May 10, 2017. Day 38

Sanremo to Km 631 Via Aurelia – 41 kms. Site of collision

Unfortunately today’s blog post may be the last one for a while, as our trip has come to an unfortunate and unexpected halt. While cycling up a hill on a relatively calm road on a sunny day, Paul was suddenly hit from behind by a car. After being thrown from his bicycle and landing on the road, Lois, who had been cycling behind and witnessed the collision, feared the worst. In the minutes and hours following, a terrifying trip to a local trauma centre and hours of tests and waiting began to reassure us that we were incredibly, incredibly lucky.

In fact three days later, Paul is sitting up in his hospital bed, smiling, and looking forward to continuing our trip in one form or another.

Paul and the best espresso since Spain!

Given the potential for a far, far more tragic outcome, coming out smiling is quite simply a marvel. This is not to say that Paul emerged unscathed, as he has cracked three ribs, had two small pneumothoraces and one crushed vertebrae (D5), numerous cuts and abrasions and has been dealing with some quite significant nerve pain across his shoulders and arms from oedema of the cervical spinal cord.  While this has improved in the days since the accident, it will be a while before we can consider getting back on the road. We are grateful for the very high quality care that Paul is receiving at the Ospedale Santa Corona in Pietra Ligure.

We will be flying home to Vancouver in the next few days where Paul will likely face spinal surgery and some time to recover.

It is a frustrating and disappointing end to a journey that we felt had really just begun. If you’ve been following our blog over the past weeks, you’ve experienced with us the lows (struggles against hills and winds) and the highs (delightful conversations with locals, wonderful food, and gorgeous landscapes). We had reached the point where we had settled into our daily routine, once again feeling that waking up to another day of cycling was normal. It will be a difficult adjustment.

Yet this is not the end. Though the next few weeks and months will be a challenge, we will spend much of it looking forward to picking up where we left off. That may not include bicycles, but it will still include circling the world, exploring those countries we’ve never had a chance to see, raising awareness of Parkinson’s, chasing the perfect espresso, and enjoying the life that we have once again been reminded is so vitally precious. Thank you to all of you who have followed us on this journey, we hope you’ll pick up with us again when we’re ready to go once again.

Paul’ bike

23 thoughts on “May 10, 2017. Day 38”

  1. What a terrifying experience. Happy to see Paul is improving. Take care, both of you.

  2. Like I said in my last post……no matter how inclement the conditions……Paul always has a smile on his face!! Remember…….tough times never last, but tough people do!! Here’s to one of the toughest and most amazing men I know!! We are all rooting for you…… after all………….there is only one Uncle Paul!!! xoxoxoxo

  3. Such a scary situation. You are both such an inspiration. Wishing you all the best during the healing process Paul. At least I know Vancouver has some pretty fantastic coffee and the most loving and caring cheerleaders on your recovery team. Thinking about all of you. xox

  4. I am so sorry to hear that your dream journey has been interrupted, but very relieved to hear of a relatively ‘good’ ending to what could have ended far, far, worse. Paul, I wish you a safe (and comfortable) trip back home, good luck with the upcoming surgeries and lots of wishes for a speedy recovery.

  5. We were so sorry to hear about your injuries and the end of your amazing trip (for now). It’s nice to see you looking so well in the picture so soon after the accident though! Wishing you a safe trip home and a quick recovery.

  6. So inspiring and a reminder to us all that life is precious, you never know what each day holds and to keep going. All the best in your recovery and much hope for the future.

  7. Both of you are an inspiration to us in Ottawa! It’s diffcult for us to understand how some drivers pay little attention to cyclists. Paul, we wish you get the best care and support during your recovery close to your family

  8. I was having lunch with Maritia in Vancouver just 2 weeks ago and she was telling me more about your amazing bike ride… I feel awful for you that this happened – but am very grateful to hear that everyone is alright. I’ve been trying to make a donation online and was having some trouble with my card, but will try again today! Happy Mothers Day to you, Lois! Take care

  9. Hi Paul!!! We all are wishing you a fast recovery, looking forward to seeing you this summer! a big hug!!

  10. If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;

    Rudyard Kipling said it well …… Good for you Paul! You may be beaten down but you are not beaten! Lots of love, Brian

  11. Hi Lois and Paul , so sorry to hear of the accident and hope you are continuing to recover well and will be able to resume your adventure soon. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help back here in Vancouver.
    All the very best, Paul and Chi

  12. Paul & Lois,

    What a terrible thing to happen! We are so saddened to hear of this accident. Thankfully you have the support of one another on this trip, and judging from the photo you shared, Paul seems to be strong and in good spirits.

    Here are the Parkinson Society BC office, we are thinking of you both and wishing Paul a speedy recovery. We hope for a safe and smooth journey back home to Vancouver once Paul is well enough.

    Take care and rest well!

  13. Oh!!! Nous sommes tristes et désolés . Nous espérons que Paul va vite se rétablir de ses blessures et pensons bien fort à vous deux. Nous souhaitons que vous pourrez reprendre votre voyage . Nous vous souhaitons bon retour à la maison .
    Avec toute notre amitié et à bientôt. Nous surveillerons le blog pour avoir de bonnes nouvelles?
    Véronique et Yves

  14. We would simply like to join everyone in adding our warm thoughts toward Paul’s recovery. Hugs to you both. May your flight home be speedy and comfortable. xxoo Alix and Clive

  15. So sorry to hear this news. Best wishes for a safe trip home and a speedy, complete recovery. You are an inspiration.

  16. You both have spread the word so the public is more aware of what Parkinson’s is about. It would work for it to be a relay of cyclists doing the travelling & you doing the management of the journey. Just a thought! Thank you both.
    Take care.
    Kathy Morrison

  17. Paul – I am so so sorry to hear this awful news. This is a cyclist’s worst fear but it’s even more frightful coming from you. When we met over espresso in Vancouver last November, your anticipation of this trip was clear from the big smile on your face. I know you’ll be up and running (literally) soon – so here’s to a speedy and full recovery (and a good coffee awaits you here at our farm should you make the trip to southern Ontario).

  18. Sending all our love from Birmingham and wishing you a complete recovery Paul. Such a shame a great adventure has coming to a shuddering halt. But you both live to fight another day and the adventure continuing. Look forward to seeing you soon.
    Toi Toi!,
    Sharon and Charles xx

  19. Oh Paul and Lois, we are so very sorry to hear of your accident. What a pity. I hope you are recovering and able to go home soon. We away until end of June and will contact you when we get back. We send you love and healing thoughts. Claudia and Don

  20. Paul and Lois,

    we are so sorry to hear about the accident and are sending our thoughts from Stockholm. Your journey and the work you do is very inspiring. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    / Erik and Ann-Sofi

  21. Greetings Paul and Lois,

    So terribly sorry to hear of Paul’s accident. Good to know you are back in your own medical system and community, which we hope helps speed recovery. We wish you all the best for a complete recuperation.

    Margo and Chris (back from Portugal since about three weeks ago)

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