You People Say the Darnedest Things!

June 28, 2015 Recovery  9 comments

Good intentions… I suppose that could be the cause.

I remember the first time someone called out my name in a race who wasn’t part of my family or a friend who knew me. I had heard that during a race a spectator might see you coming and quickly look up your number in the race program and instead of calling your number, which they noticed on your race bib they would use your name instead. Unfortunately that did not happen, well not until they started printing our names on the race bibs. Then it happened a lot. However, instead of being encouraged by what the person said, oddly I found myself questioning and thinking about the meaning of their words.

“Way to go Daniel… You’re almost there!” 

“What?!” I would think. “Did she just say or did he just say… you’re almost there? Because, I know where I am and the finish line is still 10 miles away!” Also, I knew they definitely didn’t mean, ‘almost there to the next mile or next aid station or next bathroom’ for goodness sake. No one needs encouragement to almost get there. Phrases like, “You’re almost there! It’s just around the corner! and It’s all downhill from here!” Often brings to mind a little boy, acting in distress, crying, “Wolf! Wolf!”: Because you hear it so many times and it doesn’t happen, you stop believing it will ever happen.

Then of course there’s my favorite thing I hear out on the course. Goes something like this. As you approach a spectator, they’re standing there slowly clapping, with no emotion on their face or in their voice, it is if they were an automated mannequin telling you and every person in front and behind you…

 “You’re looking good.”

First, those rabbits in the race, otherwise known as the pros, they’re probably already across the finish line having showered, combed their hair, smelling good and actually do look good. We, the tortoises and me specifically, do not look “good!” Why? Here’s a few reasons. My hair is all matted with sweat straight back and to the left since that’s how my visor trained it for the past three hours. Also, I’ve prematurely squeezed a GU packet before properly inserting it into my mouth giving me a brown stain across the right side of my chin and chest. And finally, according to their definition of ‘almost there’ I’ve been blowing snot-rockets all over myself for the past couple hours… I don’t know what the basis of ‘good’ is for them but for me this is not good! In the future should you get the urge to let me know I am looking good, wait till I catch up with the rabbits… You people say the darnedest things!

Last Sunday as I was sitting in church, using my iPhone and YouVersion Bible app to follow along during the message when a different type of message pops onto the screen via a push notification. It reads at first… “Hello pastor dan – your recovery is going to test your patience. don’t expect quick results… ”

All of a sudden what I was reading was more important than where I was and what I was doing. Did this person just say, “Don’t expect quick results?” Because… this IS what I am expecting! And, AND I don’t want to hear otherwise. The message goes on to say there will be lots of people who’ll tell me I’ll be out on the road again soon and if anyone could come back from an injury like this it’ll be me. Well, in fact that has already happened… I have heard a lot of that and… I like hearing that. The message/messenger further informs me that my type of injury is so severe and will require such patience that I will need to come to terms with the idea of never riding or running again… ever!

My first thought is to write this person off as an idiot because he has no idea what he’s talking about and unfriend (what a dumb word that is) my friend. The problem is he was one of the strongest cyclists and competitors I’ve ever ridden with until his crash a few years ago.

The French philosopher, Albert Camus claimed,

The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.

Did my friend lack understanding? Were his words meant for harm?

I thanked him for being a necessary voice of reason. At the same time criticized a lack of positivity needed to help the medicine go down.  But honestly, you people say the darnedest things!

Yesterday, I finally got to go back to the hospital and meet with my surgeon and get a progress report. After having a few X-rays taken and getting a wheelchair ride around the hospital, courtesy of my wife, we sat patiently for Dr. Le to come in our examination room and tell me, I’m looking good! A nurse walks in the room and starts typing on a computer, soon the images of my X-rays pop up on the screen. She gets up and tells us the doctor will be in shortly. my hip 16 days

Joy goes over to the screen and takes a photo. Then the door opens. Smiles and greetings flash across the room. He sit’s down, looks at the screen, nods his head and turns to us… “Well, ” he says, “Everything is looking good.” I give Joy a look. “But” he continues, “you’re not out of the woods yet.” He asks me to lie on my back, he brings my feet together. “Your legs are the same length… good.” He says, “Let’s keep healing up and I think you’re going to be okay.”

“Okay, okay!” I’m thinking, “Better than okay!” As I get up, “Dr. Le, I’m feeling really good. I’ve been able to really get great range of motion and strength back into this leg.” I start to pull my leg up off the table and move it in a roundhouse motion. His smile turns serious. “I don’t want you doing that.”


