I was on a scooter trip, on my Yamaha Fino 115cc, a cute little retro looking scooter, when i found myself on a pothole-y craggy gravely road; the 1263. Now resurfaced.
I was too confident on my scooter. I had begun to believe I was infallible.
I would often fly past bigger bikes on downhills, bouncing around without a care in the world.
I was very naive.
The combination of a better stretch of road on the 1263, thinking that stretch would continue, aiming to keep up with a faster companion (who is now well-known as one of the fastest riders here), wearing an ill fitting open faced helmet, with little body protection, on a bike with the suspension of a brick.... culminated, and I crashed.
I recall nothing of it.
My riding partner with me said all he saw was a cloud of dust, then me lying on the ground a distance from my bike. My bike was lying on the ground in one direction, i was lying on the ground in another. When he got to me he was met with an unconscious body with a face full of blood. He said to me later that he didn't at first know if i was alive, or even if i had a face left.
Khun Yuam, to the hospital. This was on a road that very few vehicles were using. Then, as my partner was moving my bike off from the road, a pickup truck saw him and stopped to ask about what happened. When he explained the situation, the driver (and the laborer occupants), hauled up my bike and took it back to the hospital at Khun Yuam also. I feel very thankful indeed..and i don't know who to thank.
As the wounds were washed my body convulsed. I felt like I was having an epileptic fit. My head was still swimming and I was still in and out of consciousness. X-rays were taken and i have to say I'm very saddened and regretful that they either took the x-rays incorrectly or read them wrong, because they said nothing was broken, which turned out later to be untrue. The most problematic broken area was my nose..which had to be re-broken and which is still giving me issues...but more on that later. I was bandaged up and told to rest. I declined to stay in the hospital and went to rest in a hotel room instead. I don't recall if i was in the room for one night or two. I remember being helped at one point by my partner to wash the blood out of my hair in the hotel room. Everything hurt.. really hurt. Everything seemed to be in slow motion. I had no idea what the damage was going to be, but all i could do at that time was try to get through the pain.
The next day i went back to have the wounds redressed at the hospital. They sounded positive and said I would have only a small amount of scaring and no issues. They were only partially right.
When I felt a little stronger one or two days later I rode pillion on my partners scooter. That ride seemed to take forever. I felt each and every bump and jolt. The pain was so searing that my vision was swimming. I was worried about passing out and falling off the bike. I concentrated on getting through the trip, and said nothing. I tried to meditate and force the reoccurring step-retracing far from my mind. I kept trying to remember the events leading up to the accident, but i couldn't. I tried to push worrying thoughts of "how damaged will i look now?" far from my mind.
Ob Luang we stopped off at a wooded area. I have fond memories of this area. I feel it offered me some sanctuary and a comfort. It was as if the tall trees were shading me from prying eyes and enveloping me in a caring embrace. I got off the bike and crumbled to the ground to rest for a bit.
My face and tongue were beginning to swell..and the pressure was intense.
I don't recall much after Ob Luang and getting home to Chiang Mai. Maybe i closed my eyes. Maybe i faded out. I don't know. I just don't remember it. When i arrived in Chiang Mai i kept the helmet on whilst I walked to my apartment, to avoid anyone seeing me. I recall at the front door of my apartment that my neighbour called out to me, but i held up my hand in a kind of acknowledged wave before rushing in to the apartment without saying hello. I needed time to adjust and i was just too vulnerable and sad to speak with anyone.
I don't recall much again after that, except numerous hospital visits and lots of smoothies (i had a lacerated and bit-through tongue which had a lot of stitches, so i couldn't eat properly).
It was a rather dark time with a lot of meditation going on to get me through it.
It was during the healing period at home, when the swelling was finally subsiding, that i realised there was something not quite right with my nose and my breathing. Taking a cotton bud I attempted to get it up into my nostrils..and was unable. My septum was smushed...and had begun healing in that smushed way. I took myself back to the hospital in Chiang Mai and asked to have my x-rays re-done. As suspected my nose was broken and my hand was fractured. Both had begun to set.
The doctor said my hand would be ok (advice i now regret because i get a lot of pain with it). He advised that there was no point in causing further trauma to reset it. My nose though, would need to be re-broken. He offered one of two ways; in surgery where they would put me to sleep and i would be required to stay in the hospital, or with Novocaine injections as an outpatient. I choose the Novocaine, and what a horrible idea...
