lift weights and go to the gym.
Too many to list, but the 2 tacos for $.99 at Jack in the Box.
I invite any and all amputees and adaptive individuals who want to learn how to lift weights to come to my gym and train with me. I also volunteer as a peer to peer counselor for the adaptive community.