Michael Dietzman Accident — update 5/16

5/16/14 Update

From Deb:

Many have asked about how they can offer assistance to us as Mike recuperates from his bike accident. Mike’s rehab will require many weeks/months and as we get our household back together, we accept your offers of help. Though it is not always easy for us to ask for help but we know its important ūüôā

Anyone interested in helping out with food, chores, errands etc. can log into our Caring Bridge site and see a calendar (Planner) which details out some of our requests. Feel free to email or call if you have other ideas or ways in which you would like to offer assistance and support through this challenging time.

Here is the link to our (Mike Dietzman and Deb Sussex’s) Caring Bridge Planner

Mike is interested in having the companionship of his cycling pals; to hang out, talk about cycling, life, rehab, personal experiences. He feels such a bond with the Wheel Club crew. He is flexible on “visiting hours” even though I have slots listed on our Planner as Mon, Wed, Fri morning. Anyone interested can just give him a call, text, or email.

Deb (218) 235-8828 [email protected]
Mike (218) 343-9411 [email protected]

Thank you so much for the incredible crew of dedicated cyclists in Durango! We just love living here and while it has only been 1 1/2 years, we feel like we have friendships that are strong and meaningful beyond measure. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.


4/29/14 Update:

From Doug Eagle:
I spent the night at Mercy with Mike last night. After seven nights in the hospital there’s a chance he could be going home tomorrow (Wednesday). He’s doing OK but still very sore, sleeping a few hours at a time and then waking up for more¬†pain medication. He’s able to stand for a few minutes at a time and this morning took a five minute walk around the halls. He put on a smile for this picture this morning but most of the time seems pretty consumed with his body yelling “Ouch!”.¬†He’s very appreciative of the support he’s gotten from friends, family, the Durango Wheel Club and the cycling community. He wanted me to pass on to the B ride tonight that he’s looking forward to getting back on the bike and for us to be safe¬†out there. -DE

4/27/14 Update:

I visited Mike today at the hospital and he is in pretty good spirits considering how much of his upper body is broken. Fortunately his legs are fine, so someday he will ride again! Today when I visited he was sitting up and finishing soup. Sitting up is a big deal since the pain in his chest is excruciating. Right now the hardest part is nighttime and it would be great if a couple people could be with him Monday night. Please send me an email if you think you might be able to help Monday night. -Spencer

Earlier today:¬†Sarah Tescher reports: Friday night was covered by Caroline Feller and Brian Scarpella. ¬†Saturday was covered by Mike’s bro [Peter]¬†and then Andy Snow. ¬†Sunday is still open! , but hoping that possibly Mike’s bro and I can handle it. ¬†Deb thinks he may be release from hospital on Monday! ¬†

From Deb’s latest CaringBridge Post: “Saturday morning in room #211 of Mercy Ortho floor.¬† The weather is spitting out there and its fun to see some snow flying.¬† Good to get moisture to feed the spring and feed the soul.¬† Mike was able to look out a window for the first time in four days, but he had to work hard for it.¬† With the expertise and guiding encouragement of the Physical Therapists, he bravely sat up, stood, and walked out of his room and down the hall and back.¬† It was incredible!¬† Especially after a bumpy night of fitful sleep and going a bit too long without his pain meds; which is a delicate line to ride.¬† So he did a three sessions of PT and two involved walking out to the hallway and back.¬† The therapists are super impressed with his progress and determination as well as his strength and attentiveness (does that surprise you!)…certainly not to be taken for granted.”

Click here to go to caringbridge.org for more, including pics!

4/25/14 Update:

Last night I spoke with Deb and she said that Mikes doctors are encouraged by his progress but that Mike is in a tremendous amount of pain due to the extent of his injuries; the 7 broken ribs and broken vertebra (T7) make breathing uncomfortable and sleeping and sitting up painful. -Spencer

To help: Friends of Mike and Deb are asked to help out by signing up for night shifts at the hospital¬†Friday, Saturday or Sunday nights for the 9pm to 1am shift or the 1am to 8am shift (or even part of it). Please send Sarah Tescher an email if you think you can do this: [email protected] This would allow Deb to get some much needed sleep! Also, Deb set up¬†a Caringbridge.org site for friends to send words of encouragement, keep in touch and for Mike and Deb to share info. Go to www.caringbridge.org and search Michael Dietzman to get to his page. ¬†-Spencer

The following is from the caringbridge.org Michael Dietzman site:

Gamer Changer
By Deborah Sussex

Thank you for your patience!

