It’s just like riding a bike

 
The most popular (and annoying) question I was asked shortly after being hit by an SUV while riding my bicycle was whether I was going to ride my bike again. My wife was asked that question too – a lot. I think she hated the question more than I did. My response was often made with a sly smile and then something not so clever like, “If you were in a car accident, would you drive again?” I wanted to ride again ASAP. My wife was slightly less enthusiastic. She’s the one who got the call that I had been hit by an SUV. She’s the one who saw me battered and bloodied in the ER. She’s the one who had to deal with picking up the pieces for months afterwards. I didn’t care what anyone else thought about me riding again except my wife. If she really (REALLY) didn’t want me to ride again, I would stop. We talked about it and eventually came to the agreement that I would ride, even though she wasn’t going to ever love the idea. To this day, I text her before every ride, letting her know where I’m riding and about how long I think it’ll take. If she’s away from the house, then I also text her when I get back. If I don’t send those text messages – I’m in trouble – big trouble.

I don’t remember a thing about getting hit. Doctors have told me it’s best that I don’t remember, otherwise I’d likely experience PTSD symptoms of some sort. I didn’t have any fear of riding with traffic. What I did have hesitation about was riding in quieter neighborhoods with lots of side streets entering from my right, similar to the place where I got hit. My first time back on the saddle was Thursday, April 17, 2014 – a commute to and from work. My body didn’t feel too good, but mentally and emotionally it was great to be back out there. I didn’t ride a lot in those early days. My physical therapist said it was fine to ride (he was also a fellow cyclist), but to not over do it. He said being in that riding position was going to be a bit painful for a while. He was right. My neck bothered me the most, but my shoulders and left wrist also didn’t feel too good early on either. I eased back into riding. I was happy to be able to ride at all, especially only a little over two months after being hit.

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Let’s get physical

 

I had to wait to start physical therapy until the cast on my left wrist came off. That took a little over six weeks. I needed physical therapy mainly for my wrist, my left (fractured) clavicle, and right separated shoulder. My neck went along for the ride, though it probably gave me the most problems through the year (2014) I got hit. It didn’t feel “normal” until the end of 2014, maybe the start of 2015. Looking back, I should’ve pushed hard on the doctors to do something about my neck. Lesson learned.

Physical therapy (PT) was a pretty foreign concept for me. I remember spending a brief amount of time in high school getting my knees looked at due to tendonitis, but there wasn’t much “physical” there aside from some ultra sound sessions. In total, I did about eight weeks of PT, with each week including three 1.5 hour session days. Each early morning session started the same: heat, ultra sound on my wrist and both shoulders, and then stretches with the physical therapist. From there I would head over to the fitness area of the facility and do the equivalent of riding a bike with my hands. I’d crank away with my arms for ten minutes before starting any exercises. I felt like a real pro.

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With (more than) a little help from my friends

I like to think that I’m in control of much more than I am. Getting hit by that SUV while riding my bike and having to recover from that has been a harsh reminder of how little control I have. It’s also been a reminder of how thankful I am to have people in my life who care about and for me. Below are just some of the people who helped me during a great time of need.

My wife has probably suffered through this more than me. She had to see me shortly after I got hit, covered in blood, laying on an hospital ER bed, looking like a zombie. She was the one who drove me to endless doctor and dentist appointments. While most people didn’t see me much for a month after being hit, my wife saw me everyday and did her best to get me anything she could to help me. She had to answer the endless questions about how I was doing, what the status of “our case” was, etc. After a while, it all wears you down. Through it all, my wife, Kelly, was there for me and continues to be there for me, even as I know I wreck her nerves by continuing to ride my bicycle. I love her very much.

The king of hurt

Special thanks to my daughter who gave me the title of “The king of hurt” during the early days of my recovery.

There were numerous people from Zappos who went above and beyond to help me and my family during our time of need. There were Rachel and Susan who took our kids out for the day to have some fun. There were numerous people who provided meals. Others provided cards and other gifts to help cheer me up. A number of people stepped up and filled in to handle my absence at work. There is one person who stands out most of all, Mr. Ken. Yes, Mr. Ken. His name comes after he told some of us a story where he was on vacation and all the hotel staff called him, “Mr. Ken.” The name stuck. Mr. Ken came to the hospital and got the honor of watching me puke blood into a bucket. He visited later on when (honestly), I didn’t feel like seeing anyone, but was really happy to see him. He checked in on me, got my computer for me, kept me in the loop on stuff going on at work. He made sure I knew that if I needed anything, anything at all, he was there for me. Many thanks to Mr. Ken for all his support and help along the way.

Last, but not least, I need to thank those from our church, Spring Meadows Presbyterian, who provided meals, prayer and some practical advice along the way. While I didn’t eat much during that time, my family did and every meal that was provided was one less thing my wife had to deal with.

I had a lot of help along the way. I am truly thankful.


I’m capturing my journey towards recovery after being hit by an SUV while riding my bicycle on February 8th, 2014. I’ve learned quite a bit along the way and want to share those lessons. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or any other sort of expert in this area. Any insights I provide along the way should be taken as my insights to my particular situation. In other words, seek professional counsel if you find yourself in similar circumstances. See more here.

Lawyer up

 Spoiler alert – My case is all settled. That is why I’ve been able to publish these posts. It took from February 8, 2014 (when I was hit) until November 24, 2015 for the last paper to be signed and check to be cut. With that out of the way, be prepared for a lot of words on this topic.

It’s inevitable. It’s days after you’ve been hit by a vehicle while riding your bicycle and you’re feeling terrible. The days pass and the talk turns to, “When are you getting a lawyer?” My first response to that question was, “I’m not sure I want or need one.” I then began talking to people with more experience (some) with these sorts of things than I had (none) and it became apparent to me that I wanted to get a lawyer.

lwyrup

I didn’t want to have to deal with figuring out how to negotiate with insurance company lawyers (who do this for a living) while also spending months recovering. I also didn’t want my wife to deal with that stress on top of an already stressful time for her. The driver’s insurance company was already calling and wanting to settle. Even with no expertise, I knew it was laughable to talk about a settlement when so little was known about the full extent of my injuries. I spoke with a (corporate) lawyer for advice on getting a personal injury lawyer to represent me and his main advice came in the form of questions, “Do you think you can get at least a third more with a lawyer involved? And do you think he’ll do that with a lot less headaches for you?” The questions were valid. First, you need reasons to think you’ll get at least a third more in the settlement with the lawyer than without. If you don’t, you could be in trouble. I hear about people getting a lawyer for a relatively minor car crash. The lawyer does a good job, but doesn’t get a third more than what the individual would’ve gotten on her own. In some cases, this can mean the individual pays out-of-pocket for some of the expense of the crash. For example, the total costs of a crash are $5,000 – property, personal injury, etc. The lawyer ends up getting a settlement for $6,000. After the lawyer takes his cut, the individual has $3,960 from the payout. The only way a lawyer even begins to make sense in that case is if the settlements is for at least $7,600.

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