A little restraint

When someone gets hurt from a bike fall or from a collision, it’s natural to want to know how they’re doing. However, well-meaning inquiries can impose a huge burden on the family members who may not have any information to share, especially when the extent of injuries is unknown. It’s incredibly stressful to be asked over and over about your loved one’s condition when the doctors haven’t even debriefed you on status, or when your loved one is battling for his life.

Moreover, family members may not want to share, especially with people who they may not even know. A terribly injured loved one is a huge psychological trauma. The last thing the family needs to also deal with are “How’s Bill doing?” text inquiries.

If you really care about the injured person and the family, consider the following.

  1. How close are you to the injured person? Super, super, super close? No? Then stand down.
  2. How close are you to the injured person’s family? Never met them? Then stand down.
  3. Do you have anything to offer besides prayers and “thinking of you” type support? No? Then stand down.
  4. Do you know they have a specific unmet need, and that you’re the person to fill it? Then consider reaching out, but not directly to the family.
  5. Have you been asked to do something by the family? No? Then stand down.
  6. Don’t post information on Facebook unless the family has asked you to.
  7. A lot of the time the family will have a very close friend who is with them at the hospital. If you know that person, contact him or her regarding hospital visits or other questions you may have, and spare the family the task of responding to countless questions.
  8. Remember that in the immediate aftermath of a catastrophic incident, the hospital and the closest family members/friends are usually taking care of the necessities. The tough part is after discharge, when your friend begins what is often a long and painful path to recovery. This is when visits, phone calls, your friendship and help can greatly ameliorate the brutal and plodding work of returning to normal.

These guidelines aren’t perfect, and there are always exceptions. But it will never ever hurt to really ask yourself twice, and then a third time, before you hit “send.”


21 thoughts on “A little restraint”

  1. Having extensive experience in this arena, on the downside of the bed. And being very close friends to a very injured individual. I abide by your guidelines above.
    The words here are patience… and faith/trust (not in an outside deity) but in the injured person themselves. And knowing them well enough — that you just KNOW they’re a fighter and the time will come to be part of their life again soon. When I do visit, I will ride my bike there to say “hey man, how are you feeling…? welcome back…. you scared the crap out of us. We love you.”

  2. All great points. The last one is especially key. Recovery can be a long, slow, and painful process. People can forget this while the person in recovery is reminded every day that it’s a long slog – often times without the care and attention they received immediately following the crash.

    1. channel_zero@msn.com

      If recovery is long and slow, oh man it can be lonely.

      Especially if the friends are a bunch of profamateurs who know you from riding, not in real life.

      Homemade comfort food they can stick freezer sometimes works, shepard’s pie, lasagne, soup…

  3. Michelle Landes

    True the ping to reAch out is strong! We love the guy so much it’s affected all our thoughts and hearts💔 Thanx for the calming advice Wanky !

  4. So much this! Although once I woke up and understood where I was and that I’d probably not be leaving the hospital any time soon, I *loved* receiving cards and random craft items from virtual strangers and long-distant “friends” who heard about my situation via FB, knew well enough to leave my family alone, but still wanted to send some tangible “thinking of you” bits of cheer. So, maybe there’s room for in the recovery process for good-intentioned crowds…

  5. After my weekend stack in the Sunshine Series I was only in the ambo/hospital for 3.5hrs, so didn’t get the above problems occurring thankfully.

    Have had a lot of contact from people via the pics I posted on the gram or my abbreviated Strava upload, which is nice.

    6 weeks off the bike with a broken right clavicle due to speed, sand and a tree. Remembering how to use a mouse left handed is fun.

  6. All our friends must have had that list memorized. Especially #8. For ever grateful for the visits, meals out-of-nowhere and friends “telecommuting” from our dining room table so my wife could go in to work herself knowing someone kept an eye on me after a really bad bike falling off incident. Bad memories have faded, but the good ones are gold.

  7. Good post, Seth. Don’t forget the “caring person” who wants to buy the injured rider’s equipment as soon as possible. Happened to me awhile back when I got my bell rung. Guy wanted my TT disc wheel……..

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