By Patricia McMorrow, CaringBridge staff writer
Bryan Joas of Eagan, MN, doesn’t think much about the hit-and-run driver who slammed into his bike from behind, just before sunset on March 8, 2016, sending him to the hospital for 90 days, with a broken back, hips and ribs, damaged lungs, liver, kidneys and intestines.
“There’s no reason to dwell on it and be mad about it, because I can’t change it,” Bryan said. “Finding out who hit me doesn’t help me recover any faster.”
Bryan said he believes his choice to move on, without anger, has helped him heal, and that his decision to let go of something he can’t control might even have put the healing of his mind and soul on a faster track than restoration of his physical health.
Back pain and abdominal issues persist for the husband and dad of two, including an infection that landed Bryan back in the hospital for a week, almost a year to the day after his homecoming.
“Recovery has been a very, very slow process. But at least it is moving forward,” Bryan said. “You just take it day by day, and whatever the issue of the day is, you get through that to get to the next day.”
Bryan got back on his bike for the first time about 7 months after the crash. He said at that point the bike saddle was more comfortable than walking.
Before the accident, Bryan typically rode 40 to 50 miles, three or four times a week. He commuted to work on his bike about 100 days a year.
In fact, he was headed home from his job at a software company when he was hit from behind by what is believed to be a silver or light-colored pickup with loud exhaust.
An $11,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the hit-and-run driver remains unclaimed.
Today, Bryan estimates he is at about 25% of his former biking capacity. “I’m just taking it very slow,” he said. “I’m not putting any pressure on myself that says, ‘I have to ride today.’”
In the meantime, Bryan and his wife, Shauna, and their kids, Griffin and Elyse, are focused on helping re-fill the blood bank that was essential in keeping Bryan alive.
And they hosted a Minnesota segment of the international Ride of Silence that honors and remembers those injured or killed while cycling.
Bryan’s demolished bike is still in his garage, surrounded by a year’s worth of the odds-and-ends every family accumulates.
Like the fuzzy first memories of his recovery, it takes a minute for Bryan to fish out the crumpled frame and wheels.
And that’s just fine. With his recovery—physical, mental and spiritual—on track, Bryan is moving at exactly the right speed.