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Old 10-19-06, 11:57 PM   #1
bernmart
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post-crash crisis (long)

Sorry for the cross-post from the 50-plus forum, but I met a few of you on the Cool Breeze, and I thought you'd like to know about this.

I rode The Cool Breeze century (my first) on August 19. Felt surprisingly good physically the next day, so went for an easy club ride. Almost back to the start point I crashed. First time since starting serious cycling 1 1/2 years ago. I landed hard on my head. My helmet was split, but aside from minor road rash I felt no symptoms. No headache, no double vision, nothing.

Last week I started having trouble walkiing normally, was exhausted all the time, couldn't type well. My wife worried that I'd had a stroke. I finally booked an appt. with my doctor, who examined me for ten minutes and sent me to the hospital for a CAT Scan, which revealed a subdural hematoma pressing on my brain. I had emergency brain surgery that night.

It went well, and I was back home in only a few days. I'm waiting for a follow-up scan to show whether the brain had re-expanded to its normal size. Meanwhile I feel fine. But I'm concerned that I won't quite get back to where I was, and that I might be warned off cycling because of the risk of re-injury, or whatever.

I've heard one story already of a motorcycle racer who had a similar post-crash injury, and bounced back completely. But he's thirty years younger than I am, so I wonder how this all looks to members of this forum.

Any reality checks, uplifiting anecdotes, sensible advice, etc. welcome
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Old 10-20-06, 12:02 AM   #2
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WOW! No advice, just some well wishes for a complete and speedy recovery.
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Old 10-20-06, 12:03 AM   #3
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Best wishes and best of luck!
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Old 10-20-06, 12:05 AM   #4
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WOW! No advice, just some well wishes for a complete and speedy recovery.
^^yeahthat^^
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Old 10-20-06, 12:06 AM   #5
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Wow! Good to hear that your doin fine!
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Old 10-20-06, 12:16 AM   #6
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Yow - that will give you a good scare!

I know a Caltech prof that got dizzy and fell down the stairs at his house one day and went to the ER, got a CT scan and they found a subdural hematoma. The weird thing is that it wasn't from the fall on his stairs-- it was apparently pretty old, and had more or less clotted, and somehow had delayed symptoms (maybe started to bleed again). He had surgery to remove it, spent some time recuperating and by the time I knew him (only a year or two later) was just fine. He even posted pics of his brain on the bulletin board near his lab (he was doing neuroscience research). He was in his 60's when it happened.
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Old 10-20-06, 12:34 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bernmart
Sorry for the cross-post from the 50-plus forum, but I met a few of you on the Cool Breeze, and I thought you'd like to know about this.

I rode The Cool Breeze century (my first) on August 19. Felt surprisingly good physically the next day, so went for an easy club ride. Almost back to the start point I crashed. First time since starting serious cycling 1 1/2 years ago. I landed hard on my head. My helmet was split, but aside from minor road rash I felt no symptoms. No headache, no double vision, nothing.

Last week I started having trouble walkiing normally, was exhausted all the time, couldn't type well. My wife worried that I'd had a stroke. I finally booked an appt. with my doctor, who examined me for ten minutes and sent me to the hospital for a CAT Scan, which revealed a subdural hematoma pressing on my brain. I had emergency brain surgery that night.

It went well, and I was back home in only a few days. I'm waiting for a follow-up scan to show whether the brain had re-expanded to its normal size. Meanwhile I feel fine. But I'm concerned that I won't quite get back to where I was, and that I might be warned off cycling because of the risk of re-injury, or whatever.

I've heard one story already of a motorcycle racer who had a similar post-crash injury, and bounced back completely. But he's thirty years younger than I am, so I wonder how this all looks to members of this forum.

Any reality checks, uplifiting anecdotes, sensible advice, etc. welcome
Oh my goodness I am SO glad you are okay! I so enjoyed talking w/you at Cool Breeze... I wish a speedy recovery and hope you are able to get back on your bike when you feel comfortable!

Lots of thoughts and prayers going your way!

Tracy
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Old 10-20-06, 12:45 AM   #8
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My sister had a subdural hematoma resulting from a fall down the stairs. From what I remember is speaking with the docs, once they fix you up and the brain gets back to normal, you're good to go.

