Tannie Betty Coetzee Crash

(July 2008)

One year ago... I had an accident! As much as people might say, the accident itself is pain – that was the least of my problems...

I was travelling behind a lady doing about 80 clicks an hour. I didn’t overtake her as there was a solid white line and we were approaching a blind corner to the right. When the road straightened out again I checked and there was no other traffic (...or even pedestrians) on that road and she ever so slightly started moving over to the emergency lane. As much as I didn’t think she was aware of me behind her (...she never once made eye contact or even checked her mirrors), I thought, maybe she actually did notice me there and was making way for me to overtake her.

I sped up a little and switched my indicator on. I didn’t cross the white line as there was enough space for me to overtake her in the lane.

By the time I was next to her back wheel, I saw her front wheels turning right!!! Where the hell was she going?!?!?!

I decided not to try and pass her, but grabbed a handful of breaks and swerved left in the hope that she would continue turning right and I could possibly miss her on the left. But... she must have seen my lights dip and braked as well, closing the gap for me.

I went straight (...and hard) into her left rear. I remember seeing the lights of the car about 15cm from my face thinking... one cannot get this close to a car and NOT hit it...! This is gonna be eina!!!

Maybe this is what saved me? As my mind was made up that this meant pain – NOT DEATH!

I started remembering things about 4/5 days later. Apparently I was awake in between and talking (...more like screaming) to peeps up till then, but I have no recollection of it.

I remember a short episode in the second hospital in Nelspruit, where I needed to wee in the middle of the night. I called for a nurse and she came and placed a grey small dustbin next to my bed and left. I thought it was strange, but managed to wiggle myself out of bed and squat over the bin. 10 minutes or so later – the nurse was back with a beeeg frown on her face. Seems she thought I wanted to throw up... NOT WEE!!!

My first full recollection was waking up on the couch on my parents’ farm. I asked how I got there... I thought maybe an ambulance brought me straight home after the accident, but apparently I was already in two hospitals and had a big operation by then. We stayed at Justin’ parents’ farm for a night as well, which I can also not remember. Apparently my neck was too weak to keep my head up straight in the car.

My arms, wrists and hands were badly fractured and broken in the accident. My hands were pushed back into the radius and in the first opp all they did was pull the hands back out and tried to straighten the bones as much they could.

This was painful, but broken bones heal and I didn’t think much of that. It was all the other stuff that got me down...

After the accident, I had the following ‘conditions’: 1. Seeing as I had no arms/hands to use, I could not bath, wash my face OR wash my hair. I got dandruff after a while... 2. My facial skin felt like leather – thick, extremely ruff and sensitive to touch. It was also quite red and a little heaved. 3. My skin excreted an oily substance for about two months (...either from the shock OR the anaesthetics). It was almost like a fatty layer and it smelt ‘funny’? Seeing as I couldn’t bath (...only soak) I couldn’t get rid of the feeling or the smell. 4. I got pink eyes. 5. The knock to my head also knocked all my teeth loose... as in ‘LOS’! I was too scared to eat anything tough or sticky as I wasn’t sure my teeth would stay put. I asked my brother to have a listen and he nearly passed out when I clicked my teeth together and it made an extremely hollow sound. 6. My tongue got a bacteria that turned it white and spotty. 7. The knock to my head must have also damaged something in my eyes. For about a month, I could hardly see. Sitting in front of the TV, I had to ask people what was on the telly as I could only see movements on the screen. 8. Wearing shoes were a pain, as my toe nails got long and without hands, I couldn’t clip them. 9. Either the catheter or NOT being able to wipe my bum after a poo, gave me a bladder infection. After two months of home remedies – it became really bad! I never told Pips, but the weekend I went down to CT to spend some time with my maatjie, my body was on fire! I peed blood the whole weekend and by the Sunday on the way back I was crying to my mom over the phone as I couldn’t stand up straight anymore. 10. Justin took me straight from the airport to a doctor where they determined the bladder infection spread to my blood and was getting quite serious. He immediately placed me on some POTENT antibiotics. 11. As most women know... antibiotics ain’t really friendly on our women parts! So, in return for healing bladder infections, the antibiotics gave me a “women’s infection”. This means all kinds of funny fluids... say no more! Jig! Jig!! JIG!!! 12. Taking pain killers... ai...! Except for the wonderful feeling of euphoria they give – they also deliver NONE-deliverance... After not taking a dump for 9 days, it was like trying to squeeze a brick thru a keyhole. And considering that you don’t have arms to hold onto anything for support... aggg... Let’s leave it there!

