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The calendar may say that I'm 58 years old, but today is my 25th birthday...

Discussion in 'GENERAL DISCUSSION' started by PSP, May 26, 2010.

  1. PSP

    PSP Ruler of Western Civilization's Geeky Nerds

    May 26, 1985 my other birthday.I went for what was supposed to be a 30 minute plane ride with my best friend, a guy who I had grown up with, best man at our wedding, etc. to give my wife and his wife enough time to set up his surprise birthday party - and we never came back.We both had our private pilot licenses, but I had recently sold my airplane because I wasn't getting enough flying time to feel comfortable due to my work schedule. Rick was a paramedic with the LA City Fire Dept, so his schedule allowed him lots of free time to fly - and he did. We both flew only for fun, so if there were any weather issues - a chance of fog, rain, wind...whatever - we just wouldn't go.Some things get a little fuzzy from the day of the crash - I remember bits and pieces, but have no recollection of many of the details.This particular afternoon was clear and calm. I helped Rick wash his plane (a Globe Swift 2 seat high performance training plane built in the 50s), then we climbed in and taxied out for takeoff from Camarillo Airport. We took off and headed east toward the hills near Moorpark the next thing I remember is lying on the ground in incredible pain.Apparently we were flying over a canyon just north of Moorpark when a part that controls the aileron in one wing broke loose, making the plane start to roll to the right. Turning the wheel to the left to stop the roll caused the plane to lose altitude very quickly. Since we were only a few hundred feet over the sides of the canyon, we ended up hitting the canyon wall hard with the bottom of the airplane at approximately 135 knots or about 150 mph. The plane bounced back up like a flat rock skipping on water. The second skip was a much harder impact on the nose below the prop, but it skipped back in the air before slamming straight into the opposite side of the canyon.In the Globe Swift, the occupants sit side by side with your legs under the instrument panel. Since the initial impact was on the bottom of the plane, it was like we were dropped from a height of about 50 I had 2 vertebrae that essentially exploded from the compression. At this point, the plane was starting to break apart. I had on a 4 point seat belt, but all 4 hold down positions failed. On the next hit on the nose, I was ejected through the aluminum top of the fuselage with the remains of the seat belts still draped over me. My left leg somehow made it out from under the instrument panel - unfortunately my right leg got caught. My right knee was bent backward (hyperextended) so that it ripped all 4 ligaments and the patellar tendon. I apparently landed feet first about 150 from the 2nd impact still going quite quickly. Hitting the ground broke both of my legs and caused a compound fracture (bones sticking out through the skin) of my right ankle. I tumbled end over end for another 250 or so before landing in a ravine further down the canyon.Rick wasnt quite as lucky his seat belts kept him in the plane and he suffered massive deceleration injuries when the plane slammed into the other side of the canyon. The doctors did everything they could, but he had too many internal injuries and died several hours later.Fortunately, we had an Emergency Locator Transmitter onboard. In case of a crash, this transmitter sends out a signal on the emergency frequency to let rescuers find you. Our signal was picked up by a Soviet satellite which triggered their notification system. The Russians notified the Pentagon who notified Ventura County Sheriff Search and Rescue they sent out their helicopters to medivac us out. The only problem was that it was starting to get dark and the Search and Rescue people couldnt find us. The wreckage of the plane was partially hidden from view unless you were right on top of it. They didnt find us until 2 ½ hours later.Needless to say, we were both in very bad shape. They had to extract Rick from the wreckage and get me far enough back up the canyon wall to safely get us all into the helicopter. Even though I dont remember any part of it, they later said that I gave them names, addresses, contact phone numbers I wouldnt shut up [​IMG] I was a real mess when they got me to the hospital. On top of the injuries I have described, there was massive internal bleeding and several vital organs that were damaged. I was having trouble breathing, so they did a tracheotomy. The pieces of the crush vertebrae had torn my liver, spleen, and bile ducts. They rushed me into surgery and got the bleeding stopped, but they had a real tough time trying to get the bile ducts to stop leaking into my abdomen. I had drains coming out of everywhere and they still hadnt dealt with my back or legs. They reset my left leg, but were still debating what to do with my right leg since I not only had bone damage, but massive soft tissue damage. They considered amputating but decided to try to patch it back together and see where it was after everything else had a chance to heal but they were sure that it wasnt going to be useable either way. They ended up doing a full reconstruction on my knee and ankle.I was extremely lucky with my back. While I had nerve damage to both legs, I wasnt paralyzed although I probably should have been from tumbling, etc for 400 at the crash site. There were 3 operations to clean up the bone fragments, insert 12 titanium rods to stabilize the area, and fuse the damaged vertebrae to the nearest ones.In all, I had 7 operations in the first 2 weeks and with all of the drugs, dont remember most of it (which is probably a good thing). I ended up spending 6 weeks in intensive care, then got transferred to a regular room where I spent almost 3 months. I went home with a wheelchair, massive back brace, and marginally functional legs.The nerve damage in my legs was very strange. I had full feeling everywhere and limited motion below the knees, neither of my thighs would move at all which made walking pretty much impossible. I used the TENS machine to electrically stimulate the muscles in my legs and did physical therapy a couple of times a week. After about 6 months, I started getting little twinges in my right thigh a few weeks later, they started in my left leg. Within the next 6 months, I had pretty much complete use of my right thigh, and all but 2 of the 4 quadriceps muscles in my left thigh. This allowed me to drive again and learn how to walk. Like I said before, its not pretty, but I can get around. I have to lock my left knee on every step so I have kind of a Frankenstein gait. When I forget to lock my knee, I end up on my ass which is more embarrassing than painful.After all was said and done, the message I came away with was to never give up. There are very few things that I cant do I have found ways to adapt the things that I CAN do in ways to accomplish tasks that I cant do directly. There are plenty of days when I feel sorry for myself because I will never run or jump or play sports or stuff like that again. There are plenty of days when my knee really hurts or my ankle is sore or my back hurts just sitting at my desk. Ive had a couple of injuries that can be directly attributed to my previous injuries (broken elbow on one of my missed knee locks, and falling off of our 2 story roof when my left leg collapsed, but thats another story) Im looking at a full knee replacement within the next 5-10 years, but all in all its not that bad.Holy Crap! I did not expect this to end up as long as it is sorry about that. Probably much more than you wanted to know. Please join me in celebrating my Re-Birth Day!
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2014
    Sookie likes this.
  2. sweetg

