Monday, June 29, 2009

"I must be crazy."

What makes a middle age guy like me who commutes by bike only 18-20 miles per day think that he can ride across the country? To be truthful, I’m more than a weekend rider and over the past two years, I’ve logged more than 4000 miles per year. Also, as a member of the Central Indiana Bicycling Association (CIBA), I’ve done my share of hard weekly training rides and long weekend club rides around Indianapolis. What I haven’t done is ride at least 100 miles per day for even two consecutive days much less 36! And unlike the TREK bike route across the country, central Indiana is flat!

To think that I can cover 3280 miles and 170,000 feet of climbing in 36 days of riding…I must be crazy!

Getting Started

“You’re a good man. You have taught us a lot about how to live our lives. We won’t forget you.”

Over the past 10 years I’ve repeated these words many times to our dying patients. Now it is time to make good on the promise that we haven’t forgotten. On September 14, 2009 I will begin a 3280 mile cross-country bicycle “ride to remember” in order celebrate our 10th anniversary and to commemorate the lives of more than 3000 patients who have been touched by Wishard Health Service’s palliative care program.

This blog will focus some attention on the preparation, adventure and challenge of trying to pedal across the country (“the ride”), but primarily, we will center our story on the lives of our patients (“to remember”). Patients call us into being as health care professionals. If people did not get sick or need help, we would not need doctors, hospitals or palliative care programs.

Patients will always remain at the center of what we do. Despite our work with the dying, we believe that what matters most is the living—and the difference that each of these people have made, not only to us, but to their family and friends—and to those who have loved them.