A British holidaymaker was left with two life-threatening bleeds on the brain, unable to walk or talk and in need of extensive facial reconstruction surgery after a “horrifying” moped crash in Bali.
Ryan Pike spent two agonising weeks in a hospital where most staff only spoke broken English, on 15 different drugs and often in excruciating pain.
Once back in the UK with five metal plates in his skull, he discovered two bleeds on his brain were far more serious than first thought, and had left him a ‘ticking time bomb’ and lucky to be alive.
The 26-year-old had been dragged unconscious out of a concrete ditch by his friends and locals at the scene after swerving to avoid hitting an oncoming car – just one day into his trip.
As he began to come round, the machinery rental operative from Weston-super-Mare was later told he was pulling teeth out of his own head before being rushed to hospital in the back of a van.
The car driver, having taken a corner too wide, causing Ryan to take drastic action, had not stopped despite the accident and an ambulance would have taken hours to arrive.
After initial scans, and with his jaw “in pieces” and possible punctures to a lung, he was then quickly transferred to the Indonesian island’s main hospital.
Pictures from the scene – taken a couple days later by Ryan’s friends – show the 10-foot trench he’d been thrown headfirst into and the concrete wall he’d dented with his chin.
“There’s a crack down my mandible and I’d pushed my upper jawline up into my nose,” he told the Mirror Online.
“As you follow my teeth, it kind of raises up in the middle. So I buried my jaw up into my nose and my jaw where it connects to my skull on both sides had ruptured.
“I had bruised lungs, broken my wrist, mangled my coccyx – my rear end essentially was in pieces, cut up – [I’d] got lacerations all over my body.”
Some of Ryan’s injuries needed treating before he could go under the knife 24 hours after arriving at the second hospital – with the wait extended because the facility had run out of pins to hold his reconstructed face together.
“When you’re there, all that was going through my mind was, the people around me, I couldn’t let them know the pain.
“I couldn’t let them know that obviously everything is turned upside down, so you have to be positive, you have to get up, there is no point in dwelling either. You’re going into surgery or you’re dying – one of those you have to get it over with but because I was on so many drugs, it was hard to process.
“Throughout all of this, once the adrenaline stops your body comes to terms with the injuries, so your cognitive function takes away from main functions, it just focuses on healing, so I’d forgotten how to talk, I forgot how to walk,” he explained.”
Ryan could only mutter the words ‘pee’, ‘up’ and ‘down’ to ask his partner Hazel for help.
She spent two weeks sleeping on a tiled floor next to her boyfriend’s bed with just a travel pillow and blanket.
Three days after his eight hour reconstructive surgery, he “started coming round” and after four or five days he started attempting to walk again, but every step “felt like an earthquake” and he had lost three stone in weight.
He continued: “Learning to walk again was weird, having to focus on one step in front of the other.”
On returning to the UK, Ryan was taken to Royal United Hospital in Bath where doctors revealed his brain bleeds “were very close” to killing him.
The crash had taken place on August 25, 2019 and it took months to reach any kind of normality – after four months he was able to eat semi-solid food like scrambled egg.
And while his travel insurance had paid for his treatment at the private hospital in Bali, as well as his flight home, further treatments have come from his own pocket or a bank loan.
Ryan’s £8,000 savings were immediately wiped out on dental surgery, and he’s been told the work in total will amount to around £50,000 and he has been left with ongoing problems.
He said: “The trauma has meant that everything still moves in my mouth. I’ve also got braces on the lower [teeth].”
Referring back to the crash, he said he and his friends have since sat down to relive it.
On the day of the accident, the last memory Ryan has is of being at an outdoor market that afternoon before they drove back to their villa to relax and get ready for the evening.
He was in the middle of the pack as the car overshot the corner, meaning half of the group continued to the villa without even knowing anything had happened.
Looking at the photos of the ditch where he crashed, Ryan said: “It looks pretty pathetic. It doesn’t look that far, until you see the scuff mark on the wall. On the right concrete structure wall, the rocks, that’s where my chin hit. That was a perfectly straight wall. You can see the breeze block mangled away.”
“I’ve got a permanent scar where the handlebars hit [my chest]. Straight away, from breast to breast.”
He said he’s been in regular contact with the girl on the back of the bike, who has since made a full recovery.
“I feel immensely guilty and horrible,” he admitted.
Ryan said he couldn’t come to terms with the crash even having happened at all for a long time.
“You reject it. Because I was so used to looking in the mirror and seeing that guy and for someone else to be looking back is utterly…your brain just doesn’t fathom it.”
There are even minor things that surgeons had to remove to aid his recovery, including part of his ear and the “bit of skin between the teeth and the lip is gone because they cut all along to gain access to my nose”.
He added: “My perspective has completely changed on life. It teaches you, it’s a massively humbling experience.
“I know there’s a lot going on in the world right now, but it reminds you that you are exactly the same as the person next you.
“You are no different in that something could be taken away from you just as anything could be taken away from them.
“It makes you really value what’s important and makes you drop that which is not important.
“It’s made me a lot more career driven, I want to achieve more in my career now. I want to go and see more of the world and be more adventurous.
“Whereas before I was in my shell a little. I’ve gone the opposite, in that you go ‘you’ve only got a certain amount of time’.”
Ryan is hoping to raise funds to go towards his ongoing rehabilitation and will donate half of whatever money he receives to the NHS.
To donate, click here.