“You do realize the bone is starting to heal and any load on that joint potentially compromises it, right?” Well, of course I know that but I’ve been thinking the muscles require work to stabilize the joint thereby reducing the load via lever counter resistance. “What about the muscles?” I ask.

“I’m not trying to help your muscles heal.”

“Can I use electronic muscle stimulation?”


“How about cold laser therapy?”


“Can I get in the pool yet?”

“Let’s wait another six weeks.”

“But six weeks… I’m going to lose a lot of muscle strength.”

“I’m not worried about your muscles… I’m concerned about your hip. You’ll get your muscles back but there’s no guarantee that your bone will heal. Give it time, give it rest.”

“I get it. Okay, one last question… Can I drive?”

“That’s up to you.”

“Yes!” I do a fist-pump, look over at Joy, there is no smile on her face.

As we’re driving out of the hospital, reflecting on the appointment, I’m feeling pretty good. I start to do a little dance in my seat… “I get to dri-Ive, I get to dri-Ive.” Joy doesn’t say anything… I can see she’s upset. “What’s the matter? I thought the appointment went well… He said the hip was looking good.” She nods slightly but she’s holding back tears. “What’s the matter?” She shakes her head no. I press, “Joy, what’s the matter? Is it because I said I get to drive and now I don’t need you to take care of me all the time?”

“You don’t get it! Listen to yourself. First, it’s not about driving. It’s about getting better. Second it’s not about me and what I want; it’s about you and what you need and doing it. Weren’t you paying attention?… In there, you were focused on your muscles getting better but it’s your bone that’s broken… Didn’t you hear your doctor? I don’t want you excited about driving… I want you excited about healing.”

After a few moments of quiet I begin to explain how hard it is to just sit and heal… I’m used to measuring progress… Training Peaks, Strava, Garmin Connect: After each swim, bike or run, I’d quickly look at the data: Distance, elevation, speed, heart rate, temperature/conditions, I make notes, I compare similar efforts, I determine what needs to happen next and I do it. How do you measure the healing of a something you cannot see, something you cannot compare, something so unfamiliar? To do so… you have to trust those who know better.

You’re right Joy… Sometimes, I say the darnedest things.

9 comments to You People Say the Darnedest Things!

  • Bob Wilcox says:

    That’s right, listen to your wife when you speak.

    • Dan says:

      I try, I try… but I’m a guy. Lord help those of us with the Y… chromosome!

  • Ed Jones says:

    Thanks Dan for sharing. I appreciate your honesty and willingness to share your victories and struggles. Blessings, Ed

    • Dan says:

      Thanks Ed, as much as I wish it was a victory… I know God teaches us in the struggles more.

  • Benjamin Beasley says:

    Dan, thank you for your post and I’ll pray for increased patience as you go through this time of healing. I was wondering, on the positive side, if you can recall and share instances when spectators really did encourage you by their actions and what they said to you. Thanks!

    • Dan says:

      Of course! and a great point too.

      Yes, there have been many times people have encouraged us with more unusual and motivating comments. Sometimes, it’s just the shear masses out on the course that gets you going. Sometimes it’s when you get real info on where you are in the race compared to your competitors such as, “There’s a guy 200 yards up the road in your age group.” or “You’re two minutes behind the leader.” That works really well. But mostly, the words… “Keep going, don’t quit, you can do this!” work the best.

      • Benjamin Beasley says:

        Thanks Dan, good info to know! Hope you’re progressing well in your `rehab assignment`. 😉

  • Cheryl Minardi says:

    Hi Dan! I’m currently unable to walk on my left leg/foot without a lot of pain, and after a few dr. appts, I’ve been told there is nothing anyone can do but wait for the leg and foot inflammation to subside by itself. (It’s a complication from my Crohn’s disease. And the last time I had this it stayed with me for 10 months) Wait? I hate waiting! I’ve got a life and big plans that includes my leg!! ugh! So I appreciate your honestly about finding the balance between staying positive and cheerful, and being realistic about what the healing really entails. I think we are all impatient to get on with it. I’ll be following your journey closely for clues on staying strong and looking forward ;0)

    • Dan says:

      Oh, Cheryl… I’m sorry to here that. You would think between your left leg and my right leg being out of commission we’d be able to figure out a solution. Oh, if it were that easy. In the mean time… I’ll do my best to keep things looking up.

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