    sweetg WELL KNOWN MEMBER

    That is quite the story....and you obviously survived for a reason!....I would like this time to wish you a, HAPPY BIRTHDAY PSP!!! [​IMG]   Treasure each day like it's your last and make the most of it!Cheers!!  [​IMG]   [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2014
  3. catadams

    catadams WELL KNOWN MEMBER

    wow!  that is alot for person to go thru,sorry to hear but happy that ya made it thru!!!  HAPPY RE-BIRTHDAY TOO YOU!!!
  4. MommyMachine

    MommyMachine A Mommy Machine

    I am so happy you made it through that, wow that is quite a story..I am really sorry to hear about your friend though..."
    "
    I just wanted to say "
    "
    "
    Happy Birthday to you!"
    "
    Hope it is filled with lots of goodies, and fun.
  5. SPADEAHOLIC

    SPADEAHOLIC Thinks Too Much

    Reading all that and at the end and no offence honest but all I could think of is that joke of the dog with 2 legs and one eye. Do they call you Lucky too? LmaoHappy Birthday bro Keep the faith
  6. Mben

    Mben No Deposit Forum Admin Staff Member

    Wow PSP! Truly amazing story and I am glad you are here to tell us about it. It makes any bad day I may be having a walk in the park compared to what you have gone through. HAPPY RE-BIRTHDAY TO YOU MY FRIEND! [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2014
  7. Sookie

    Sookie Mother of Cats

    That is a horrifically amazing story !!( and im not even going to ask what you were EVER doing on your roof  in your condition [​IMG])I am so sorry for the loss of your friend - but so happy you're still here, and have now found your way to us. It blows me away how seemingly UNdamaged you are from all that damage.I absolutely would have never guessed.Thank you so much for sharing your story, and I would be very pleased to join you in celebrating your Re-Birth Day !!! And since I have heard you say many times that you are ... older than dirt I thought this would be the perfect  piture with which to wish you a very ... Happy Re-Birth Day !!! [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2014
  8. crazysider69

    crazysider69 WELL KNOWN MEMBER

    HAPPY REBIRTHDAY"
    didnt mind it was long very good story glad you made it
  9. PSP

