It wasn�t the first time I was in the hospital. I was finally
regaining my senses although somehow I knew where I was and why. The
nurses in ICU had been in every half hour since last nite to take my
blood pressure and I would ramble the same questions at them. They
would smile and go about their work.
It had happened about six times before; the first time at 110 mph
in a gokart at Mosport, Canada. Not completely unconscious but not
able to remember from one minute to the next. �How bad is the car�
"Was it my fault". "How did it start", I would ask over and over
and over. All the disconnected questions satisfied with answers that
were remembered only as long as it took to speak them. It would last
about 12 hours and then my head would begin to clear and the answers
would begin to stick.
|"I remember someone told me the answer to this but it seems like
it was a few weeks ago, but I�m not sure", I would think.
My mind was hyper-active as I began to remember the accident. What a waste. $25.00 for a pit pass and all I could remember was pulling the car off the trailer, I joked to myself.
I could picture the accident in my mind but from an observer�s perspective. A strange combination of what I had been told while half conscious, a measure of the first hand experience and the expected trajectories that a knowledge of physics
would bring. But it was like it happened to someone else. I couldn�t really remember any of it.
As I was finally sorting out the past 12 hours I remembered that I had to be in Ohio to get a motor ready for the mile at Syracuse next week.
"So when can I get out of here", I asked the nurse. She gave
me one of those comforting non answers. I was hooked up to a monitor with electrodes all over and an IV hose in the arm and another hose at my nose.
|I was starting to feel better. It was about 10 am and although I felt drained, I didn�t feel much different than when I had stayed up for two days straight to get an engine ready in time for a friday nite race.
"You�ve got visitors". The nurse opened the door for Duval Dressler and Teresa Strawser to come in. My pit crew and girlfriend had been in the waiting room most of the night.
"Only a few minutes," she said.
"What happened," I said.
"You had us scared. When they brought you into the emergency room your heart stopped and you sh*t the bed. You made a real mess. They had to jump start you and then you did it again five minutes later," explained Duval
This was a surprise to me because I was starting to feel like I wanted to get out of bed and get to work on the car.
I rolled on my side and it made me a bit dizzy.
"What happened to the car?"
"Not much... front axle and a rear bumper."
Now I was confused. They just told me I almost died and that wecould have fixed the car during the red flag.
"Looks like the brake bracket on the left front broke when you got on the brakes going into three and the caliper jambed in against the steering. I guess it locked up the steering and ripped out the brake line."
"Did I flip?"
"Nope, never went over."
Well that explained why there
|was so little damage but why was I in the hospital?
The doctor wanted to know too and they wheeled me down the hall to a room full of equipment. I watched my heart beating on a TV screen as the Sonogram technician made a tape for the
doctor to review. Then X-rays,
blood tests, reflexes; the works.
"Must have been the waack on
the head" the doctor told me. "One more day for observation, then you can go".
I couldn�t have a phone in intensive care but the next day, I was on the phone to Hutter Racing Engines ordering motor parts and trying to reschedule my week.
It was a couple of weeks later when we saw the picture showing the instant the other car tagged the rear bumper. My car pointing at the wall, perpendicular to the impact and my helmet hard against the roll cage.
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