'Stepped Off' is a book about my experience I had while on a short motor biking holiday in Scotland with friends, but it turned in to my holiday nightmare.
This was the first time Carol and I had been apart since our wedding in February. The morning of 14th July 2000 was like any other and I was looking forward to the ride home to Leeds. ".. As I walked downstairs, I had a feeling of indestructibility. I was wearing a leather and kevlar one-piece suit with elbow, kidney, and back protectors in place. My confidence was very high."
As it turned out, I didn't leave Scotland for another six weeks. ".. Unfortunately, my memories of this day (and the next several months) are very hazy and I've relied a lot on Carol and other people to fill in the blanks.
That morning, I can just remember sitting down for breakfast and passing some time talking to a couple of other bikers. After pulling out of the hotels car park, I have no recollection of what happened. Blackness from here for several weeks. All I can imagine is that something terrible happened. From what people have told me, and from what the police crash investigators have deduced from the scene of the accident, is that I was going around a left hand bend at speed. I must have lost control of my motorbike and collided with the walls on either side of the road, seven miles out from the hotel. The scene was apparently like the aftermath of a bomb blast. The dry stone walls were down on either side of the road and the grass and mud had been gouged up as I went grass tracking. Several road markers were also taken down and the front wheel of my bike was found about one hundred and fifty yards farther on down the road. My front wheel made it farther around the bend than I did because, as the suspension compressed and then rebound, it shot off the bike like a cannon shell. Again, I can't get across how horrific this must have been for the other riders in our group. (Can't imagine it did me much good either!).
When I arrived at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, Scotland, I was taken straight into the Accident and Emergency Department. I was immediately placed on a ventilator because I wasn't breathing on my own even though my heart was going okay. My lungs had also collapsed so I had two chest drains inserted to keep them inflated. It must have been like a scene from ER ! Once I was safe to move (with drips, catheters, chest drains, and loads of monitors attached) I was taken for a CT scan of my brain to assess the damage, as my helmet was proof that I had suffered a head injury. Although there was no bleeding, my brain had taken a hammering so I was then taken to the Intensive Care Unit ( ICU ). It was all very touch and go as to whether I would live or not."
This is the true story of the highs and the lows Carol and I experienced during my recovery and the ability of two ordinary people to cope with one extraordinary situation.