I was scheduled to have my nose re-broken the next day. My nose was injected multiple times (which was insanely painful in itself) with Novocaine. Eventually, after about one hour, the area went numb. My doctor then arrived and taking a set of tools similar to a hammer and chisel, she re-cracked/re-broke my nose in about three sections. Let me tell you, if i had any idea it would hurt that much, i would never have done it. I also have a VERY high pain tolerance level (ie: i am the kind of person that LIKES the feeling of being tattooed, even when i had one on the top of my foot..)
Sadly the procedure was not successful and I ended up with not only the need to have a second general anesthetic operation, but also gained dorsal bumps. I was beginning to lose a little of my faith by that point..
Anyway, the initial damage incurred was as follows:
- Tongue split and lacerated - i dont recall how many stitches but i still have no feeling in the tip of my tongue
- Nerve damage - mainly my tongue
- Nose broken and deviated - Even though the hospital at Khun Yuam said nothing was broken - ongoing issues with my nose..
- Hand fractured - my right hand too. Hospital in Chiang Mai said it would be ok, but its not. |
- Facial scaring - a fair bit of scaring, which i have had various treatments for (see below). I also had my nose bridge completely concave on me, but i resolved that... (again, see below).
- Scar tissue on my hand - nothing i cant handle really, occasionally gets itchy still
When the first surgery for fixing my deviated broken nose didn't work i was scheduled for another surgery, this time via general anesthetic. This required me staying in the hospital. Given that i has spent weeks in hospital just a few months prior to this accident (read about my first accident here), i was filled with dread. I was able to book myself into a private room though, which made things easier. My spirit was breaking at this point if I'm honest. Prior to the operation I had been fairly strong and getting through it. But by this point i becoming weak and miserable.
It turned out that the surgery had helped a little, but it really didn't fix the problem. By that point i decided enough was enough and i will not go through anymore procedures on my nose for now. I decided to let it heal and deal with it later on down the lines. 4 years on and i still need to fix it properly, but I'm just plain scared..
Well, once the stitches were out and i could see the scaring, i wasn't happy really. Initially i was warned against doing too much too soon, so my plan of action was to load up on vitamins and a lot of healthy eating. I also used Bio Oil and would massage the scar tissue gently and regularly to help break up the tissue underneath. I started using silicon gel patches, which I found out ISN'T good for my style of healing. I didn't initially realise. Silicon is good for someone who produces TOO much collagen and prone to keloid scaring. This is not my make-up. I am prone to concave scaring so restricting my collagen was a bad idea. Thankfully I found this out only a few weeks into using the patches.
Down the line, when the scaring had healed for nearly a year, something like that, I began to have dermaroller treatments on my face. I had maybe around 4 treatments. They were painful but i believed helped very much. I also had two laser treatments (the same kind of laser they use on tattoos) to remove the odd blue discolouring from the scar tissue on my forehead (the scaring here was caused by my helmet rather than the ground, so maybe some kind of dye or debris got in). The laser significantly reduced the blue and the second treatment removed it enough for me not to worry about it.
To end, i had one cosmetic treatment. A filler. On my nose (and on the forehead indentation).
The filler was called Juvaderm and was used to fill out my capsized nose bridge and indented forehead scar. I didn't want to have anymore nose surgeries until down the line, so having this treatment meant that i would (hopefully) be more comfortable with my nose until i finally did get the surgery. Conclusion on that? Best decision ever! Right before my eyes my nose (and forehead) improved. The juvaderm took away the concave area and helped reshape my nose back more like how it was. I was over the moon. (Something rather odd about the whole thing though is, the Juvaderm was supposed to last around 2 years max. However, it is now over three years and my nose is still fine. I dont know if somehow my own natural collagen has filled in this area or that the Juvaderm is just lasting really well with me. I'm not complaining though!
So there we are... so far.
I do still need to get my nose fixed (i cannot breath properly), but i am hesitant.
I do however feel quite lucky that it is not as bad as it could have been.
I also feel lucky to be alive.
..and grateful to the people who helped me.
I also finally retraced my steps and something quite interesting happened, which you can read about here
Wish you all safe.
Thanks for reading.