September 2012 - Nicholas Gainer is a blessed man. And he knows it. The 33-year-old New Franklin man would like nothing better than to line up the guardian angels responsible for saving his life to give them a friendly pat on the back.Of course, that would be sometime down the road. Right now, the very thought of a pat on the back is painful.
That’s because Gainer is still healing from the big spill he took while riding his motorcycle, rounding a sharp turn and colliding with what witnesses estimate to be four deer on South Main Street, not far from where he lives. Gainer, who wasn’t wearing a helmet, suffered 11 broken ribs (seven on the right, four on the left) and a fractured collarbone.
The accident happened Aug. 3, said Gainer, a veteran motorcycle rider. “I had been out riding earlier. … I was about to put the bike away when I decided since it was such a nice night I would take it out again. … I took the curve and I remember seeing two deer and thinking to myself, ‘I’m going to hit them.’ ” All he recalls after that is waking up in the ambulance.
Complicating an already grave situation is the fact that Gainer has cystic fibrosis (CF), a serious genetic disorder that causes thick, sticky secretions to build up in the lungs and digestive tract, and can lead to a reduced life expectancy.
While there is no cure, CF is treatable with medicine and what is referred to as chest clapping or percussion. This involves breaking up the mucus by having the chest and back pounded several times a day, by hand or with an inflatable therapy vest that uses high-frequency airwaves. With the injuries to Gainer’s ribs, that traditional therapy is next to impossible, even with high-dose pain pills.
Gainer was initially transported to Akron General Medical Center but ended up at Akron Children’s Hospital’s Cystic Fibrosis Clinic, where he is known to the staff. “I’m there at least once a year or a year and a half for a two-week tune-up” with an IV, he said. Fortunately for Gainer, the hospital’s CF Clinic also has a new piece of technology he credits with saving his life.
It’s called a Frequencer, also known as an electro-acoustical transducer. A wand is lightly moved over the body to break up those life-threatening secretions with sound waves, and most importantly to Gainer, without the threat of pain.
Gainer was first introduced to the Frequencer during his nearly two-week stay at the hospital’s CF Clinic. He was “blessed” by Clinical Technologies Inc., the Broadview Heights company that markets the device, to be able to use one for a month while his ribs heal at home. The added beauty here is that Clinical Technologies agreed not to bill him.
Gainer was happy to demonstrate the device, which he uses three times a day on six different spots on his body, three minutes each. “It doesn’t hurt at all,” he said, placing the wand on his chest area. “But it definitely does the job! The pain-free aspect is really, really nice. Without it, my health would definitely deteriorate.”
Gainer is eternally grateful to Clinical Technologies for allowing him to use the device, which has a purchase price of $18,000. “Not enough data is known about it for my insurance company to support the cost right now,” he said.
Surprisingly, his bike, which he purchased in March, sustained only minor damage. “All it needs is an air filter and a mirror. It just has a few scuff marks,” he noted. Gainer, who looks forward to getting back on his bike after he’s healed, has promised two things to his family, friends and the hospital’s staff: never again to ride without a helmet or ride at night.
He was diagnosed with CF when he was 5 months old. At that time, he said, the life expectancy was only six years. Again, he says, “I know how blessed I am!”
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