How motorcycle explosion left Dan in a coma for 46 days
WITH burns to 70% of his body, a smashed knee and hip and a burst spleen, no one expected Daniel Thomas to survive.
But he did.
On September 15, 2014, the 41-year-old Gracemere man was on his way to a reading and writing course to help him clinch a job as a security guard when his life went up in flames, literally.
Daniel was travelling along Musgrave St approaching Charles St in Berserker when he was knocked from his motorbike by another vehicle.
The Bulletin top headlines
The fuel tank of his bike exploded and engulfed him in flames.
Forty-six days later, Daniel was lying in a Brisbane hospital bed, dreaming of his eight-year-old daughter Jewel when he opened his eyes for the first time.
"The last thing I remember is seeing the corner before the crash," Daniel said.
"I was in a coma for 46 days. I didn't even know it had happened, in the coma I was dreaming my everyday routine, I was going places, making lunch, going to the beach and things like that.
"My daughter approached me in a dream and that's when they turned the switch off and I woke up."
When he opened his eyes, Daniel looked down and took in his burnt and battered body.
"I looked down and said what, no way," he said.
"I have burns to 70% of my body and will spend the next three years in a full body burns suit. My right foot is a dead foot. They call it drop foot because it won't lift up, it'll only push down.
"All the cartilage in my knee is smashed and I have bone growth, which occurs after you get a hard jar, stopping my right arm from moving and it's also in my knee and in my hip.
"I have a pin in my hip and pins and screws everywhere. I lost my spleen because the explosion of the fuel tank justbusted my guts open.
"Both my hands are still numb and my feet are still tingling.
"They tell me that it's from when I had my accidents, the jar of pushing my shoulders back broke all the nerves in my neck and the burns have buggered my blood flow up by shrinking the blood vessels."
Looking at him now, you can't tell Daniel suffered horrific burns to his face.
"My dad was there and he said every time he turned up they were operating on me. They had me on the bench putting me back together," he said.
"I couldn't tell you how many operations I had on my face because I was in a coma but when I came out of the coma I had another four or five operations."
Since he came out of his coma, Daniel said he had spent months learning how to move and walk again.
"I've spent the past seven months in rehab and all of next week I have hospital appointments and the week after that is about the same, it's just continuous," Daniel said.
"The first time I stood up they put me on a bed, stood the bed up and strapped me in. I had blisters all over my feet and up my legs from pressure and I went through that for months.
"They got me to the stage where I could move and use my hands again. A lady named Heidi was a really good rehab worker. She got me out of a wheelchair and up and going."
Despite the continuous pain and struggle he's yet to face, Daniel is glad he is alive to watch his daughter Jewel grow up and he hopes one day he'll be able to get back on a bike.
"It's good to be here to see my daughter grow up but I hate being like this, it's not a nice feeling," he said.
"My daughter is very happy that I'm home. I couldn't get a bigger helper than her. She does my boots and my knee brace and helps me around. She's a very good young lady.
"Any time a bike goes past and I hear it... try stopping me from getting back on a bike one day."
Daniel wished to thank the driver of the car for stopping to help, bystanders Shaun Fraser and Barbara for their help, the emergency service workers and the doctor at Rockhampton Hospital for keeping him alive, and the rehab workers in Brisbane for their assistance.
He also wished to thank his mum and dad for their ongoing support and the Gracemere Men's Shed for sending cards and helping to alter his shower.
Now faced with years of pain and rehabilitation, Daniel has a message for all motorists.
"People in vehicles, please look. Don't glance and think 'it's right'. Actually look because it will save a lot of people's lives," he said.