Kim's Big Bike Prang
March 1st, 1971

I was knocked off a friend's Honda 90 by someone on a step-through.
I was out of action for over a year, the other person was in hospital overnight for observation.
I am still good mates with the guy who owned the bike I was riding.

I came round a corner near Wollongong University, NSW, when another bike took me out. The front mudguard of the other bike sliced through my shoe and up my right foot, then the wheel hit my lower leg and pushed it under the fuel tank, my upper leg was prevented from following it by the fuel tank so the ligaments inside and around my knee were torn away. I was knocked from the bike and my face smashed into the six inch diameter support post of a large road sign on the footpath.

The photos which follow were taken by the doctor who put me back together.

The Injuries

This is something of the head injuries. The skin was not broken, the sign post was nice and smooth, but the bones inside were smashed and my face pushed in about an inch with fractures across my skull. The chubby look is because of the swelling. After a long time in intensive care they decided that I was going to live after all and they started to put me together again.

As they didn't know what I really looked like they needed photos. Friends could only find a work ID photo, and another photo that was in the local paper when I took a gorgeous blonde to a footy club dance. The photographer wanted the blonde in the paper, I was part of the package. Trouble is, I was smiling too much for the doctor to use it, so he went with the ID shot from work. The doctor reckoned I didn't look real enough next to the pretty girl with such a huge grin on my face.

The Treatment

This is what they did to me. It was called a Cranio-Maxillar Suspension with Trans Buccal Wiring. This means they suspended my maxillar area (front of face) from my cranium (skull) with wires going through my buccal area (cheeks). Inside my mouth are cast metal splints glued to top and bottom teeth to hold my jaws in place. The top jaw cast has a horizontal rod coming off it to the outside through my lips. The plaster skull-cap holds the anchor rods in place with wires to the top jaw splint and the vertical rod bolted to the horizontal rod. They could tighten up the wires and alter the bolt and my top jaw would move around to the correct place. The splints had hooks on them so they could put rubber bands on and hold my top and bottom jaw together, the bottom would then assist in holding the smashed top jaw in line. When I moved my lower jaw up and down you could see the fracture across my forehead opening and closing.

Inside my nasal and sinus cavities were several metres of bandage. They stuffed this inside to keep the bones in place once they moved them into their proper position. I had a rubber tube out each nostril to breathe, and each tube had a safety pin through it so I wouldn't suck it into my lungs at night. I had this set-up on my head for several months. I still remember going to some friend's one afternoon, me in this head thing and with a leg in plaster and on crutches. Around the corner came a little boy, about 6 or 8 years old, skipping along the path. He suddenly saw me, took one horrified look, yelled in terror, and turned around and ran home. I wonder if he will ever read this.

These photos come from a time when the swelling had gone down but there is still some bruising around my eyes. You can see where one wire slowly cut through my cheek until it was in the right position. Sitting there while they took out what seemed like about seventeen miles of bandage from my sino-nasal cavities was something I don't like to consider ever happening again.

The Results

These were taken when the framework had been removed. My face is back to normal, or what would be normal from here on. One eye is slightly sunken into its socket. This was the result of the cheek wire on that side not being tight enough to lift the cheek-bone up enough and not enough bandage to support it from inside. The doctor was going to get me into hospital again for some plastic surgery and build it up level with the other one. I had yet to spend more time in surgery for my damaged knee and I'd really had enough surgery by then and didn't go ahead with the cheek rebuild. Years later and now my optometrist complains that my uneven eye sockets make it difficult to get reading glasses positioned corrrectly into the frames.

The Aftermath

Pretty normal things followed, like I lost my sense of smell for a year or more, and the damaged knee causes some trouble now and then. And out of sympathy with my Mum, who sat in the hospital with the worry of everything when I was bombed out on narcotics, I didn't renew my AutoCycleUnion motorbike racing licence.

And, yes, I've had other motor bikes since then. The current bike is a Suzuki GS1000G.

That's about all. Safe riding, Folks.

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