During this time I also ended up being single (...something personal, but we got thru that eventually). Trying to look after one self when you don’t have hands, gets quite interesting. You CANNOT:

1. Open doors. 2. Open or close taps. 3. Dress or undress. 4. Zips or buttons... nada! 5. When the blanky falls off you at night, you have the option of staying on the bed – cold. Or sleeping on the floor under the blanky - seeing as your hands ain’t strong enough to pick a blanky up. 6. Answer a cell or make a phone call. My fingers could just not press the buttons – that’s how week my hands were. 7. Brush teeth. 8. Wipe your bum. I managed a wicky-wicky method after a month where I would gather a few strips of toilet paper and form a ‘rope’ and ‘wipe’ my bum by having one hand in front and one at the back, making a sawing motion. Though, this didn’t help much for my bladder infection though!!! 9. Eat... or drink! As I couldn’t hold anything in my hands. Also not open bottles. My brother left open bottles of Lucozade in my fridge – flat cold Lucozade... mmmmm... 10. Drive... or ride! Obviously!!! 11. Put my laptop in the backpack. I had to push the laptop off the desk onto a chair with a pillow on. I then had to tilt the chair with my elbows and knees until the lap top slid off. I then had to push the laptop into the bag with my feet. Zip the bag up with my teeth... THAT WAS LOOSE!!! 12. Do laundry... and I was already low on streak-less panties.

The inconvenience I put my family thru was one of the toughest things. My mom and brother took alternative days off from work to drive thru from Rustenburg and come make sure I was fed, dressed and just generally still sane. They had to almost let their own businesses run to the ground to make sure I was okay. The first night I had to bath and dress myself became a beeeg hurdle. I started with the hot water in the bath. But when I wanted to add cold water – I couldn’t get the tap open!

I thought, maybe FIRST get out of my clothes because I couldn’t bath with my clothes on in any case and by the time I managed to get undressed the hot water would be okay to bath in without tapping cold water in. I had a t-shirt on, as I couldn’t handle buttons or zips without hands. But how do you pull a t-shirt over your head when your hands can’t grasp the material strong enough OR you cannot lift your hands above your head???

I then tried to cut the t-shirt off me, but try and cut material when you don’t have two hands to tighten it. And in any case, I needed both hands just to hold the scissors...!

By this time I was in tears and extremely frustrated. The next moment I got a call from my Oumie and I managed to click the button with the end of the scissors. Here’s my Oumie in tears on the phone from Lichtenburg. When I finally calmed her down, I asked her why she was crying? BECAUSE she knew I was crying!!!

I had a lekker chat to my Oumie and by the time I put the phone down I thought, THAT Gezina would never go to bed dirty! She would have made a plan and being a Gezina myself - a plan just had to be made. I finally decided to wedge the bed post at the footen-end of the bed under my t-shirt up to under my armpit. I then just dropped to the floor and TA-DA!!! The t-shirt popped off like a ‘rekkie’!

I still had to wait about 30 minutes to cool the bath water before I could get in. AND soaking with arms in the air is just not nearly as good as a proper wash with soap and a sponge.

After 4 weeks I went to Dr. Barrow ( usual doctor healing me after every bike accident). This was to have the casts removed, but... nothing seemed to go as planned! The doc took some x-rays and just shook his head with ‘uh-oh’ sounds as he stared at the x-rays. Not the kind of gestures you want to hear from a doc...!

He immediately took me back up in hospital and scheduled another opp. Apparently the first doc did not straighten the bones properly and even if he took the casts off – there would be NO movement in my wrists. All the wrist bones were squashed to the one side while the radius grew back at an angle not aligned to my hands. He booked his son Andrew (...also an Ortho) out for the next day to assist him with the opp. By the time I went into theatre they spread me out on a plank like Liewe Jesus – each at an arm ready with a scalpel. I felt very ‘holy’...

