It was a beautiful sunny morning in September when Greg and Keith decided to go for a little ride to the Bonnet Carre Spillway. The Spillway is the closest area to us in New Orleans where you can go off-roading. It is about a 40 minute ride and Greg says there are good gravel and dirt roads to play on (I have yet to go myself). They left around 8am and were only planning on be out there for half a day. Around 10:30am I get a call from Greg who said he took a spill and hurt his leg. Let me back up and say that Greg and Keith love to cry wolf. The last time they were out for ride, Keith called to say that Greg’s bike went over on a rickety bridge and that it was badly damaged. They both kept this going for a good 5 minutes with me asking questions and them silently having a giggle. There have been a number of other such instances where one or both call to tell me something to see if they can get a rise out of me, but rarely does it work as I’ve become immune to their scheming.
So it wasn’t surprising at all when Greg called me to say that he hurt his leg really badly and that they were waiting for the ambulance. Greg sounded perfectly calm and I just assumed he again was playing with me. It took him a good 10 minutes of convincing me that it wasn’t one of his gags and that he was in serious pain. He even said our safe words that we use when we want to show one another that we aren’t joking and I was getting mad at him for spoiling their meaning! I kept asking to speak with Keith so I could hear his version of the story but Keith was busy trying to direct the ambulance to their location on the levee. Finally Greg put him on the line and he described what happened.
It turns out that there was a huge mud puddle in the middle of a grassy area. Greg was riding with Keith along with another of our BMW motorcycle friends, Henry and Keith’s friend Kevin who rode his Ural. Kevin made it through the mud puddle, no problem. The guys were all filming with their GoPros and of course, Greg had to take a crack at it. He stands up on his pegs and enters the puddle. He only makes it a few feet – and it was the absolute slowest water crossing ever – until the he goes down on his right side in the mud. He realized at once that he had broken his leg. Greg thought it was bad but didn’t believe that he needed an ambulance. He asked the guys to help him into the sidecar of Kevin’s Ural to be driven to the hospital. They made it onto the tarmac but Greg had had enough of the jostling and vibration. They lifted him onto the grass and Keith called the ambulance. Then Greg called me while Keith went back for his bike. Fortunately, Greg was able to get his boot and riding pants off or they would have cut them off at the emergency department.
The ambulance took him to about 25 miles to Ochsner hospital in Jefferson and I met him there. He was in very good spirits considering his situation and was being a real trooper and joking with the hospital staff. Even the paramedic mentioned how easy he was. They brought him into an exam room and then the waiting began. First they gave him more pain meds and then they sent him for x-rays. The orthopedic surgeon came in to discuss the x-rays and said Greg had sustained a break in his left tibia and fibula.
Greg's faces of pain
Because Greg was wearing his heavy duty off-road boots (Sidi Adventure boots) during the fall the boots kept his leg in place but caused a twisting break in his tibia commonly seen in skiers and rollerbladers. They told him that they wanted to perform surgery to insert a titanium rod down the tibia and place two screws at the top and bottom. Since it was a Sunday, they suggested we wait until Monday when the ‘A team’ would be on duty. The prognosis was 4 weeks until Greg could put full weight on the leg but 6 to 8 months until he could return to impact activities. At least it was just his leg because it could have been a lot worse. But with all the riding we do, it was inevitable that something would happen eventually. I was just very happy it wasn’t a spinal injury or something that would permanently affect his quality of life.
Luckily, everything went fine with the surgery and after another two days in the hospital he was discharged. They didn’t put a cast on, just some bandages at the incision points. Greg was on crutches and couldn’t put any weight on it. I stayed with him for a couple of days and made sure he could handle moving around without me. After the first month, Greg started physiotherapy and worked his ass off. By the beginning of December he was given the go ahead to start riding again but only on pavement. Since January, Greg has been riding to work and is doing fantastic! While he can’t run or jump yet, he is doing as much as his leg will allow and he’s even returned to boxing. I’m so proud of him for all the work he put into his recovery and for bouncing back so well. So now our thoughts run to Mardi Gras in February and when we’re planning for our next moto trip!