Grateful Survivor - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1791720

Grateful Survivor

I have been bicycling in Southampton since 1960, when I was 6 years old. Cycling has taken me through northern Europe and across the United States. My bike buddy is my husband. We use all safety measures. I glance often at my handlebar rearview and at the pavement ahead. We have always returned home in good health.

April 12, 2021, started like any other day. Mid-morning, I got into my favorite biking tights and bright-colored jacket, strapped on my helmet, and headed out to Big Fresh Pond Road. I was found late morning on Scotts Road by a young woman driving from the North Sea Beach Colony toward town. She described me as lying in the middle of the road, my bike on the side of the road. She called 911 and waited with me.

I have no memory of even leaving home.

How many times have I heard ambulances heading toward Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, their sirens at full blast? Possibly it was a thousand in my 67 years. Then, it was my turn.

I was diagnosed with my first-ever concussion, along with hip and shoulder damage, and released three days later. The hospital set me up for physical, cognitive and speech therapies. My husband, two daughters, extended family and friends have been my life support.

A severe concussion is no fun. However, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital has made the experience one of hope and ease. The young staff I work with are eager and well-trained. They challenge me at every step and cheer the advancement to the next one.

At first, I was disinclined to be in a “public” place like the hospital, given the COVID times we live in. However, I quickly realized that Stony Brook Southampton has excellent measures in place to make sure all who enter the hospital are well-screened and wear protective masks. Hand sanitizers are everywhere.

I have lived in Southampton my whole life and have been in Southampton Hospital as a newborn, a visitor, given birth there — and now am a grateful survivor. I give the whole staff, in every capacity, huge thanks for all they do to help the sick and injured heal.

And a halo goes to the woman who found me.

Hilary Herrick Woodward