My crash at the 2004 Long Beach Tri left me in pretty bad shape (broken clavicle, broken scapula, severe concussion, road rash down my entire left side). It takes a few rides to get back to feeling confident but before you know it, you're bombing down a hill at 50+ mph and enjoying every minute.

Speedy recovery and keep us posted.
-CJ
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Old 10-20-06, 01:54 AM   #9
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Glad everything went well! Best for a speedy one......TG you were wearing a helmet!
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Old 10-20-06, 02:05 AM   #10
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Glad everything went well! Best for a speedy one......TG you were wearing a helmet!
+1!!
helmet for the win!
and good luck to you!
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Old 10-20-06, 08:18 AM   #11
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Best of luck to you. The brain is a hardy bean, they say, and if you're posting here and formulating cognitive thought this soon after fricken BRAIN SURGERY, I think you're well on your way back to the 2-wheeled menace. Get yo'self a new helmet...preferably THIS ONE, and get pedaling.
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Old 10-20-06, 11:22 AM   #12
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Had a similar "accident/incident" in 2002. My crash had me going over the bars, I ride a road bike, and hitting-rolling with the head-neck and shoulders. To this day I can't remember what caused the crash. I was close to home, doing a solo ride, and one of the women in our neighborhood was a nurse so she had me laying in the street without moving while we waited for the paramedics to show-up. Was taken to Kaiser in Woodland Hills. Had a C.A.T. scan which was negative and a chest x-ray that showed a small surface(?) fracture to my collar bone; the ER doc determined that the break wasn't all the way through. The worst part was that a piece of plastic from my broken helmet had cut my ear lobe and required 4 stitches to set it right. Other than the scratches and bruises and blow to my ego, I was in pretty good shape considering what happened. About 4 weeks later, I got back on the bike wearing the same clothes and rode the same route at the same time of day just to get over the potential fear that might develop; I did just fine; it's like the proverbial getting back on the horse after falling off. Today I'm doing fine as far as bike riding is concerned. I think I may be battling chronic fatigue syndrome but I don't think it's related to bike riding. I'm 54 and am in probably the best shape of my like which I owe in large part to taking-up bike riding in 2000. I had planned on doing the Cool Breeze this year but our grandson wanted to spend the weekend with his grammy and grandpa; how could I pass that up?!? Anyway, I still have the old helmet in my bike/garden shed to show others how much damage my skull would've suffered if I wasn't wearing it. You will get better. Just get back on the bike and ride....even if it's just for a few miles.
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Old 10-25-06, 11:09 PM   #13
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Not to be a bore, but you've all been so supportive that I wanted to keep you posted. This morning I had a follow-up CAT scan of my head (and got the damned staples and stitches out, too). The results were most encouraging: the brain is reoccupying its space at a rapid rate, and everything's looking almost normal. The neurologist is confident of a full recovery. He's warned me off the bike for the next few weeks though. I'll almost certainly cheat, but not this weekend, for sure.

Thanks again for all your kind words and anecdotes.
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Old 10-25-06, 11:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bernmart
Not to be a bore, but you've all been so supportive that I wanted to keep you posted. This morning I had a follow-up CAT scan of my head (and got the damned staples and stitches out, too). The results were most encouraging: the brain is reoccupying its space at a rapid rate, and everything's looking almost normal. The neurologist is confident of a full recovery. He's warned me off the bike for the next few weeks though. I'll almost certainly cheat, but not this weekend, for sure.

Thanks again for all your kind words and anecdotes.
I didn't see this until now (where was I?). Anyway, sorry to hear of your crash, but relieved to hear of the results above! Be careful on that bike (as I must remind myself) and thank you for sharing your experience (to remind us!)
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Old 10-25-06, 11:22 PM   #15
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That's great news Bernie!
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Old 10-25-06, 11:29 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by bernmart
He's warned me off the bike for the next few weeks though. I'll almost certainly cheat, but not this weekend, for sure.
If you do cheat, make sure you do it with a buddy, just in case something happens again.
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Old 10-26-06, 01:18 AM   #17
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Hope you recover soon!!! Glad to hear you're ok though!

