Veteran Denver private investigator Rick Johnson, 68, says “be grateful for what you have” after a stroke almost killed him. Paralyzed on his left side and confined to a wheelchair, Johnson says with extensive physical therapy he’ll be walking again and plans to get back to work, albeit with a reduced schedule, writes Simon Crittle.
How are you?
I’ve been in a facility since the middle of January. I’m paralyzed on the left side. I cannot walk. Other than that, I feel OK. PT is pretty tough, learning to walk again. I’m lucky to be alive. I almost died. When I got to the hospital they were going to call a priest. This was a brain bleeding (hemorrhagic) stroke. They’re the kind that kill people. It almost killed me.
I was at home talking to my wife. I’d had a stroke before so she knew what was happening. She called 911 before I hit the ground.
What’s the prognosis?
I am continuing to work. I will get back to work. I will walk again. I may be in physical therapy the rest of my life. That’s how bad this was. My last stroke was about five years ago. That was a clot stroke. This was a brain bleed. There is a huge difference.
What do you think of the bill to renew licensing for private investigators currently before the State House?
My view is that we should get rid of licensing. We should have never had it in the first place. There was no reason to introduce it five years ago and there is no reason to renew it now. Let me tell you who benefits from this. It benefits the investigator who has no experience. They can say “I have a license.” A license is recognition, as bad as you might be. Big deal. If that’s all you have to offer, you shouldn’t be a private eye. It is a fraud on the public. Seriously.
What’s going to happen with your private investigator academy?
I’m going to continue it. We had the academy before licensing. We had it after. But because of the virus, the spring academy has been canceled. The next one will be in the fall. Ryan (Ross) was one of my first academy students. Sean Meade, the former LA cop who works for Ryan, has been through. I’ve had a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter run through that academy, Dan Luzadder. He’s probably one of the best reporters in the world.
Has the experience of having a stroke changed your priorities?
You’d be a fool if you didn’t learn something from almost dying. What did I learn? Be grateful for what you have. I’ve also thought about what I am going to change. I own an office building. I’m going to sell that. A lot of people already know that. I am going to cut back tremendously. But I’ll be back.
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