BY MICHELLE WEBSTER – Neil Craddock should be feeling the wind on his face while touring the sprawling highways of Texas with wife Lesley perched on the back of a Harley-Davidson.Instead the Thirroul optometrist is consoling himself in a Dallas hospital by playing his beloved ukulele, which miraculously survived unscathed when the couple’s motorcycle and a truck collided moments after their journey began.
They each sustained serious injuries in the October 24 crash and remain in Parkland Memorial Hospital.  Mrs Craddock suffered a broken ankle and ribs, fractured pelvis and severe bruising.  She is expected to be released from hospital next week.  However, Mr Craddock is facing a longer recovery.  In addition to a broken shoulder, he suffered a severely broken leg, the bone piercing through his flesh.  The father of three has already undergone seven painful operations on the limb.
“It’s definitely going to be a bit of a long road back,” the couple’s eldest son, Austin, said.
He said his parents wanted to let their customers know they may not be available for appointments for several months.
Experienced motorcyclists, the Craddocks hired a Harley-Davidson in Dallas with plans to tour around the state.  But just 5km into the trip disaster struck when the truck and motorbike collided.
“My parents’ belief is that the truck driver changed lanes and drove into them,” Austin said.
They were immediately taken to hospital, but it wasn’t until four days later that their family learned of the accident via an email from a nurse.
Austin said it was difficult to be so far away from his parents and unable to support them in person.
“But it could have been so much worse. They are seriously injured and they may have some permanent effects, but their broken bones will heal.”
The couple’s daughter, Alexis, flew to Dallas on Friday to help her parents through their recovery.
Austin and brother Marshall will remain in Australia to take care of their parents’ affairs.

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