    PSP Ruler of Western Civilization's Geeky Nerds

    Duh! Fixing the roof....  [​IMG]No, seriously - I was up fixing the roof. I've been a general contractor for nearly 30 years. I still have a construction company and a communications company, but now I pretty much stay off of the roof.Not working has never been an option for me - I've just had to adapt what I can do into what I have to do_Oh, and BTW... [​IMG]Anybody have a license for that bonfire?  [​IMG] 
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2014
  10. sashasmom

    sashasmom WELL KNOWN MEMBER

    happy rebirthday PSP I am glad you made it and really amazed at your outlook on life may the future hold wonderfull things for you
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2014
  11. queenmap

    queenmap WELL KNOWN MEMBER

    Happy Birthday PSP!!
  12. msfilly

    msfilly WELL KNOWN MEMBER

    Happy Birthday PSP
  13. crazyashell

    crazyashell CRAZY ROLLER

    psp happy birthday
  14. Felicie

    Felicie WELL KNOWN MEMBER

    Wow that is truly an amazing story. you're like the cat with 9 lives. I'm from that area too btw and took flying lessons out of the Santa Paula and Oxnard Airports years ago before you were born lol making your experience even more amazing. I'm a day late so I hope you had a wonderful rebirthday yesterday and many many more to come.p.s. when I was young, dirt was still clean! [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2014
  15. PSP

    PSP Ruler of Western Civilization's Geeky Nerds

    Felicie, I'm assuming that you are talking about my re-birthday.  [​IMG]I actually bought my C-150 before I had my ticket - started in 1981. I spent way too much time at Oxnard Airport in the 70's. A friend of mine had an aircraft repair facility that they built on the north side of the runway and hired me to help them pour the taxiway to the runway. Even though I was young and fit, I discovered very quickly that I did not have a bright future in the concrete pouring business [​IMG]Our most exciting day happened late in the job. I can't remember which carrier it was, but somebody had scheduled airliner service into Oxnard with Fokker F-27 aircraft - a high wing twin engine prop aircraft. The day we were pouring the last slab right next to the runway, one of the F-27s was informed by the tower that we were working on the north side of the runway. The pilot misunderstood and landed on the north side of the runway. The wingtip went directly over us and missed the concrete truck that we had out there by maybe a foot. We all had to go back and change our underwear after that [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2014
  16. PSP

    PSP Ruler of Western Civilization's Geeky Nerds

    Update: Put another candle on my re-birthday cake - I'm another year old today!Here are the local firemen putting out the inferno that was my cake[​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2014
  17. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Happy Re-birthday, man!!! [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2014
  18. omeg

    omeg NEW MEMBER

    What a wonderful day to celebrate LIFE Im so glad your here with us PSP. [​IMG] Happy Happy Re-Birthday .                                                                                          Pam
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2014
  19. queenmap

    queenmap WELL KNOWN MEMBER

    Happy Birthday PSP..hope you have a good one!
  20. Mben

    Mben No Deposit Forum Admin Staff Member

    Happy RE-Birth, PSP! I baked you a cake for this special occasion!   [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2014
  21. PSP

    PSP Ruler of Western Civilization's Geeky Nerds

    Make that 29...(just like Jack Benny :thumb:)Now I've REALLY dated myself....
  22. Mben

    Mben No Deposit Forum Admin Staff Member

    [​IMG] HAPPY RE-BIRTHDAY, PSP!
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2014
  23. Sookie

    Sookie Mother of Cats

    HAPPY RE BIRTHDAY PSP! [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2014
  24. Jewels

    Jewels WELL KNOWN MEMBER

    [​IMG]What an amazing story you shared PSP!  I just realized you originally posted this in 2010.  I can't imagine going through what you did but your detailed account of events really made it hit home.  You are one tough dude and as you have already figured out you are meant to be here!  It sounds like you have accomplished so much since your terrible accident, actually a lot more than most people do in their lifetime!  I'm sorry you lost your dear friend and that his wife lost her husband.  I just wanted to take a moment to give you the respect you deserve by saying Happy Birthday!  You've came a long way!  Thanks for sharing!
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2014
  25. PSP

    PSP Ruler of Western Civilization's Geeky Nerds

    Just ANOTHER update - I am now 30!
    :surprise:

    [​IMG]
    queenmap and Sookie like this.
  26. PSP

    PSP Ruler of Western Civilization's Geeky Nerds

    Ooops - duplicate
  27. Sookie

    Sookie Mother of Cats

    HAPPY REBIRTHDAY PSP!

    [​IMG]
  28. queenmap

    queenmap WELL KNOWN MEMBER

    Happy Birthday to everyone who is celebrating today!
    Sookie likes this.
  29. Mben

    Mben No Deposit Forum Admin Staff Member

    patrick.png

    So I didn't make that card. It was just there. Fitting? Yes!

    Not that you're a dog BUT you are Patrick and it is your RE-BIRTHDAY!

    Happy Re-Birthday, Pat!
    PMM and Sookie like this.
  30. PSP

    PSP Ruler of Western Civilization's Geeky Nerds

    [​IMG]

    Make that 31....

    :thumb:
    Mben likes this.

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