Recovering from a bad motorcycle accident, have a few questions about mental health and other things

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I decided to post here, hoping to find people that can relate to where I am and what I'm going through. I really feel like I need some support during my recovery process.

Anyways, I was in a bad motorcycle accident, and have a right femur fracture, left tibial plateau fracture, and 2 lower spine fractures. I had a plate and screws put in my right hip to fix the femur fracture. The doctors originally missed the tibial plateau fracture and had me walking on it, so 3 weeks after my femur surgery, they finally fixed my knee with more plates and screws. Now I am non weight bearing on both legs for 12 weeks and have to wear a back brace whenever I'm sitting up.

So now I'm on the long road to recovery. I've never had problems with depression or anxiety, but lately it's been very hard to remain positive and not feel completely hopeless. I go through mood swings throughout the day and it's been very difficult. I feel like I'm not gaining any progress from my exercises with physical therapy, my knee still has terrible pain and nothing seems to be getting better... The doctors say I'm young and should recover fully. I'm 29, so not really THAT young, but I'm hoping I can recover and not lose too much mobility...

How long does recovering from something like this take? After 12 weeks are up, I'm not even sure how long it's going to take to start walking again. Will it be years before I'm back to normal? Will I be able to run and swim again? I think it's just scary to me because I have no idea if I can ever move normally again or if in the future I'll have problems with my knee and hip...


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  • Posted

    Hi, that does sound like a bad accident.

    When I was in hospital waiting for my surgery on my right ankle I was also told that I am young so should heal within months and be fine, I am 10 years older than you, so clearly it is relative to perhaps other patients they see!

    I am afraid my accident wasn't like yours so can't really imagine how long the recovery will be but you are young and should hopefully be absolutely fine. I broke my ankle in 2 places and had a break further up the leg whilst trying to dodge a tree I was pulling down.

    Also I have always suffered with anxiety and depression to varying levels during events such as divorce although when I got discharged from hospital and was at home I gradually when downhill further and further. I would have days where the pain would mean that I just stared at the ceiling for nearly all of the day and then the following day I would be in tears over anything. I lost over 2 stone as didn't want to eat as I had to move to eat and that resulted in more pain than I had most of the time. Sleeping was difficult because of the pain and not being able to get a good position for any length of time.

    I can now admit to reaching what I feel was just a few levels above rock bottom. I spent some of my lowest moments researching euthanasia in Switzerland and the costs and requirements and only managed to get through it due to my amazingly patient wife but I really was lower than I had ever been. The feeling of utter hopelessness and being such a hindrance of everyone around me. When I wasn't sad I was angry and frustrated.

    In the end I went to the doctors and got a mild dose of anti-depressants and they took enough of the edge off so that I could function. By then I had spent the 8 weeks since surgery in bed and only moving for the toilet. I then found it difficult to get out of the bedroom when I felt better I was really anxious to even go downstairs.

    That was over a month ago now and I am having physio which comes with its frustrations and pain but I can see it is for the right reasons and I am battling through and can now walk around without a crutch and in normal shoes.

    From what I have read and heard everyone's situation is so very different along with the differences in each of us it is difficult to say how long the recovery will take and how it will be but they do say the younger you are the better you recover.

    I was told not to search the internet for information on recovery due to the quantity of differences but I definitely found this forum useful and very supportive which made a difference. You find people at different levels of recovery having experienced different situations which I found helped me!

    I wish you all the best for your recovery and try and stay positive. I am unsure about saying that as people said it to me all the time but if your struggling it is easier said than done. My fear now was whether my depression might have slowed my recovery, but I will never know and I am so so so much better than I was and can at least get around and do more. I am not 100% there but I am getting more movement as time goes on and building up the strength.

    Well I hope I haven't rambled on for too long now!

