Local Bicyclist Bounces Back After Injury

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Local Bicyclist Bounces Back After Injury
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By Neil Myers

Last August I posted on edhat to say I was the biker in the bike-versus-truck accident on Gibraltar.  I posted it from the hospital on day 3 and never checked back.  With all the drugs they had me on I have forgotten most of the first two weeks after the accident.  I came across the post by accident and read through the 47 comments wishing me well.  I thought it would be good to share how my recovery has gone.
 
Last Saturday was six months and the short answer is I have made it all the way back.  It has taken lots of treatment, rehab and exercise, but I am walking, biking, swimming, running and working out again in the gym.  I have no permanent effects except for a lot of difficulty remembering names.  I remember people just fine, but that part of my cortex that associates names with people just doesn’t work very well.  It might recover, but if not … I can get by.
 
I have started riding back up Gibraltar again.  It is 100 percent clear that I was riding too fast that day (and all the previous days).  I used to descend at an average speed of 30 mph.  I now descend at 12mph.  I used to think that as long as I stayed in my lane I was safe, but that isn’t true.  I now ride at a speed that allows me to stop if the unexpected is around a blind turn.  “Never show up somewhere your brain didn’t show up 2 minutes earlier”.
 
I said before I had almost no permanent effect, but that’s not really accurate.  The biggest permanent effect is GRATITUDE.  Thanks to the first responders I went from hitting the windshield to Cottage ER in 30 minutes.  That saved my life.  Since then more 300 people (mostly from Cottage, but elsewhere as well) have worked to get me back.  My health insurance (United Healthcare) paid for virtually all of the costs (nearly $500,000).  There is a great video on the Cottage Facebook page that gives you a sense for how much help I got.  I have no illusions … I am a very lucky man.

I also want to share how grateful I am for the support I got that day I posted on Edhat.  True, I forgot and didn’t check back until now, but it was still as powerful to hear.  It brought me to tears.
 
I know that not everyone would ride Gibraltar again.  I thought long and hard about it.  But riding was what made me strong enough to survive the original accident.  It is my sport and my Zen.  I will work to make it safer.  I needed a new bike (mine was in three pieces), so I bought the BRIGHTEST bike I could find.  I also added a Garmin Radar … a device that alerts me to cars coming up from behind.  AND … disc brakes.  I’m not repeating this accident!
 
Above is a shot they took for the Cottage video.  I am back, healthy, happy and grateful.

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a-1566684095 Feb 11, 2019 10:06 AM
Local Bicyclist Bounces Back After Injury

Glad you recovered. As for other riders, if riding it's best to Constantly focus your eye down road, across the curves and valleys, so you can spot cars coming up. I'm talking as far ahead as the eye can see across the terrain. It's a great tactic for secondary protection and is not fail-safe. But once you have vision on cars coming up, you can plan accordingly. And that plan includes Not meeting those cars on turns. Do whatever you can to pace yourself to be tucked to the right and on a straight. Because no matter the speed, the road does not have sides. There is no yellow line and even if there was, it's only paint.

pololady Feb 11, 2019 09:42 AM
Local Bicyclist Bounces Back After Injury

I'm so proud of you, Neil! We live in an amazing community filled with passionate first responders and gifted long term health providers. They touched your life and my life in ways neither of us will forget. The video about Neil's accident was produced by Cottage Hospital for their annual Tiara Ball Fundraiser. The event raises funds for the Cottage Trauma Center. Cottage Hospital is a Tier 1 trauma center. There are only two other Tier 1 Trauma Centers in California one is at Stanford the other is at UCLA. Having a Tier 1 center so close saved Neil's life. We live in a remarkable (beautiful!) community.

sbandto Feb 11, 2019 09:15 AM
Local Bicyclist Bounces Back After Injury

Very glad to hear you recovered and are back in the bike. Those who don’t ride may never understand why, but those of us who do (and especially those like me who also recovered from an accident) know how much it means. As you are, I’m ever thankful for the recovery and opportunity to do what I love again.

greytfull Feb 11, 2019 08:45 AM
Local Bicyclist Bounces Back After Injury

Thank you for this inspiring account of your life-changing experience. Your statement below certainly reflects the great gift you've received. "I said before I had almost no permanent effect, but that’s not really accurate. The biggest permanent effect is GRATITUDE."

PurpleBee Feb 10, 2019 10:26 PM
Local Bicyclist Bounces Back After Injury

So happy for your positive outcome including owning your mistakes. May your story inspire and encourage others to be more careful.

x01660 Feb 10, 2019 06:11 PM
Local Bicyclist Bounces Back After Injury

Glad you made it!!! And that you got back in the saddle and didn't let your fear get the better of you. And I'm really happy to see you being more careful on that road; I hit a deer on my motorcycle on that road back in October. Totalled the bike, split the deer in two, but luckily walked away with minor road rash (ATGATT, y'all) . And I was back out there a month later, on my new bike, facing my apprehension and fear and conquering it, just like you. Cheers!!!

Roger Feb 10, 2019 06:03 PM
Local Bicyclist Bounces Back After Injury

I often wondered about you through the months... I thought you were a goner, It's hard not to assume I hear so many accidents listening to the Scanner. I'm very happy for your Update, Cottage Hospital has some wonderful Folks working there I met some a few days ago myself. I lost the ability to remember some peoples names during my last drunk it's embarrassing sometimes for me but I just let people know and hope they don't get too offended when I call them "Whatsyourname" Welcome Back Neil you have another chance to live....

monkeyboy Feb 10, 2019 05:21 PM
Local Bicyclist Bounces Back After Injury

Glad to see he's still around, but this is such an obvious commercial for our local hospital monopoly, Cottage Health, it would take some convincing to prove that edhat wasn't paid for this.

Potif Feb 10, 2019 06:08 PM
Local Bicyclist Bounces Back After Injury

MONKEYBOY - Even if t was... I am glad to know he survived, and is doing so well. And, that he has learned that it's better to take longer getting down the hill ;) It is also good to know that our local health care system worked so well for him.

a-1566684095 Feb 10, 2019 05:37 PM
Local Bicyclist Bounces Back After Injury

Who cares? I'm happy to hear the conclusion. And if edhat made a buck off of it, good for them. Doesn't read that way to me, though!

CoastWatch Feb 10, 2019 01:58 PM
Local Bicyclist Bounces Back After Injury

Congrats on the recovery. That Garmin radar is way cool... I ride motorcycles and often have close encounters with bicyclists on steep downhills that are intruding the opposing lane- 3 near death experiences on Old San Marcos Road... Please spread the word to your fellow cyclists how lane intrusion can kill or injury (both parties). Ride safe!

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