Sep 09 2009

Harley injury, long and drawn out!

Published by fitterguy73 at 9:44 pm under Uncategorized

Well, after stumbling through the registration process I finally got registered with this site.  Just like most of you, I find it extremely comforting to be able to read and respond with other’s who have unwillingly joined the ATR club.  As of today, Sept 9, 09 I am 7 weeks, 3 days post injury and 7 weeks 1 day post surgery.  Here’s my brief story.

My injury happened on Sunday July 19th, 2009.  I had bought a new Harley-Davidson Night train in May of this year and was loving every minute on it.  I had previously owned and only ridden sport bikes so this was my first Harley.  I figured since I’m not a kid anymore and would rather feel comfortable on long rides than have a hunched back and sore hands, it was time to move on to the pinnacle of bikes.  I had also been having problems with my old sport bike with leaking gas and oil.  With that I finally got my dream bike.  At the time of my injury I had the Harley a couple of months and had some really nice rides on it.  So here’s the jist of what happened when I tore my ATR.

It was a nice Sunday in July.  I live in Northern Illinois and up to that point we weren’t having the best summer.  So riding was hit and miss.  I was working a job that was an hour away with heavy interstate driving so up to that point I had only rode the Harley once to work.  When you get a new Harley, you are suppose to get a 1000 mile check to change fluids and check bolts.  If you don’t get this done you take a chance to void your warranty.  I had just got that check done earlier in the week.  I was excited that I was able to run with the wind now with no worries.  The day of the injury, my kids were at a birthday party at a friend’s house down the street.  Obviously, with 2 younger children it’s hard to find time to be able to ride with my incredible Wife so this was a perfect excuse.  We enjoyed a short ride around our close area, since we only had a little over an hour to be away.  With the next day being a Monday and no worries about adding too many miles to the Harley, I had planned to start riding to work.  Espcecially with the weather looking like it was going to give us a break in the rain.  Well, since I’ve always tried to be responsible and take care of tasks when I could, I better fill up the Harley on the way back home.   I filled up the gas tank and we went to our friends house to pick up the kids.  Like I said we only live a block away from our friends house so I figured we’d ride there.  I’d ride home and the wife and kids would walk.  Since the kids had a great time and we were just heading home, I figured my Son (who’s 8) could just jump on the back and ride home with me.  He has loved the short rides we had taken already.  While backing the Harley out of my friends driveway I noticed on the ground I was leaving a trail of gas!  I could smell it no problem and I immediatly got worried/upset.  I figured I would ride it home the one block and check it out in the driveway.  We pulled into the driveway and I noticed now there was gas coming out of the fill cap on my gas tank.  I was freaking/pissed!!  I had just retired my old motorcycle for leaking gas and oil.  Now you’re telling me my new motorcycle that’s barely 2 months old is doing the same thing.  To make matters worse my motorcycle has a special paint job so I was even more worried about the gas on the tank ruining my paint.  I remember telling my Son to get off and run inside and get a towel so I could get the gas off of the tank.  With a million things happening so fast I went to get off of the Harley.  Some how, my kick stand didn’t fully engage.  With me off to the side of the bike I could tell it was going down.  I was still holding it so I just planted as hard as I could to stop the 685 lb bike from falling!  I had never dropped or crashed a motorcycle in my life.  I wasn’t going to let my new baby be the first.  I had actually stopped the momentum of the bike when BOOOMM!  I felt that explosion that I’m sure every one of us in the club has felt.  With my left achilles just exploded now the bike was coming down again.  I eased it down as best as I could and kind of pulled myself out.  I immediately felt that dead/limp feeling in my ankle and knew I was screwed.  I made sure my Son was ok and he wasn’t even close when it happened.  Of course, my next feeling was that I was so pissed my new bike was laying down.  My wife and daughter were now running up the block since they saw the whole thing happen, along with a couple of other neighbors who had seen it as well.  The neighbors and myself got the bike back up and stood up again.  I thanked them, they left and I limped off.  I tried passing it off and eventually, my wife convinced me to go to the ER.  The ER doc was pretty sure it was ruptured but gave me the ortho doc’s number and told me to call in the morning.  I did and they got me in right away.