    All the best and I really hope you feel better and better each day.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for the reply and for telling your story! I am glad you are doing better. I can't wait until I can see some improvements in myself. I'm about 5 weeks healed on my right leg and 2 weeks healed on my left leg. It'll be awhile before I walk again. I definitely know the feeling of that anxiety and depression you were describing. I have ups and downs throughout the day. Whenever I first wake up, I feel sore and hopeless and can't stop thinking about the accident and I feel like I'll never get better. Then I get motivated and start exercising and feel like I can conquer this. Then I get sore and unable to move and get depressed again. It definitely is a rollercoaster of emotions. I also have anxiety whenever I'm on the freeway and see cars braking. It's hard going from being so active everyday with work and everything to laying in bed all day.

      I'm glad you have a supportive wife. Having people supporting you and being there for you definitely helps. I think that's why I've been reading through this forum, it's nice to be able to find people that I can relate to so I know I'm not alone. Good luck with everything!

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  • Posted

    Hi Bk I'm hoping you are in a country that can offer you a good post op Physio regime, if so then you will already have started following this and it will be quite intense, firstly you do not say how long since you knee op and also you don't say what process they used on your spine.

    It will probably be a while before you can walk unaided but your doctor is correct, you are young at 29 and I'm sure with a positive attitude you will be back doing everything you were physically able to do before your op, maybe a with little more care as your recovery will as you say be filled with a bunch of feelings like anxiety and bouts of depression that will come and go, who wouldn't have this response to a major accident and everything it holds for you.

    Have you asked for a time scale from your GP/surgeon/physiotherapist do you have a good support group around you ie family and friends.

    Are you I'm UK if so I can offer further advice regarding financial support you can access.

    I do understand how it's effecting you as I also had an accident that cause a bad result that has left me needing to use crutches on a daily basis

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    • Posted

      Hello, sorry I forgot to include the date. I'm about 5 weeks healed on my right leg and 2 weeks on my left leg. After 12 weeks I should be able to start bearing some weight but it will still be awhile after that before any actual walking I assume.

      I live in the US and have a physical therapist come out twice a week. I think it's just difficult to see such slow progress. I can do the small exercises I'm shown for a week and barely feel any difference. I have ups and downs throughout the day but I guess that's normal. Night time is the hardest because I just lay here and I can picture the accident so clearly in my head. I think it's just something I'll have to work on, but it does make sleeping difficult.

      Thank you for your reply, it's good to find other people to relate to that have been through similar situations.

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    • Posted

      Hi again, isn't it hard to just have to do nothing especially when it's enforced due to something as traumatic as a major accident.

      Your at very early days but it will pass and you will look back and wonder where the time went, you have to also realize is that you have had major surgery and this can have a high impact on your emotional state and after an accident that was obviously quite horrific then you are possibly suffering with PTSD as well, Im sure that once your brain starts to be able to rationalize the outcome you will get over that as well.

      Keep the exercise regime up and increase it as and when your Physio says you can and you will be able to get about more which will make you feel better.

      NWB is horrible but please don't try to rush it or you will put your recovery right back

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  • Posted

    Hi bk2025,  I have read your post over and over and have wanted to reply but don't know just what to say that would help.  I had one tiny bone brake in my foot and was NWB for 4 weeks and thought I couldn't handle it.  You have had much more thrown at you and are trying to not to feel hopeless.  I applaud you.  You are in a completely new and foreign situation that was not at your choosing.  You are experiencing both physical and emotional issues that are different than anything in your past.  That is very scary and everyone would feel vulnerable.  I hope that you have a support group of relatives and friends that you can rely upon.  Based on my limited experience you will, in time, recover fully and be able to do everything that you have in the past.  I did and I was in my late 60's.  I will tell you that everything takes longer than we want it to take and we really have to work the physical therapy.  You can do some upper body strength training now because you will need it when you get back to walking.  Yes you will get sore at first but that just means your muscles are working.  You could also try breathing exercises and meditation because you want to keep your mind busy until you can do more physically.  I understand having some fear when you see brake lights.  Driving has always been one of my anxiety flash points that I have been trying to overcome.  Please keep up the work that you have been doing to stay physically and mentally healthy during these trying times.  Anticipate some disappointment and/or setbacks but know that in time you will be back to normal again and mentally stronger for what you have had to go through to heal.  Please keep us all up to date on what is happening in your life because we care.  Dev's Mom 

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