Ever since being involved in a serious vehicle accident where I was hit from behind by a 40 ton semi doing 50mph while stopped for a construction zone flagman, my physical activities have been limited due to injuries sustained in the wreck.
As you might imagine, being hit by a semi truck is quite a shot. An NFL player is out for the season after being hit by a 290 pound guy running 5mph, I was hit by 80,000 pounds moving 50 mph! I suffered a concussion when I was knocked out by the impact and a number of injuries to my neck, back, hips and legs.
To make matters worse, much worse, both my insurance company, Progressive Insurance and the truck driver’s insurance company, Starr Indemnity & Liability Company, refused to pay for any medical expenses or damage resulting from the accident. You can see more details about the accident here, but the accident left me injured and essentially bankrupt.
Anyway, back to the biking. Injured, broke and winter arriving in the Columbia River Gorge, I headed to the Arizona desert to try and regain my health without any money for medical treatment of any kind. I needed decent weather so I could rehab my injuries.
For about a month following the accident, I could not do much of anything. I was in pain all the time with only OTC ibuprofen to take the edge off. I could only sleep a few hours a night because of the pain. It took everything I had to retain a positive attitude after what had happened to me.
After a couple months, I was able to start walking. Slowly at first, the first couple weeks I was only able to walk about a quarter mile or so. Since I was able to walk more than twenty miles before the accident, seeing how badly I was injured was pretty depressing. All I could do was get up in the morning and put one foot in front of the other.
Slowly, I was able to increase the distance I was able to walk. Exercise during the day meant pain at night, but I did not have many options. Getting up in the morning was very painful. It took about an hour just to loosen up to move around. A couple times, I lost all feeling from my lower back down. I had to go to the ER, they told me there wasn’t much they could do. That was very scary, not being able to feel my legs. All I could do was keep walking and hope for the best.
In addition to walking, I also included stretching and strength training to the rehab regimen. Stretching, especially for my lower back, hips and legs, was a daily routine. Push ups, jumping jacks and low weight, high repetition exercises; all part of the program. It worked for the Marines, I was sure it would work for me.
After seven long months, I am able to ride a bike again. Bike riding is a big part of my life and this is a very important step on the comeback trail. I estimate that I am about 30% of what I was before the accident. All the doctors said it would be a long recovery, they were right. At least I’m back in the saddle and back on the road.