From Kenneth’s perspective
I am lucky to be alive.
After hearing everything that Pia went through from when we were picked up in the helicopter I realized how lucky I actually am.
From my perspective, while everything was going on it didn’t feel that serious.
I have had several minor crashes on my motorcycle since I started riding 5 years ago. All of them hurt like hell, but just initially. The bike usually got a few scratches or a bent mirror or lever but that's it.
This crash felt different.
At first, I didn’t understand what had happened. I just remembered Pia yelling OHH SHiT!!! then I saw her falling over and in a split second I thought I have to stop, but I was on uneven ground so I accelerated to get out of it so I could stop my bike.
But instead of stopping I just kept falling and I remember in slow motion what happened.
I was standing up, so my legs took the brunt of the first impact towards the dirt edge and sprung me up in the air.
The bike veered to the right and I remember a huge rock coming towards me, or rather I came towards it.
I felt a sharp pain in my abdomen and opened my eyes to find myself sitting in a river. That river came out of nowhere. I was so disorientated.
Then I heard Pia talking very rationally. “the dead man switches are turned on, we have to get our things out of the water. Here are our sleeping bags.”
At first, I wanted to laugh but when I tried it just hurt too much. I tried to draw my breath but I couldn’t. Then Pia noticed me and started to ask if I was OK.
I couldn’t really draw breath to answer properly. I asked her to take a look at my stomach but it looked fine. She just figured I had gotten the wind knocked out of me at first.
She kept telling me to get out of the water so I wouldn’t get cold but I was struggling. When I managed to sit down on the edge of the water I felt something running inside my stomach.
I told Pia and she immediately called 113 (the Norwegian 911), but her phone died.
She had to use mine, and I helped her find the GPS coordinates. We then just had to sit and wait for the chopper to come. My stomach was getting worse and worse and it was harder and harder to draw breath.
All of a sudden two ATVs showed up out of nowhere. Turned out to be the Reindeer police. (Who knew they existed?)
They kept talking to me and asking me questions and Pia kept telling them to not do that since I had to concede energy. They would not listen. Eventually they gave me a warm bag to sit inside but they kept pushing and patting me and it hurt so much.
Then a Sea King helicopter came and I managed to get on one of the ATVs to get into the chopper.
They gave me some medication that I was supposed to breathe in but was really struggling. Very quickly after that I fell asleep and woke up when we landed at the airport in Hammerfest and were picked up by an ambulance.
From here my memory is very vague.
Pia has helped me fill in some of the gaps, but from my own memory, I only remember bits and pieces.
I remember being put in the ambulance, but I don´t remember the ride to Hammerfest hospital.
The next thing I remember was laying on a table and people saying they were going to cut my favorite hoodie open and I refused. I yelled out “NO PLEASE! I CAN MANAGE TO TAKE IT OFF, PLEASE DON´T CUT IT” but they didn´t listen to me and I felt so angry and sad.
The next thing I remember was asking for Pia. They said she was laying behind a curtain and was taken good care of.
After that, I remember waking up with a whole bunch of tubes in me and looking down to see my intestines poking out of my stomach.
At this point, I was barely conscious and I passed out again very quickly.
The next thing I remember was seeing Pia´s face looking at me with a smile and a lot of worries. I tried to say something but couldn´t speak. I drive in and out of sleep or consciousness for a while until I was able to be awake long enough to hear what went on around me. I was surrounded by hoses, beeping machines, nurses and doctors.
They noticed I was awake and tried to explain something to me that I didn’t understand. I tried to ask something and they gave me a notepad to write on. I don´t remember what I wanted to say, but I was really struggling to write. At this point I had no idea how much time had passed.
A while later I understood that I had been moved to Tromsø hospital, a much larger one where I had had two surgeries. I still didn´t really understand what all this meant. I drifted in and out of consciousness for probably another day. Some time later I remember I saw Pia´s face again looking at me and saying “We are going to get through this. WE ARE TEAM RIDE THE BEAN”
I smiled and gave a thumbs up. Still none the wiser to what had actually happened. It would be another day or so before I actually started to understand where I was and what I had gone through. I was so full of medication that I didn’t really feel a thing. and I felt really buzzed.
For a while I remember I had been trying to communicate with a notepad but I have no recollection of what I had been trying to say.
Finally a day or two after that I woke up and they had taken one of my breathing tubes out so I could speak. Still don´t remember anything I said, but I remember the faces of the nurses around me.
And Pia was there. It started to dawn on me what had actually happened. They filled me in little by little and in between Pia filled in some gaps.
I had a huge hole in my intestines and they had removed a large part of them. I still did not really grasp the severity of the situation. I just felt angry that I had crashed and was not on my motorbike. Pia spent as much time as she could with me, but had to go to the patient hotel next door to sleep.
The first few nights were the worst nights of my life. I was half awake, half asleep, but in 3 different worlds. When I had my eyes open I saw moving sami drawings on the walls and when I closed them I was in a video game or an epic Hollywood type battle. Every time I fell asleep I was in a new place, but every time I woke up the dots and drawings floated past me. I was hallucinating and felt very nauseous and even threw up a few times. That hurt like hell since I had a huge cut on my belly.
I have never been so scared in my life. And I tried to text Pia to ask her to come be with me. Of course, she couldn´t. But in the morning she was with me. She helped me understand everything that was going on, what the nurses and doctors said and translate it to normal person speak. She kept telling me to blow into this flute so my lunges would not collapse. I hated it, but since it was Pia saying it I just had to do it. I knew she knew best in this situation.
The second night I had a terrible nurse. I kept telling him how scared I was, but he just started arguing with me instead. That night I had even worse nightmares and it felt like he was just shaking his head at me and laughing. My nightmares were worse I threw up several times from the medication he gave me and when the morning came I was exhausted.
When Pia came in that morning I wanted to give up. This was not worth it. I asked her to please just kill me. But she refused. We had talked about this scenario before. And I had told her that If I am in a bad accident, I don´t want you to keep me alive. Please kill me. But of course, she could do that in the hospital.
The next day I got a new nurse called Rita. At first, I was scared of her. She just seemed a bit whimsical to me from the bed.
But while getting report on me from her colleagues she seemed very critical, and Pia noticed that she questioned a decision about putting me in the general ward that day. To make sure that didn’t happen she took on a double shift to make sure I was taken care of. When I complained about my nightmares and the movies in my head she took me to get a CT of my head. She did everything extra to make sure I was safe and OK. She was a person I will remember for the rest of my life. Because of her engagement, I got some motivation and will to live back. It is nurses like Rita who are the real heroes in our society. The next day I managed to stand up for a second, and they decided to move me to the general care where I would not be supervised all day.
I did start to feel better, but I was still in so much pain. Luckily they allowed Pia to stay in the room with me. That lifted my spirit so much. Pia kept nagging on me to blow into my flute and I did it happily because I was happy she was there. I still had nightmares but when I woke up from them or threw up in the night, Pia was there to help me. I was still scared about the nightmares, but having her there helped so much.
PART TWO COMING UP SOON!