I was in a horrific car accident one night in the summer of 2011 on the island of Guam. I was not drinking. When you’re a double amputee that refuses to wear pants you will get asked how you lost your legs on a weekly basis. And usually the follow up question after I tell them it was a car accident is, “Were you drinking?” Luckily for me, I was an avid runner and was on my way to train for my 2nd half-marathon. That sounds a lot cooler and elicits more sympathy from people.
Irony. My life is almost the definition of it. In addition to training for a half-marathon I used to run a weekly “hash run” through the jungles of Guam, each run different. These runs would take you running through rivers, climbing up cliffs, outrunning boonie bees, and sometimes swimming across bays. They were a good way to see parts of the island that you normally wouldn’t see. There were many historic and cultural spots that you’d also see, if you weren’t trying to be at the front of the pack. Those runs were fun for me. As a short guy I was very nimble–I used to joke that I was like a monkey. I can remember one time, the trail took us to the edge of a cliff and there were only three ways to get down–go around on either side, attempt to climb down the face of the cliff, or climb down an old, rickety tree that fell years ago. I took the tree, of course. That should give you a small insight into my personality. More on my running later, let’s get back to how I lost my legs.
The car I had crashed in was a 1993 240 SX. I had bought it three months prior with the intent of fixing it up. My brother and I were into cars. Especially Japanese cars. This particular car was popular for drifting. Drifting is where you take the car into a “controlled” slide basically. I had the idea that I wanted to get into drifting. This car needed a lot of work, though. The priority was just to replace everything that needed replacing. It had been sitting in the hot, humid weather of Guam for the past 10 years and needed a lot of work. A lot.
I actually don’t remember the accident. I don’t remember the week before it either. All I know is one day I woke up in a hospital in a foreign country asking my parents what happened. More on that later. Imagine, though, waking up and not knowing where you are. You recognize your parents and some relatives. And you have no legs. That was a very surreal time for me.