Who I am and What Could Have Been
My name is Richard Kresse, I’m 34 years old and live alone in a small town called Hawkins, Texas with my 2 cats. When I was young and in school I was one of those kids teachers would often comment that I was really going to go somewhere in life and have a great future. Other times my curiosity as a kid caused me to find trouble. Some teachers identified it as a gift, others persecuted me for thinking differently than others. I remember specifically every time I saw my Gym teacher in the hallway he would always say “Mr. Kresse! Your going to be the next Bill Gates Mr Kresse!” Probably because anytime you saw me I would be carrying a computer book so big you could knock someone unconscious with it.
Well the next Bill Gates never happened. To make a long story short about the worst chapter of my life, I fell victim to peer pressure from my best friend right after I graduated and after spending hours refusing what he was pressuring me to do I finally gave in and fell head first into a world that I never realized existed and I would be a prisoner to for the next 7 years of my life. Constantly losing everything I had to feed what my friend so generously brought me into and nearly losing my life over 15 different times by overtaking what had me trapped. That doesn’t include the multiple attempts crooked people made on taking my.
I have always been a hardcore computer nerd, as well as a full blown motor-head and grease monkey. I was a Lego’s kid and I’m blessed to have a visual and calculating mind that can remember and understand how things go together and are meant to function. By the time I was 17 I had already built my first whole engine from the block up and was driving on it as my daily driver/track car. With everything I would face in my future being an adrenaline junkie and always trying to squeeze every last HP and MPH out of my vehicle I could was probably the icing on the cake for making what was already going to be a bad situation that much worse.
Breaking Free only to Break Other Things too
Thankfully at this time and for the rest of my life I’m free from those afflictions and have been now for over 11 years and counting. As your probably going to read in my “Part 2” story when its published, I broke my neck in a high speed motorcycle crash in 2009 and became a quadriplegic with no hope of ever walking again . On the day of that wreck was the very last day that I had anything to do with what had taken the previous 7 years of my life from me and finally gave me a chance to live again with what I had left of the body I had already broken so badly. It was enough left though to still be able to live a million times better life than the 7 years being a prisoner to a substance. I’ve accomplished more now with one arm and in the shape I’m in then all the rest of my life when my body was whole and not injured.
If I had the chance to go back and not make that mistake where I could reclaim my years lost I would not do it, because being able to survive and break free from what I did has given me an unimaginable amount of power to use my experiences and sufferings to help people still facing that same exact problem and the world is littered with people wanting to break free and I believe thats why I’m still here is to tell my story and give hope to those suffering so that they can beat what their fighting and get their lives back.
So far I have already had to undergo 30 medically necessary surgeries and I have to have my 31st in June of 2021. Theres no getting out of it unless I would rather be in excruciating pain 24/7 so I think I’ll just let them cut my stomach wide open so they can put a new battery in my pain pump. It’s 2020 though so the replacement battery better come with a wireless charger or something. 🙂
The First Big One
On June 1st, 2006 when I was 20 years old in the middle of my 7 year downward spiral I lost all hope. My Fiance had just left me over my addictions and I was tired of being hooked on the substances destroying my life. I premeditated ending it all every time I drove through this railroad underpass in Longview Texas and I told myself I could just end all this pain and suffering right now if I just drive my car head on into that 12ft thick concrete wall at a really high speed. I thought if I somehow survive such a horrible crash then I know that I’m meant to be here. What I didn’t think about, was how much pain I would have to endure IF I did.
I was driving by my newly ex’s apartment because I wanted to try to talk to her about giving me another chance and when I pulled up to her apartment she was standing out front with another guy. I was immediately furious because we had only been broken up a couple days so I rolled down my window and yelled “the next time that you see me will either be in the Emergency Room or the Morgue!” Well I was definitely right about one of them.
I then peeled out of the apartment tires spinning furiously and headed down US259 in Longview pedal to the floor because my mind had snapped and I couldn’t take anymore. As I crossed over HWY 80 the last intersection before the bridge I hammered the throttle again and got my 1992 Honda Civic 4-door up to 120mph before at the very last moment I grabbed the right side of the steering wheel and yanked it towards the concrete wall. That was obviously the last thing I remembered.
My next memory of very briefly regaining consciousness was while I was still trapped in the vehicle with literally the entire front of my car including the engine sitting in my lap. There was no front of the car anymore. The steering column had broke loose from the rack and pinion from the front of the car being forced into the cab with me and the steering wheel hit my throat and pushed me back pinning me to the drivers seat and crushing my airway.
My vision was all blurry and I remember smelling oil and antifreeze and I felt hands on my chest as a Longview Volunteer Firefighter held me back in the seat while another took the Jaws-of-Life and was cutting the car out from around me. I remember hearing the Firefighter say to me “Hang on buddy we’re going to get you out of here.” Then I blacked back out unconscious.
