...Back Braced, Tumor Discovered
Reich's problems were far from over when he hit the water. As the plane started to slowly sink, he realized he couldn't open the doors. Using the emergency hammer supplied for just those circumstances, Reich was able to bash his way through a window and found time to sit on the wing (while donning a life jacket that he always kept in the plane), "survey the situation and collect my thoughts." He swam about 150 feet before a fire department boat picked him up and took him to a waiting ambulance. After undergoing various tests, X-rays and CT scans, an emergency-room doctor told him the source of his sore back was a cracked vertebrae. "He then left the room, but came back a moment later and casually said: 'By the way, did you know that you have a brain tumor?'" Reich walked out of the hospital the next day and will have to wear a brace for four weeks to support his injured back. He also has to meet with a neurologist to decide what, if anything, to do about the benign brain tumor, which was the likely cause of his brief in-flight seizure. He was told the tumor has been there for years. Regardless of the outcome of those discussions, Reich has resigned himself to never flying again.