Guest Editorial | ParkRecord.com

Guest Editorial

Francine Valline

On June 20 my husband, Robin, was hit broadside by a car while riding his bicycle. He was enjoying a beautiful evening ride, obeying the laws of the road, when a driver’s negligence and inattention changed his life, and mine, forever.

I want everyone to realize that the vehicle they drive is a lethal weapon. If you hit a bicyclist and you do not kill them, they don’t just receive inconvenient broken bones that your insurance will take care of. I am listing my husband’s injuries and the ordeal he is living through with the hope that everyone who reads this will think carefully about their driving habits. If you have young, inexperienced drivers in your life, talk to them about the consequences inattentive driving poses, not just to them, but also to innocent people in their path.

Robin’s right femur was broken at the top in three to four places with a spiral break down the entire length. It has been plated and screwed. The plate and incision run from the hip socket to his knee. He has a 60 percent chance of developing a blot clot from this injury and will be on blood-thinning medication for six months and will have to have his blood checked weekly.

His left wrist was shattered. It has been plated and screwed together. It aches with pain.

The surgeries took six hours with two more hours in recovery due to horrible pain. You don’t cry with that kind of pain, you moan. He moaned for five days.

His right shoulder is broken at the top of the humerus. The surgeons have decided to let this heal on it’s own because he is running out of functioning extremities.

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He has four broken ribs and five broken vertebrae. His back is lacerated and is the color of eggplant. He can only lie on his back and, because of the broken vertebrae, this is very painful.

His dignity and self-reliance are being chipped away. He cannot sit up or walk. Because he cannot walk he cannot use the bathroom and so his functions take place in a bedpan and then someone has to clean him up. He cannot shower or bathe. He cannot hold a telephone to his ear. He cannot cut his food or bring the utensils to his mouth easily.

He was in the hospital for seven days and is now in a rehabilitation center for at least 10 days. When he comes home, he will be in a wheelchair and/or crutches for three months. He cannot work. He cannot bike, hike, water ski, go camping, go hunting, work in the garage, mow the lawn or even walk the dogs.

I do not wish this upon anyone. Do you? It is not difficult to share the road with bicyclists. Slow down, pay attention, give them room. Bicyclists will only slow you down or inconvenience you for a few seconds so be patient and most of all BE ALERT and hang up your cell phone.

I also urge bicyclists to obey the laws of the road. Don’t ride in clumps and be courteous to drivers. Let’s lead by example.

Robin had an angel on his shoulder that day. He will recover and bike again! Thank you for reading this and I hope you take its lessons to heart.

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