Apparently only when they opened the wrists they discovered how fooked the wrists were. Doc Brian then phoned his other two sons (...also orthos) to come help. Four docs (...two at each arm) and four hours later they fixed me up as best they could.

I remember waking up and asking why they were pumping boiling hot water into my forearms??????? I slept for most of the next 3 days. Damn – that was blêddie sore!

The day after the opp, doc Barrow came to sit next to me on the bed. He was very serious and said he was not gonna lie... my arms didn’t look good and if anything went wrong; bones not growing as they should; infections; etc... he would amputate both my arms! I CRIED!!! A LOT!!!

I decided to do everything I was told – even take injections that I hate so much! I ate when I had to; swallowed every pill placed in my mouth; and drank loads of fluids even when I wasn’t thirsty. I was scared...

On the first weekend at home there was yellow stuff oozing out of my right arm. My dad (...being a doc himself) tried to open the bandages at the top to take a look and smell, but I put up such a scene (...cause I'm kleinserig OKAY!), that he just left and said - get yourself another doctor...

I had to go back to the hospital the next day to check it out and doc Brian wasn't there. The nurse rushed me to the ER and grabbed a doc there by the arm and asked him just to have a look at the wound. Without any knowledge of what happened to me the doc said, "The wound's okay, but your wrists are quite fukced!!!" Please also consider thru all this that women get something they call PERIODS! Please tell me how you handle this without arms?!?

My first thought was that I would never get back on a bike as I never wanted to put my family thru this sjiet again.

Four months later and I was mostly healed. The scars will never go away and specially the ones I have... I get funny looks and comments at shopping malls from peeps that probably think I’ve tried to take my own life...? This while I’m fighting so hard to keep it...

What I did find out was how amazing peeps can be!!! My fams – THEY were just wonderful and to see how strong a lady my Moertjie could be was impressive. My brother kept me positive... most of the time! My dad looked after anything I needed on a more admin level, like paying doctors on time. And both my niggies made sure I had everything ( included) I needed. There were peeps like Pips, phoning everyday to find out how I was... even if she could only talk to my fams. Sending me meds from CT to keep me strong.

Peeps like Vixen, a lady that I’ve never met before... adamant that she wanted to come thru from PTA to take me shopping... cause a girl needs stuff!

All the TB peeps that brought dinner, collected money and even the TB girls (...and some boys) that made a day of visiting me at the shop with cake and coffee!!!

By December I thought the worst was over... but aIas! I started getting phone calls from the Sabi police threatening me that they were going to make a case against me BUT... I could pay R1000-00 admittance of guilt...?!? I ignored their threats and never paid. I was waiting for a summons, which never came. Then one day, they phoned again to tell me I had to appear in court.

I asked for the summons this time and they then wanted to fax it?!? After getting hold of the magistrate, she told me not to take them seriously until they hand delivered a summons to me personally.

Two weeks later I had a cop in my shop with a piece of paper, arrogantly asking me if I knew who he was??? He had all kinds of stupid excuses for only getting the summons to me then...

I then went to Road Cover for help and they appointed a criminal lawyer. They then phoned the magistrate in Sabi and once the magistrate/cops/whom ever was in charge on that side, realized that I was NOT just gonna roll over and pay the R1000 admittance of guilt, they withdrew the case against me.

NOT THE END YET!!! Two weeks later I got another summons. This time from the lady herself. She was suing me for her car being written off, towing the vehicle to a garage and renting another car for a month. I then contacted Tazz that ensured me the bike had 3rd party insurance and he then informed Bettie’s attorneys to contact the insurance. Three months later, I started following up as to what happened regarding Bettie’s claim. What we found was that there is an attorney appointed on my/BMW’s behalf in Bloemfontein. Goofi from the BikeSA cousins, will find out more next week.

The sad part is that one auntie that is so extremely negligent can not only cause me so much physical pain – but then cause me so much stress as well? This considering that I have all the proof in the world that I was innocent and she was guilty. Her lawyers stated that I was riding recklessly and speeding. Tazz then told them that he had the speedometer, sealed and certified in front of him, stuck on 100kays/h – within the speed limit. They said the bike was defective because there was no break marks either... Ever heard of ABS before?!?