We appreciate your love and support as these past two days have been dynamic and demanding. We know you CARE and want to hear from us.

Tuesday night is a local “group ride” for Mike and he loves that ride; the cyclists, the comradery, the intensity. It has become an extension of his long-time Tuesday night ride from back in northern Minnesota with another great crew.
Coming to the end of the evenings ride, who would have thought it would be a Game Changer of a night. Despite the damage to his body as a result of a big bike crash, we remain grateful that Mike is alive and appearing cognitively sound with improving mobility that holds promise through a long road of recovery.

The laundry list of injuries is extensive and we’ll list them because we know folks appreciate having as clear an understanding as possible. The jist of it is…
Right side displaced collarbone fx
Right side comminuted scapula fx
Right side mastoid fx (base of skull)
Multiple rib fractures on both sides
Thoracic spine (#7) compression fracture
Lacerations and road rash
OK, so while those injuries don’t paint a pretty picture, please know that Mike is working hard to get better and heal.
After one night in ICU, he was moved to the Ortho floor (Mercy Regional Med Ctr, Durango) on Wednesday night and will likely be here through the weekend. He is currently getting his second MRI and several more Xrays to assess the myriad of fractures and monitor any changes in his head via CT scan.

We have some excellent medical resources/staff here in Durango, yeah! We are so grateful! As of now, we understand that the T-7 spine compression fracture will NOT require surgery. The plan is to continue wearing the “clam-shell” (chest splint) for 10+ weeks of stability and healing to manage the thoracic and rib fractures. Wearing this will also support his multiple broken ribs which are currently the chief complaint for pain, especially when he tries to cough and loosen some of his lung congestion; ouch!

Now, 48 hours, post-accident, Mike has made great strides; he has sat up twice in bed and stood on his feet twice. That is a huge improvement since yesterday when being upright caused unbearable pain that turned him grey and sweaty!

The appetite is working decent and liquid/soft food is going down OK. Mike LOVES fresh veggie juices, berry smoothies (no sugar) and home made, blended soups — hint, hint.

Many folks have expressed interest i visiting Mike at the hospital and your presence and encouragement is very uplifting. We ask that starting Friday, April 25, you plan your visit between 11:00 am – 1:00pm and on through the weekend.

Your healing energy, prayers, positive vibes; however you wish to channel your grace upon us, is greatly appreciated.
Mike & Deb

PS. Link to Durango Herald statement about the accident in today’s paper;

4/24/14 Update:

I spoke to Deb last night and Mike is in ok spirits but also a lot of pain. He is out of the ICU and will be in the hospital for a few days at least. He is eating soup and drinking fluids. If you want to visit Mike it would be best do do it in the afternoon after the docs have finished with him. And, please be aware that he¬†can’t have¬†everyone all at once. Feel free to send me an email if you want to help out Mike and Deb during the next few days -Spencer

4/23/14 Update:

On Tuesday evening¬†Mike Dietzman was heading back into Durango on his bike with other riders and was hit by an¬†oncoming vehicle who made a left turn into his path. Mike has extensive injuries including fractures to his skull and spine along with many other broken bones and various lacerations… On the upside his brain is checking out OK and he is conscious and talking. If I get any updates on Mikes condition I will post them here ASAP. – Spencer


The following email is from Gerry Geraghty:

On the second lap of our ride on Hyw 160, a young women turned across the eastbound lane from the center lane . One cyclist swerved out of the way and Michael Dietzman hit the right rear side of the car.

A doctor who happened to be riding in the group was with Michael checking his vital signs until emergency crews arrived. At one point his heart rate was dangerously low. The doctor told Michael that he thought he was going to lose him. Thankfully the heart rate returned to safe levels. He was also unconscious for 5 minutes.

After Michael was put in the ambulance, he was able to talk with the EMTs

While I was visiting him today at the hospital, his doctor came into his room to give him the details of the crash and his physical condition at the crash site.

Mike has 7 broken ribs , which are very painful. His collarbone was broken. One of his arteries was almost severed. One nurse said that it was a miracle that Mike is alive.

Cyclists Jim Lanier is the PT that will be working with Jim. He will be undergoing a number of tests to determine his treatment plan.

His wife Deb will be putting a Caring Bridge web site for medical updates

Pray for Mike’s healing..

Gerry Geraghty

River Run for Orphans
Phoenix Fellowship – Sober Living Recovery Home

[email protected]