Women Riders

Inspirational Women: Ursula Marie Wachowiak, Part 3

Written by  December 30, 2015

The young man whose truck hit Ursula was named Anthony and while he didn’t resemble her son Nathan, he was about the same age and as she lay there holding Anthony’s hand, she imagined it was Nathan’s. Whether it’s true or not that your life flashes before you eyes, in Ursula’s case it was the future she thought she would miss. Time with her grandchild, events and milestones she would never get to see. In the background she could hear voices of men asking others what happened and when Anthony attempted to get up to answer, she pulled him back. “No, don’t leave me yet.”

The first responders acted quickly, pushing Anthony away and applying a tourniquet. They kept asking questions, not just for information but also to keep her conscious. She wanted to go to sleep but they wouldn’t let her. One told her not to look at her leg and she responded that she was looking at the cows that were close to the ditch where she was. Sirens in the distance seemed a good sign-hearing them meant she hadn’t died. But then she heard a first responder give an assessment to the paramedics and she felt panic setting in. She was in “extreme critical condition,” bleeding through her femur and tibia. She would need to be airlifted immediately.

The memories came flooding as Ursula was sure of her impending death. Memories of the fun times with her son, wanting to see his face one last time. She wanted to tell him she loved him, that she was proud of him, that he should live his dreams like his mother tried to do. She remembered all the places she had been and thought to herself, “If I die out here, at least I’ll die happy.”

The paramedics worked feverishly, placing her in a neck brace, stabilizing her leg, getting her on a hard board and out of the ditch into the ambulance to await the helicopter. She screamed for something to kill the pain, put her to sleep but they had nothing to give her and besides, her blood pressure was too low at that point. They landed at the hospital and she blanked out. She was told later she had died upon landing.

The accident was on a Wednesday. On Sunday she was awakened from her drug induced coma to see she still had her leg. But more important to Ursula was her son was there. She wanted to jump out of bed to hug him but instead he had to come down to her as she lie there, leg up in the air, neck brace on. Then she heard of how for those four days of being in a drug-induced stupor, she kept denying this visitor was her son. He has been the one and only thing that has ever been a true constant in Ursula’s life and the one thing that was on mind the entire time I laid in the ditch – how could she answer such an obvious question so wrong “when he was the deepest person imbedded in my being? And how, oh how horrified the kid was when his mother denied knowinghim”. But he was here now.

Ursula had a lot of family around her, including her sister, an ICU nurse. At one point, Anthony and his mother came with flowers and were met by Nathan and the sister. When Nathan learned who Anthony was, his face turned red, his fists clenched and Ursula’s sister hurried him out, afraid of what he might do.

Ursula’s story had gained momentum to the point that the local ABATE in Illinois contacted a chapter in the Twin Cities to see what they could do for her. Through that, a gentleman named Ron visited with Ursula in the hospital and she informed him that her leg was to be amputated later that week. The doctors had given her two choices, one of numerous surgeries and incapacitation in hopes of saving her leg or amputation below the knee that would require less surgeries and the chance to move forward quicker. Ron offered Ursula his walker that he used after his hip replacement, outfitted with a leather Harley Davidson handlebar pack. . He also offered to help keep her friends in Illinois abreast of her situation and attempted to get reports of the accident for her. He took her mother out to dinner and on a tour of the city. He had come to her as a stranger willing to help and left as a friend.

In addition to ABATE’s help, Ursula found out later that one of her sponsors, Rider’s Claw, had paid for the hotel for her son while he stayed for Ursula and that one of her friends had paid for his airline ticket to be used when it was time to go home.

The night of July 17, 2013, there was the possibility of Ursula’s death. She simply would not, could not allow that to happen. Now, faced with losing her leg, the same strength and faith mixed with just a little bit of stubbornness would not only see her through but bring her to a new beginning. Her family made arrangements for her care once she was released from the hospital. Her mother, father, stepmother and others all collaborated to get Ursula’s life back to as “normal” as possible. Surrounded by love, it was time for her new chapter to begin.

For more information on this amazing woman, please feel free to check out the previously published articles entitled Inspirational Women: Ursula Marie Wachowiak aka The B.R.O.A.D. and Inspirational Women: Ursula Marie Wachowiak, Part 2.

Next: Normal is as normal does