Hope to see you on the bike again, if not you can always pick up running its relatively safe in that regard
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Old 10-26-06, 07:07 AM   #18
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Thanks for the update Bernie, I am glad to hear that your recovery is progressing!
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Old 10-26-06, 07:39 AM   #19
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Hi Bernie!

I'm so glad to hear you are healing and will be back on your bike soon! Thank you for letting us know how it's going!!! I'll continue to send healing wishes your way

Tracy
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Old 10-26-06, 08:26 AM   #20
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Well some good news is that your posting has the grammar level of an adult, which is more than can be said about many people on these forums, so your brain seems to be functioning better than many people who haven't crashed on their head yet I hope you have a speedy recovery.
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Old 10-26-06, 09:32 AM   #21
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My mother fell in her kitchen and hit her head, but never told anyone. The next day she was confused and my dad knew something was wrong and took her to the hospital. It was a subdural hematoma and the blood was pressing so much on her brain the doctors took her into emergency surgery. I was able to get to the hospital just before they took her in and she didn’t even know family members. After the surgery and talking to her in the hospital bed it was as nothing ever happen. She could not even remember me visiting her the day before. Her brain bounced back. She was about 58 years of age when this happen. You are younger and stronger which will surly be an advantage here. It scared us all, but she went on to live a complete normal life with no limitations. Do not live by limitations, but by your desire to know what living is about. Thanks for sharing your story.

Do take some time off and ride with a partner for awhile.
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Old 10-26-06, 12:38 PM   #22
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I'm actually older than your mother was when she had her accident, but everything you say is wise, and I thank you for it. From what I've been told, if the pressure had been on the left side of my brain rather than the right side, cognition, memory etc. would have been more affected.

I guess the general lesson is that life can surprise us, and that we need to strike a balance between healthy caution, and a timidity which turns us away from life's adventures.

Thanks again, Bernie
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Old 10-26-06, 04:02 PM   #23
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life can surprise us, and that we need to strike a balance between healthy caution, and a timidity which turns us away from life's adventures.
Very well put. Words to live by.
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Old 10-28-06, 06:03 PM   #24
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Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery!



Quote:
Originally Posted by bernmart
Sorry for the cross-post from the 50-plus forum, but I met a few of you on the Cool Breeze, and I thought you'd like to know about this.

I rode The Cool Breeze century (my first) on August 19. Felt surprisingly good physically the next day, so went for an easy club ride. Almost back to the start point I crashed. First time since starting serious cycling 1 1/2 years ago. I landed hard on my head. My helmet was split, but aside from minor road rash I felt no symptoms. No headache, no double vision, nothing.

Last week I started having trouble walkiing normally, was exhausted all the time, couldn't type well. My wife worried that I'd had a stroke. I finally booked an appt. with my doctor, who examined me for ten minutes and sent me to the hospital for a CAT Scan, which revealed a subdural hematoma pressing on my brain. I had emergency brain surgery that night.

It went well, and I was back home in only a few days. I'm waiting for a follow-up scan to show whether the brain had re-expanded to its normal size. Meanwhile I feel fine. But I'm concerned that I won't quite get back to where I was, and that I might be warned off cycling because of the risk of re-injury, or whatever.

I've heard one story already of a motorcycle racer who had a similar post-crash injury, and bounced back completely. But he's thirty years younger than I am, so I wonder how this all looks to members of this forum.

Any reality checks, uplifiting anecdotes, sensible advice, etc. welcome
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Old 11-06-06, 09:27 AM   #25
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I'm back on the bike! I've been feeling better every day, and missing the bike more and more. (It got to the point where I'd go into the garage and visit it for a few minutes each day!) This Saturday I did a few laps around the Rose Bowl to make sure my balance and energy were OK. I felt great--better than before the surgery.

I now realize that for weeks I'd been using my right leg for most of my riding energy, 'cause the left leg was so weak. Interesting what we can adapt to, and be unaware of the adaptation. Now that I've got two equally strong legs, I move right along. For me, that is. I steamed up Salvia Canyon Road without even breathing hard.

Yesterday I did the Foothill Cycle Club's "easy" ride of 19 miles as a formal debut, and reunited with old friends. It was a euphoric time.

Thanks again for all your good wishes and kind thoughts. It's great to be back.

Bernie
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