saying thank you

This afternoon, Kris and I visited the Neuro-ICU at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.  Harborview is the premier trauma center in the Northwest.  I spent some quality time there two and a half years ago, following my bicycle accident.


I’ve done this a couple of times before.  There’s something very powerful about literally thanking someone “for everything”.  Too many of their patients don’t make it.  Others are airlifted to Seattle from miles away.  We live less than fifteen miles away, and it’s a great way for me to continue my own healing.  According to the staff members we spoke to today, it helps them a great deal as well to hear some success stories.

I brought along a letter to them, with some pictures – of me unconscious in the NICU bed in July of 2008, as well as more recent ones of my family and I having fun and living life. 

My name is Paul David, and I was a patient in the Harborview ICU in July of 2008. While riding my bicycle to work, I had been hit by a pickup truck.

My injuries included a collapsed lung, many broken facial bones, broken ribs, broken scapula and collarbone, and lost vision in my left eye.  More seriously, I’d incurred a Traumatic Brain Injury.  In addition to fractures in my skull, I’d damaged an artery on the left side of my head, which bled into the gap between my skull and dura.  I required an immediate craniotomy to stop the bleeding and save my life.  A portion of my skull was removed to permit my injured brain to swell and then heal.  I was placed into a medically-induced coma for about a week to permit this healing to take place. I spent a month in your care, and in your hands I began the process of healing.

I’m very lucky to be here.  Through an amazing combination of excellent medical care, good fortune, and wonderful love and support, I’ve been able to recover a good deal from this.  The folks at Harborview were a very big part of this. From the time the EMT’s brought me in, I received excellent medical care and was treated with great dignity. My family was kept well-informed and treated with caring, honesty, and respect.

Today, I’m able to work, swim, run, drive, and to be an active, engaged parent and spouse.  Each day I wake up knowing that I’m one of the most fortunate people on the planet to be here, and to be doing what I love, with the people I love. Please know that what you do makes a huge difference – and I am one story of many.

Thank you – quite literally – for everything from my family and I.

signed – the solem-david family


My intent was to illustrate to them that what they do matters to lots of people, including the patient’s family members.  I got to tell them how much I appreciated being able to watch my kids grow up, seeing them perform in a recent holiday play, and to do the things I love, with the people I love. 

Having family members along with me makes the visit that much more significant too.  Seeing Kris swap stories with the nurses was great.

This time of the year, medical folks and first responders alike tend to answer more calls, and to see more patients.  The hope is that by hearing how their great work matters, it will help them work through some of the tougher times.

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