I woke back up again laying on my back at the scene of the crash right after they extracted me from the car still hardly able to see anything but I felt a pair of scissors going down the right side of my right leg cutting off my Dickies pants so they could have me ready on the stretcher. I discovered later on after reading the police report for the accident that it took the rescue crew 2 1/2 hours to get me out of the car. Talk about go big or go home. I don’t remember this part but I was told somehow I was able to give them my parents phone number at that time before blacking back out yet again.
While in ICU days started to go by and I hadn’t regained consciousness yet. I was intubated in ICU because of the severe trauma to my airway caused by the steering wheel, I suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI from the sheer impact of the vehicle at such a high speed, as well as had multiple hairline fractures in my C-Spine, I had 2 broken ribs and my left lung was punctured and collapsed from shrapnel from the car stabbing me in the chest. I broke my right knee and right ankle and my right foot was broken at every bone and joint and some parts were crushed and needed massive reconstructive surgery. I had very severe bone bruising in my knees from where the car crushing in forced them back almost to my chest and pinned me against the drivers seat.
After almost 3 days unconscious and my family under great stress and sadness especially my poor mother who I’ve put through so much. When I awoke finally the happiness they must have felt I bet was unmeasurable, but this was only the first of three high speed Motor Vehicle Accidents and I had far more to endure than I could have ever imagined.
The Recovery of The First Big One
When I finally awoke in ICU the first thing I did was pull my intubation tube out because I was frightened so I ended up being sedated and re-intubated finally waking back up this time with my hands tied to each side of the hospital bed. My memories at this point are blurry as it was such a traumatic event but I remember now that I had awoken the Doctors at Good Shepard Medical Center proceeded to start fixing the remaining injuries starting first with my shattered right foot.
I remember being in Pre-Op being gotten ready for surgery and I saw a writing board with the days date on it that said 6–6–2006 and the fact it was that date and I knew I was going into surgery made me feel terrified and I cried profusely until finally my mother was able to give me some comfort. It took 6 hours for the Orthopedic surgeon to put back together what he described as a Jigsaw puzzle, that being my right foot.
I stayed in the hospital for 14 days before I was discharged home with my parents being able to get around on crutches and use a wheelchair we bought at the Goodwill for $7.00. That in itself was a miracle. Both of my knee caps were torn open and had to be stapled closed to heal and the fact I wasn’t completely bound to a wheelchair or really dead is just incredible.
I visited the Towing Company that cleaned up the mess I made to see my vehicle to see if there was anything left in it I could salvage. When I asked the gentleman at the front desk about that car and told him where the wreck was and that I wanted to see if any of my belongings were still in the car his response to me was “The guy that was driving that car is dead”.
It took me a bit of time to convince this man that I was the driver of that car. Standing right there in front of him on crutches he refused to believe that I could have survived. He then told me about another wreck they had to tow where a full-size Ford F350 Super Duty hit an 18 Wheeler head on at 70mph and how the driver of the Ford truck was killed and then told me that my wreck was 100x worse and thats why he couldn’t believe I survived.
Seeing the car for the first time made me sick in ways I can’t describe and the pictures don’t do the justice of accurately showing how bad the wreck really was. I feel so incredibly blessed to be here right now but I still had a long way to go.
About a month after the wreck I ran out of the steroid medicine they had me on because of my crushed trachea. The steroid was to keep the damaged tissue in my airway from swelling and impacting my breathing. My voice was hoarse and raspy the entire time after the wreck to this point but I had no problems breathing. When the medicine I last took began to wear off I found myself in a state of panic unable to breath and ended up being rushed back to Good Shepard to go into surgery to have an emergency trache put in so I had a secured airway. I still have it to this day even after 13 throat operations and numerous attempts to fix my airway I finally just made peace with fact I’ll have a trache for life.
Right Back Into It
Being at home away from the friends and places where I could feed my addiction I managed to get by with about 6 months of pausing my downward spiral. By the time I was cleared to walk on my own two feet again, 9 months of being non weight-bearing on my right foot I reached a point where the doctors would not prescribe me any more pain pills for the horrible pain that I had in my legs.
I tried and tried to find ways to get relief from the damage I had done to my body but at my age (just turned 21) doctors weren’t willing to prescribe the strength and quantity of medicine needed to treat an addict of another substance with that much damage to his body.So I fell I right back in head first but this time to self medicate so not to have to live in agony every day because I was hurting so bad I wished I’d died in that wreck. I’m so thankful now that I didn’t.
This last photo is me at 22 years old about a year before my second high speed accident in 2009 which will be part 2 of out of this 3 part story. I thank each and everyone that takes the time to read this entire article it is greatly appreciated and I hope that you are able to find something in my story that can help you in your own life. God has been very good to me and kept me here for a reason theres no doubt to me about that and you will understand why I say that after reading part 2 and 3 once I publish them. Everybody stay safe and healthy out there with COVID-19!
-Richard aka OneArmedWarrior