After his pickup collided with a semi on March 3, a former Elgin man was in critical condition, fighting for his life.
Lincoln Schindler is now back at his Norfolk home and on the road to recovery.
"I went from almost dead to walking with a cane in four months," Schindler said.
He was injured when the pickup he was driving rear-ended a semi truck on Highway 275 in Norfolk. Schindler broke both of his arms and his right leg; had severe facial lacerations; and sustained other internal injuries, including a brain bleed.
He was initially taken to Faith Regional in Norfolk, but flown to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha later that day. Schindler was hospitalized at UNMC for more than two weeks, 11 of those days in the intensive care unit.
"My left arm was broken and compound," he said. "My right arm was broken and my forearm pushed through my wrist. I am right-hand dominant, but have very little use of my right hand. My right leg was broken and parts of it were shattered."
Schindler had seven separate surgeries during his stay at UNMC, and then was transferred to Madonna Rehabilitation Hosptial, where he worked to regain his strength and relearn skills until his release on June 15.
He said Madonna therapists helped him with speech therapy, which was "basically a way to retrain your brain's thinking process," as well as regain the use and strength of his arms and legs. Schindler said he is still dealing with quite a bit of pain, but was glad when he passed a test which allows him to drive.
"They are not just there to help with your therapies, they are there to listen and so much more," Schindler said. "I can't say enough about how great they were at Madonna."
He is also thankful for the many visits and cards from his family and friends.
"I had a lot of support from my family and friends," Schindler said. "My dad came to visit me every day for the first three weeks I was there. That meant a lot. And I heard from people I hadn't talked to in a long time. It's amazing how people rally. There are so many that got me through that time. It makes you feel loved. It gives you faith in humanity."
Although he and his wife Heather currently reside in Norfolk, he has many ties to the Antelope County area. As an operations manager for Wilbur-Ellis in Orchard, the father of 10 children, and an Elgin native who later graduated from Ewing High School, Schindler has many friends and family in the area.
He is planning a "Thank You Party" in Clearwater to show his gratitude. Schindler would like to invite his friends and family to the event on Saturday, July 9 at 5 p.m. in the Clearwater Legion. Barbeque pork sandwiches and salads will be served.
"It's my way of reaching out to everyone who helped me," he said.
According to a spokesperson at Madonna, Schindler was a great help to many others by volunteering his time during his stay there.
He downplayed his role, but admitted that he helped with some data entry and offered his support to other patients.
When one of the patients would become agitated, Schindler would go talk to him "and just be his friend."
"We would all eat together, and I would just talk to everyone," he said. "It just gives everyone a support system. There is no one better to discuss your problems, frustrations, or even your accomplishment than someone who's been there."
Schindler said helping others helped him occupy his time, but he did it because "it was the right thing to do."
"My goal in life is to be a good man," he said. "Life is so short. I just went back on Sunday to visit my friends."
Schindler is happy to be back in Norfolk and doing his outpatient therapy there now.
"I still have a long road ahead of me, but I'm home with my family now. That's the best thing."
Those interested in assisting with his medical expenses, please click here for Schindler's Go Fund Me account.
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