Is My Leg There
Updated: Nov 1, 2022
My friend Adam Fagnant and I were both latchkey kids. We had parents who loved us but they had a lot going on in their own lives, giving us a lot of freedom. In fact, Adam and I started to hang out during my freshman year. He had his own apartment with his brother Steve who had recently graduated high school. His dad was living somewhere else nearby. The amount of drinking that took place my freshman year at his apartment was ungodly. As I mentioned, I had a fake ID and partied a lot in high school. Each year I partied hard but a little less than the year before, which was a good thing. Towards the end of our senior year, Adam Fagnant and I went to Vegas to visit family and attend a wedding. I was his plus one. His uncle lived away from the strip, and we were staying with him for the weekend. They had open desert all around them and a bunch of three-wheeled ATVs. A bad combination for fearless eighteen-year-olds. We took them out for a spin, just wearing our shorts. We had a blast cruising around the desert landscape surrounding the house. We were jamming down this one dry bed that, when it rains, water goes through it, and started to race each other.
There were these long deep grooves made by the water. They weren’t a big deal until my left back tire was in one. It wasn’t a problem at first. Adam was on my left, and we were neck and neck, going as fast as we could. I noticed that the groove gradually was going left. I was getting closer to Adam but didn’t think much of it until I was coming right on him. I turned the handlebars a little to the right, and nothing happened. I wasn’t pulling to the right. I was still going in the direction of the groove, like I was on a track, right into Adam. I started screaming for Adam to turn, but he was a little ahead of me by this time and couldn’t see or hear me. I panicked and did the thing you are never supposed to do on a three-wheeler: I stuck my left leg down to change my direction. I really don’t know why I did it. I put my leg down, and it all happened so fast. My leg got sucked up in the back left tire. It sucked me off the seat hard left. I pulled the handlebars and I instantly flipped three times with my left leg still stuck in the wheel well. The engine was not shutting off. A few seconds later, the three-wheeler and I came to a stop. A cloud of dust was in the air. I was in a daze, on my back with my body all twisted up, and my left leg still stuck. The engine and throttle were stuck, and the tire was grinding on my leg. I was screaming, and from my position, I couldn’t see my leg.
Adam didn’t notice I had crashed for a while and he had to turn around. He finally got to me.
He was screaming, “Oh my God, oh my God! Are you, okay?!”
I screamed, “Is my leg still there?” Pain started shooting through my leg. He couldn’t hear me.
He finally turned the engine off, and the tire stopped.
I was yelling as if the engine was still on, “Is my leg still there? Is my leg still there?”
He says, “Oh my God, Oh my God. Yes, I think so.”
He started to untwist the three-wheeler so we could get access to my leg. My body moved with the bike, so I realized that it was still attached. We finally got my leg out, but I was scared to look.
“How bad is it Adam, just tell me?”
He said, “It doesn’t look that bad.”
I finally looked at it, my leg was intact, but the skin on the outside of my left leg from the foot to my knee had been rubbed off by the tire. Road rash. Blood started to come through the dirt and the black pieces of tire on my leg.
I stood up in total pain but excited my leg was at least still intact. We started laughing because I was OK for the most part, with no major injuries besides the skin ripped off my left leg. I had scrapes and cuts all over my body. I was lucky to be alive as I didn’t have a helmet on. My ATV was not working. We walked it back to the house. Everyone at the house was concerned. They wanted to take me to the hospital. I said, “Just let me take a bath; do you have any peroxide?” All they had was rubbing alcohol. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I just knew it was going to hurt. I soaked the leg and cleaned the area as best as I could. It was the entire side of my left leg, from the knee to the foot. I didn’t want it to get infected, so I drained the tub and braced for the rubbing alcohol. I just decided to pour it on directly to get it all over the large area. I was standing in the shower, resting my left leg on the edge of the tub. I started to pour it all over, and two seconds later, I screamed, like a baby, “Holy shit, that burns worse than the accident!” It was so painful, it felt like I was going to pass out. I fell in the tub. Adam ran up with his family, trying to see what the hell was going on, I was naked, so I told them to stay out. After ten minutes I did another round of pouring. I can’t even explain to you how much it hurt. It was so freaking bad. It was such a large area it was hard to wrap.
We drove home the next day. My leg was killing me, with puss and blood constantly soaking through any type of bandage or wrap. I went to bed that night and woke up with chills and fever in a lot of pain, and my leg was swollen.
My mom took me to a walk-in clinic. The wound was infected. They gave me an antibiotic pill and spray to put on the massive road rash.
It took forever to heal. It was the largest freaking scab you have ever seen. The scab would itch and crack and break all the time. I would accidentally bump it and tear some off. People would point in horror at the grocery store if I didn’t have it covered. About a month in, I was stupidly playing basketball. Of course, I got the side of a shoe down the whole side of the leg, ripping off the entire scab. It was hanging off my leg, connected only at the bottom of my leg. I thought the guy who did it to me was going to pass out. I wanted to fix the dressing and still play, but my friends were too grossed to have me out there. I think it took three months before it completely healed. I would scratch the outside of the scab with delight and relief as it got smaller and smaller. I still have a scar to this day. The moral of this story is to wear a helmet and a shirt when you’re on a recreational vehicle. Also, please, for the love of God, don’t put your leg down to gain control or put rubbing alcohol on a massive open wound.
It’s a miracle I survived my youth: one night, I was riding down the 405 Freeway drunk, standing up in the back of my friend’s pickup truck, surfing the bed of the truck until one of us would fall. We never fell out of the truck thank God, well maybe onetime, that's another story for another time.
Someone was truly looking out for me. It's amazing the lifelines that God put out for me throughout my life, sometimes I would be asking for them, other times I would not realize until later that it was God. Often I would take those lifelines, make promises to Him and then let go of the lifeline when things got better and continue to live for myself. I was 20 when I finally surrendered my life completely to the Lord, when I decided to stop living for myself and start living for Him. I describe that experience in Chapter 6 of my book, The Guide. What has to happen in your life before God get's your full attention?
The bible says: In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:6 NASB
That's exactly what I did, and my life was forever changed in the best possible way. It has not been easy but God is faithful. So what are you waiting for?
*For more crazy stories about my life please read The Guide: Survival, Warfighting, Peacemaking.