I'm Mike, from Canada. Trauma bpi'ed my right hand in August of '98.

It all started as a typical early morning run on my beloved Rd 350 rocket, riding my favourite set of twisty roads. The bike got sideways in an 80 kms turn and spat me down the road. Somehow my throttle hand got caught up with the bike.

All I remember is uh oh, I hit that corner way to hot and this Yamaha thingy is starting its usual wobble. Fling flop, see stars, time gash / Wake up and realise I'm still caught up in the bike. Open eyes, wiggle toes, what's this? Pulled my immediately paralised arm out and realise it's kind of just hanging there? Hmmm, wander down the highway in a daze thinking "wow this must be a really bad fracture or something. How bad could it be, heck I'm walking."

Still all shocked and wandering down the highway some redneck in a pickup truck pulls over and asks me if I need a ride? Yeah take me home. "you look messed up man" Yeah take me home, etc.....Shock is better than morphine, you feel nothing.

Once I get back to my flat I begin to realise this isn't some fracture, my right arm is just hanging there and starting to swell. I can't even get my leathers and gloves off without help from my roommate. She takes pity on me and forces me to go to the hospital.

They say "we think you might have bruised your brachial plexus "come to see this specialist in 3 days???" The first words out of this guy's mouth are blah blah we can treat you but in the end you'll probably want a prosthesis. WHAT?

Fortunately I was referred to the brachial plexus specialist. This guy was good, right off the hat he told me my hand was going to be hard to get return but that my upper arm and elbow had a good chance of useable recovery. We played the waiting game for 3 months to see how much my arm would recover naturally. After several grueling tests we decided the best way to get the upper arm and some hand motion was to reconstruct my brachial plexus.

8 months and lots of painkillers later I started to get some elbow flexion. 4 years on and my arm seems to get stronger every day. It's still not what it was. My hand will clench an object but I can't really hold an object. I've learned lots of little tricks but the reality is I'm one handed for life. My upper arm helps as much as it can.

When you get right down to it, the emotional side and how you see yourself is the hardest part of this injury. I found myself closing in and feeling like a crip at first. I kept thinking about all the things I couldn't do now, like ride a bike or work on cars. I felt so self conscious and closed in.

I think I WOKE UP, when I started meeting others who had been through much worse and come through OK. Some girl on a message board replied to my silly query and I felt I had finally found another bpi'er. What an emotional rush.

My friends have been great part of my recovery, it's like my arm isn't me, it's just my wonky arm to them...It has spurred me on and I feel almost normal again. I slow danced with a pretty girl just last weekend. What more could you ask for? Hell it just feels good to "get up and dance ".

Life is good. It changed a lot since my bpi but it really hasn't changed that much.

Email mikeyb@execulink.com
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