When we asked them where in the world it is legal to cross a solid white line, he said that the auntie lives there – how else would she get home? As if I’m from that area and knows exactly where everybody lives??? This has been one of the most stressful, horrible experiences of my life. I’m not keen on riding on the roads anymore and try to avoid it as far as possible. I even got myself a little car now and Billy-Bob has been morphed into a pure-bred track stead. Luckily Tonto has been out of action for a while now as well (...nothing strange for a KTM!). But it’s not fun riding on the roads anymore. Knowing that it doesn’t matter how innocent, legal or well behaved you might be on the road – someone will still try and nail you! I didn’t write this to convince anyone to stop riding, but to inform you of everything involved. It’s not easy or cheap and mentally you have to be inconvincibly strong to keep your head up ...or have amazing family and friends that will keep your head up for you if you can’t anymore.

Ride safe... or don’t! It doesn’t matter...

And a thank you letter... to Corne, Koos and Marlene from Road Cover

Something that has always puzzled me all my life is why, when I am in special need of help, the good deed is usually done by somebody on whom I have no claim. ~ William Feather

I never even considered taking on the Road Accident Fund. The emotional and physical pain from the accident (...on 26 July 2008) was more than I could handle at the time. All I wanted to do was forget that any of it ever happened.

I went to see Corné regarding another situation and she convinced me that I should make a claim and that I had a good chance. I decided to leave it in her capable hands and waited for any commands or requests from their side.

Her team collected most of the data and reports without me even having to lift a finger (...on a sore palm). I got sent to quite a few doctors over the next few years and finally my time came on 20 September 2011 to plea my case. They explained all the intricacies to me and how these cases normally work. As I understood it, no one party is ever 100% innocent OR 100% guilty. They work on a 70/30 basis for example. Koos, the advocate, was full of fire and being a biker himself was ready to take on the world... or be it just the court in this case.

Our first hope was that tannie Bettie Coetzee would not attend the hearing and thus the state would not have a witness. But, as it turned out – with a great team like Koos and Corne – it was actually better for me to have her there on the day. Koos kept tannie Bettie under pressure the whole time and kept asking for clearance on answers that did not make sense. She eventually gave so many different versions of what she considered happened on that day that my mouth was hanging open on how someone could be so blatantly arrogant???

There was a few times where I asked Corné why they did not point out obvious mistakes the tannie was making, but she assured me that they need not focus the judge’s attention to these, as he notices EVERYTHING!

As this was my first time ever to appear in court, and in the ‘hoogeregs hof’ daarby... I was not sure how the procedures happened and what was expected of me. From not knowing that you should not wear open toe shoes... to when to stand-up OR sit-down? I’ve heard of lawyers coaching witnesses, but the only coaching I received was that I had to be respectful, explain my side of the story to the judge (...not the advocates), call the judge ‘U Edele’ (...which made me extremely nervous as I knew I would get confused and say something stupid like ‘U Rose Doringkrans’!), answer my advocate in as most detail as possible and to say if I did not know an answer rather than guessing.

These two lawyers was a team that RAF did not recon on. They had done their homework well and knew ever little detail of the accident. Even I was surprised to see the files of documents and data they had collected. They really put some serious effort into digging up ever last detail and test every last scenario of what possibly happened.

The judge gave his ruling the next day and Corné informed me that Koning Reuse Doring awarded me a 100%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(BTW, the judge also advised my lawyers to pursue tannie Betty Coetzee criminally, as he was of mind that she intentionally wanted to kill me.)

Corné, I never expected anything in return and yet you powered on through loads of documentation and RAF delays. How can I ever say my gratitude but with an opregte THANK YOU! Thank you for exceeding my expectations, and then some. THANK GOD for your knowledge of the law. I hope to never need your services again, hehehe!

Just as a side note, being a Think Bike member at the time of the accident, I was also a member of Road Cover (...a deal between Think Bike and Road Cover). This meant that I had legal representation without costing me a CENT!!! Are these people great or what...?!?

In your debt,



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