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After more than a month, Hastings man could soon leave Duluth hospital

On Sept. 10, Jaime McNaughton got the call from her father, Bradd, that he was in the hospital. He was on his yearly motorcycle trip with his brother-in-law, heading up to the north shore, when he got in a crash.

He had five broken ribs and a broken pelvis and collar bone, but the doctor said he should be able to leave in three to five days, Bradd told his daughter.

"Here we are, four and a half weeks later," Jaime said.

The crash itself happened the day before Jaime got the phone call. The two men had gotten as far as Two Harbors, Minn., when they ran into a construction zone. Coming around a curve, the road they were riding on had been taken down to a single lane, controlled by a flagger with a stop/slow sign.

Startled, Bradd tried to stop suddenly. His brakes locked up, he lost control of the bike and the bike fell on him before sliding away. The weight of the bike, Jaime suspects, is what caused the broken bones. Bradd had been wearing his helmet and jacket, so there was little road rash and no concussion, Jaime said.

Although his doctors in Duluth initially expected Bradd would go home within a few days, complications got in the way.

"We just kept getting hit time and time again with news," Jaime said.

Along with the 11 broken bones, Bradd also had a bruised lung. Four days after the accident, his broken ribs caused his lung to collapse, and the three-to-five-day release flew out the window.

"They tried for three days to reinflate him," Jaime said.

Doctors hoped that he would be able to heal on his own, but it wasn't to be. On Sept. 15, he went into surgery. He had to be put on a ventilator, which doctors hoped they could wean Bradd off of in another three to five days.

"In that time frame he got a very severe case of pneumonia," Jaime said.

He was put on a ventilator and heavily sedated for a couple weeks. On Oct. 7, Bradd was able to talk to his family for the first time in about three weeks. He still has a tracheostomy tube in his neck, but he's finally moving more steadily toward recovery.

"He's slowly but surely getting off the ICU at least," Jaime said.

Since he got his voice back he's been passing the time telling jokes, giving the nurses a hard time and reading the 110 pages of comments and journal entries posted on the site his daughters set up for him.

Jaime and the rest of her family are hoping that by the end of this week or early next week they'll be able to transfer Bradd to a rehab facility in the Twin Cities where he can start working on developing his muscles and coordination.

"He's basically been laying in bed for four and a half weeks," Jaime explained.

Many tasks he'll have to re-learn, such as walking and even eating, since he was being fed through a feeding tube for some time.

"He knows this is going to be a long haul," Jaime said.

He's ready to start working on his rehab exercises, and eventually, to be able to work out on his own at the YMCA again. His family is just focused on the fact that he's alive and moving forward, Jaime said.

"It's been such a roller coaster of emotions," she said.

The CaringBridge site is proof of how much support he's gotten. More than 7,000 visits have been recorded and through it the family has been able to accept donations

"We want to thank everybody for their thoughts and prayers," Jaime said. "...We just can't thank everybody enough. We can really feel it up here."

O'Brien Chevrolet has set up a donation account for Bradd at Premier Bank in Hastings to help the family cover their expenses. Bradd worked as the dealership's finance manager.

To visit Bradd's CaringBridge site, go to www.caring naughton.