Completing the Journey
by Emma Bishop | May 18, 2018 | General
Three years ago, Scott Johnson received a call that every parent lives in fear of
A road cyclist for the past three years, Johnson of Columbus, Ohio was going about his day when he received a phone call from his daughter. Her words, “Did you see the email?” was all Johnson needed to know something was very wrong.
“Our son, Ben was living in Bogota, Colombia at the time with his wife Alejandra,” recalls Johnson. “That morning Alejandra had sent a family addressed email.”
‘Ben had an accident on his bike. They have taken him to the hospital. We hope he wakes up.’
As an experienced internist/hospitalist, Johnson had extensive experience with trauma patients.
“I found her simple words terrifying.” He confides.
Johnson immediately booked a flight down to Bogota not knowing what he would find.
“On arriving at the hospital I learnt that Ben went out of sight on a descent during a routine training ride to the mountains and was discovered lying unresponsive on the roadside.
He had suffered a brain injury called diffuse axonal injury. A common result of helmeted high velocity trauma and occurs when there is a twisting of the brain inside the skull at impact.”
Arriving at the hospital 15 hours after Ben had been found, Johnson drew hope that during that time, his son had begun to “wake up” and had started withdrawing from stimuli, murmuring words and following simple commands.
“I knew that this kind of rapid progression was the most reliable sign of a good prognosis, and I suppose, typical of any parent, I had high hopes.” Johnson says.
Less than a week later, as soon as he could move and swallow, Johnson and Alejandro took Ben home.
“All the rehab was done at home. I am amazed by Alejandro’s strength during his rehab. There was never any question of what they had or may lose. Her focus was all about here is Ben and he is going to get better.”
Due to relocate from Bogota to NYC last year in May, following the accident in April relocation was postponed to August when Ben was strong enough to make the move.
“It was six months before Ben became Ben again. Day by day and week by week he returned to the Ben we all knew.”
Twelve months after the accident Ben secured a new job at Staten Island City College, where he has been working for the past semester. Knowing the outcome could have been so much different makes it hard to recall those months of not knowing what the future may hold for his son.
“To see him where he is now is so gratifying,” Johnson proudly says.
As for getting back on the bike that was definitely not something anyone was expecting him to do anytime soon.
“He just went and did it, and only then told me about it,” recalls Johnson.
Dad feels he has to ‘a certain degree’, let go of the competitiveness and perhaps as a testament to his renewed passion, Ben posed the idea to ride GFNY NYC together, as in really together.
“He will be my domestique! I am looking at Sunday as a celebration of his life and mine. He has ridden the course a couple of times recently and tells me it is beautiful, so whatever the weather Gods throw at us we are looking forward to completing this journey together.”