On the train homeward!

Howdy (and good morning!)

I hope you all are having a great weekend thus far, and that you haven’t begun to lose interest in my posts since I’m not in motion right now! Well, I am, but this way of traveling is a good bit more sedentary, haha. I really have a hard time just sitting anywhere.. Just ten minutes ago I thought of a great idea: they should have treadmills on Amtrak trains! I’ll think about suggesting it to the company, haha.

27 hours of on-bike time. Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. 325 miles. 18,000 feet of climbing. 27 gears. 5 days. 4 nights. 3 campsites. 2 flat tires. 1 Surly CrossCheck bicycle and a Giro Atmos helmet.

It’s time that I put all this in perspective: I spent 2 weeks in a coma. 14 days… 336 hours. 2 weeks of post-traumatic amnesia, when despite being responsive, I had no capability to put things in any perspective whatsoever. 1.5 months in hospital care. I cannot recall how many months I was in outpatient rehabilitation.. And finally let’s put this last part in major perspective: for many (most) others who suffer a severe traumatic brain injury, hospital care time is even longer. Their futures are uncertain; not even doctors will give loved ones shreds of hope or optimism.. And finally, when a TBI survivor regains capability and attempts to rejoin society, he/she finds himself at the mercy of a disability that goes unseen and often unrecognized.

I think 3000+ miles of mountains, heat, cold, flat tires, and sore muscles are still nothing compared to what so many fellow TBI survivors are so often unable to vocalize as their uncertain and challenging lives.

And lastly: we ARE capable of doing anything. I use a grand number of unspoken compensatory strategies every day to make up for the deficits that were caused by my diffuse traumatic brain injury. I promise you. By connecting and inspiring others, I hope that I help make a few lives much better. And then someday, they’ll pay it forward. That’s my mission.

My thank-you list continues to grow.. Huge thank you goes to Bill and Lauren, who let me stay at their house and eat up all their food, just outside Pittsburgh. The laughs were endless. On the topic of food, I must thank April, the cheery, hard worker at Subway who handed me some delicious cookies to tide me on my last day of riding. And while I’m at it, thank you, Jim, for the excellent conversation while I warmed myself up in the Subway.

Everyone: keep doing an amazing job of telling friends, coworkers, family, patients, [anybody] about DougTrails. I’ll do my best to continue to update this blog until I’m back on the pedals and headed to rehab centers around the country in June!

Happy Trails,
Doug Markgraf

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