| I had relocated to Austin, Texas in December of 2003, hoping to attract more business. On Christmas morning, I was driving along Mopac Parkway, a major Austin highway. At about 10 AM, I was returning to my apartment. Next thing I knew, I woke up in Brackenridge Hospital a month later. Here's what I found out:
I had collided with a pickup truck at an intersection. One witness at the scene claimed I had been racing another vehicle and then proceeded to run a red light. Since I was not wearing a seatbelt (big mistake), I was ejected from my vehicle upon impact. My car was a Mustang convertible (see photos below), so I was ejected between where the windshield and convertible top meet. I have no idea how far I travelled upon being airborne, but my face and pelvis suffered most of the damage. Witnesses were gathered around me as I lay unconscious in the grassy area in which I landed. My face was turning purple and I was bleeding from my mouth, nose and a deep laceration on the side of my head. I had lost 100 units of blood. The surgeons had to remove my spleen and cut off the blood supply to one of my kidneys, due to exessive bleeding. I had been in a coma for 7 days. While I was in intensive care, I pulled out every tube which was attatched to me, along with my trache- twice. Good thing somebody walked in shortly thereafter- it must have been a bloody mess. When I was still alive more than a week after being admitted, the nurses were surprised I hadn't died. My pelvis was fractured, causing some nerves in my spine to become stretched. This prohibited me from walking. I wasn't fully aware of this until I later tried to get up out of my hospital bed and walk to the bathroom. I suffered a brain injury from the impact of the accident. I had also become aware that I had lost the sight in one eye due to a ruptured optic nerve.
For those of you who were never in a coma, it messes with your mind. It was
like a long dream state where you have no concept of time. The coma erased all memories of the accident. If you're worried about dying in a car crash, don't be; the brain has a way of protecting us in those situations, apparently. Even though I was not consciously aware of much upon waking, my family told me that I would wave at them when they walked into my room. My cousin told me I even tried to bribe him into getting me out of there.
I finally did get out of there a month after being admitted. I was transferred to St. David's Rehab Hospital where I spent the next month undergoing several tests and physical therapy. I was very fortunate that my cousin and his wife already lived in Austin- they stopped by most evenings to talk with me. I think I would've gone crazy otherwise! By the way, it's not as easy as you might think to get a Coke in a rehab hospital.
My legs suffered a good deal of atrophy from a lack of walking. I lost almost 50 pounds in a month and I was put on a liquid feed diet. The nurses tried to get me to eat as much as I could, but you know what they say about hospital food (it's all true). Try gaining back 50 pounds on that.
I was finally discharged on the last day of February and flew home to Delaware. I started physical therapy shortly thereafter. In 6 months, I had graduated from a wheelchair to a walker then finally, a crutch. Initially, the doctors in Austin thought I wouldn't walk unassisted for about 2 years. I had vowed to walk unassisted by the end of the Summer. On the first full day of Autumn, I was able to lift my crutch from the ground as I walked several steps. I missed my deadline by one day- not too shabby. Since then, I've been making smooth progress, attending physical therapy 3 times a week.
One thing I've learned is not to give up hope. I'm a pessimest by nature, but I had enough sense to know that I'd never be able to walk again unless I started thinking positively. I plan to make a full recovery by early next year and make a second pilgrimage to Austin. I'm not sure in what capacity I'll working with guitars, but I will always be involved with music. I've decided to keep this website up presently for the purpose of displaying my guitars. I still have several guitars for sale, not to mention a wheelchair.
One thing has been bothering me since the accident: I can't figure out why I would've been racing another car on Christmas morning in a town which I was barely familiar with. There was no explanation of my racing another vehicle in the police report, at least not enough conclusive evidence to bring charges against me. I also knew that there was a traffic light at that intersection- I would not have ran that light had it been red for more than one second. Oh well, maybe some night in a dream it will all come back to me- along with that traumatizing trip through the air!
I want to thank my family (especially my mother, sister, my cousin, and his wife) for encouraging me during my recuperation, the staff and doctors at Brackenridge, St. David's, and Wilmington Hospitals, all of my customers who have purchased and played my instruments, and everyone who has been praying for me and wishing for my recovery.
I'm sorry this update to the site has been delayed for so long.