As far as my injury went I wasn’t having any pain, swelling or bruising.  The Ortho doc wasn’t even sure it was ruptured when I responded well to the early field tests.  Then she rolled me on my stomach and did the tell tale test, she squeezed my calf muscles.  Of course, there was no response on my left leg.  Then she started probing and was pointing out to my wife how there was no tendon there.  Her probing was the worst pain I have had with this injury and I’m 7 weeks post op as of now.  Due to the good condition of my leg and no swelling she could get me in the next day for surgery.  Due to the fact I work construction and I’m young and active, she said surgery was the only way to go and I agreed.  She also advised me that since I worked construction, on uneven ground and on ladders that the EARLIEST time to possibly get back to work was 4-6 Months.  I sort of freaked, but we’ll leave that for a different time.

The surgery the next day went without a hitch.  I think it took 2 hours and I had a spinal for anesthesia.  She confirmed that it was a total ATR and not even a strand of the tendon was intact.  Everything went well and the surgery was a success.  She scheduled me to come back to her office in 2 weeks.

Two weeks later I was back to her office to get my soft splint removed and I was put into a fiberglass cast for the next 4 weeks.  That was the worst part of the injury so far for me.  No pain and I couldn’t do anything for my own recovery.  I was just laid up with having to keep my leg up.  I suffered through it and after 4 weeks I went back.

After 6 weeks post op and 4 weeks after getting the fiberglass cast put on she removed it and put me into the Cam walker boot.  I had 3 haphad wedges on my heel and I was to start 25% PWB and call to start PT.  I called them and the next day was my first PT session.  My first PT session wasn’t very eventfull.  My PT just taught me my home exercises and pretty much sent me on my way.  They figured a 2x a week PT session would be enough.  My home exercise schedule was to do the ROM that she taught me 3X a day.  With wanting to get back to work as soon as possible I asked if I could do it more, as long as I wasn’t feeling any pain.  She said NO.  3X a day was enough and if I pushed it too much I would be giving up some strength later down the road.  Obviously, I don’t want to ruin things and go backwards in my healing so I listened. 

I’m feeling pretty good walking in my boot with the crutches and I’m sure I’m putting more than 25% PWB on it already with no pain.  I’ve had 3 PT sessions and as of now, I have been in the cam walker boot for a week and a half.  My ROM seems to be that it’s almost back to normal but I can tell it’s not quite there.  I can also tell I have a TON of work to build up my leg muscles again on my injury side.  They have since given me some leg lifts to add to my home exercises to do with the other ROM exercises.

WOW, this ended up WAY longer than I thought it would.  I will try to keep everyone updated on what’s happening with me.  My next Ortho appt is on Monday and I hope I can get to 50-75% WB at that time and hopefully ditch these crutches shortly afterwards.  I will let everyone know.  Most of all, I’m still hoping there may be a ride or two in my future on that Harley, before the cold Northern Illinois winter sets in.  If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask.  I hope everyone is healing well and getting back to normal with their lives.


5 Responses to “Harley injury, long and drawn out!”

  1. Dylanon 09 Sep 2009 at 11:33 pm

    You forgot to tell us, how was your bike, hope you didn’t scratch the paint?

  2. anniehon 10 Sep 2009 at 2:43 am

    Hi Ryan,

    Does not matter how long the story is, but I bet you feel better for putting it in writing.

    Good luck keep posting on the blog and, if necessary, ask for help. You will love this site.


  3. 2ndtimeron 10 Sep 2009 at 6:57 am

    Thank you for the story. I hope you feel better after venting your frustration. Sure you must be terribly disappointed. I trust you will have lots of wonderful rides on your Harley, if not this year but next for sure. Maybe you could put up a photo for us, wonder what the special paint looks like?

  4. fitterguy73on 10 Sep 2009 at 7:15 am

    Thanks everyone! I really appreciate the resonses. I guess I forgot to say how the bike was. The bike actually made it through the ordeal REALLY well. It’s an all black bike with the paint being black denim. It’s basically a black matte finish, but it’s really hard to maintain without it becoming shiny. That’s what drew me to this model. Most Harleys are all shiny with chrome. This model isn’t. It goes for the blacked out look. The only damage was a small scratch on the left mirror, easily fixable. A small scratch on the left rear turn signal, barely noticable. Then there were a couple small scratches on the bottom of the primary cover and on the derby cover. Those, along with the mirror scratch I’m hoping I can “cover up” with maybe a marker for now. If not, the only thing I would really need to change is the derby cover and that’s only $40. Oh yea, the shifter peg was a little bent. During my state of high adrenaline right after the injury I got some channel locks and already fixed that. Overall, not too bad at all. Thanks for asking.

  5. feedmeon 12 Sep 2009 at 5:14 pm

    Thanks for your comments…

    those harleys are bloody heavy! hope you gte some rides before winter… maybe get a matt black cane? :)


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