Standing in his garage, looking at his bright blue bicycle, Ralph Holte of Fargo, North Dakota, can hardly believe how long his last real bike trip lasted.
“I went for a bike ride August 21st. Came home October 21st. So 60 days,” said Holte.
The bike ride
His was an unplanned endurance test though.
“It was sunny. It was a gorgeous day,” said Holte. “I thought, you know, it’s such a nice day. I might as well go for a bicycle ride and then come home and cook dinner and then barbecue and have a fun afternoon. So I jumped on my bike and went for a half hour bike ride.”
He headed toward a path near his home, not far from the Red River.
“It’s a covered, foliaged bike path,” said Holte. “I just started riding along and the next thing you know, I’m flat on my back on the ground and had the wind knocked out of me, and tried to figure out where am I at?”
Holte’s wheel had gone off the edge of the path. He overcorrected, and slammed onto the ground. That one tumble caused him a laundry list of injuries.
“I ended up with a clavicle fracture, nine ribs fractured, pelvic fracture, jammed the head of the femur into the ascetabulum (hipbone socket) and then cracked the superior and inferior rami on my pelvis,” said Holte.
Holte — who used to be an anesthesiologist at Sanford himself before retiring in 2015 — worked with Kenny Chantasi, D.O., and the Sanford rehab team to slowly recover from his injuries, which Dr. Chantasi admits could have been worse.
“The rehabilitation process can be lengthy,” Dr. Chantasi said. “His fractures and injuries were quite involved. However, he’s quite fortunate to have been wearing that helmet and have only sustained a mild concussion. He didn’t have a more severe brain injury or a spinal cord injury that would’ve probably resulted in a longer recovery period.”
Holte stayed positive during his treatment, and worked hard according to Dr. Chantasi. He also lapped up the love shown to him both by the Sanford rehab team, as well as some of his old co-workers.
“I had a nurse that I worked with 40-some years ago, and she came in and I said, ‘Well, I recognized the voice, but you got gray hair! When did that happen?’ Then she said, ‘You got a bald head! When did that happen?’” said Holte.
“I had a lot of people that were pulling for me and working for me, you know, and all the anesthesia department came and visited me, and brought cake and cookies, and postcards and balloons. I can’t say enough about the care I received, the physicians, the nurses, the physical therapists, all the ancillary staff. It was cool. I was treated very well.”
After 60 days in either the hospital or rehab facility, Holte finally returned from his bike ride. He was still quite sore, and required a walker to get around for a while, but he was home.
“I was just so thankful for everybody that did everything to help me. You know, I could have been worse. I could have been paralyzed. I could have had a head injury. I could have been in a nursing home the rest of my life, not knowing anybody. I’m pretty lucky,” said Holte.
- Hospital rehab ‘gets patients back to their life’
- Bicycling injuries leave man thankful for care
- Bicycling safely is a great way to enjoy summer and fitness