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The Mystery of Maria Island

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The Mystery of Maria Island

Old 03-04-22, 06:11 AM
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Machka 
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The Mystery of Maria Island

A short tour in November 2021.

Maria Island, Tasmania



A bit about what Rowan and I have been up to in the last few years and our first tour in a long, long time.
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Old 03-04-22, 10:57 AM
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Have not heard from you for a long time, good to hear from you again.
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Old 03-04-22, 04:09 PM
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It is so uplifting to see the both of you out touring (again)!
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Old 03-04-22, 07:36 PM
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Rowan's workplace accident in 2018 took us out of the running ... um ... riding.

He'll never fully recover from the brain injury, but we've been easing back into things again a little bit.
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Old 03-05-22, 05:45 AM
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It is great to hear that you guys are touring again. Maria Island looks like a lovely setting for the trip. I am glad Rowan beat the odds with a better than expected recovery and is able to enjoy riding and camping again. I hope he continues to improve.
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Old 03-05-22, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Rowan's workplace accident in 2018 took us out of the running ... um ... riding.

He'll never fully recover from the brain injury, but we've been easing back into things again a little bit.
What happened, if you donít mind sharing?
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Old 03-05-22, 07:23 AM
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It starts here, I think:
Addiction LXIX

And then the story continues here:
Rowan

But a summary ...
4 years ago, something happened on the orchard where Rowan was General Manager. He was on a cherry picker fixing the nets over the orchard and didn't turn up for lunch. His work colleagues went to look for him and found the cherry picker on its side, and Rowan lying beside it unconscious. They called the ambulance who arrived and rang for the helicopter. The doctor on the helicopter started work on Rowan on the 10 minute flight to Hobart. They landed and had an ambulance ready to rush him into the hospital. Meanwhile, I was out for a walk at lunch and actually saw the helicopter land but they didn't get ahold of me until about 3 hours later when they urgently needed to get him into surgery. That was a little series of errors we've never figured out.

Rowan was in a 3-week coma in ICU fighting for his life or a life. I was being told he might not make it and if he did, he’d likely need to go into a full-care nursing home because he wouldn’t be able to do anything. At times, I was told that Rowan would likely not remember me and that he would likely never walk again. He had one challenge after another with DVT and pneumonia as well as bleeding on the brain. Rowan was also in post traumatic amnesia for 7 weeks which is really long and which gives him the classification of severe traumatic brain injury. He was in hospital a total of 100 days and in Rehab for another 4 months, but as part of Rehab, he started cycling a little.

He's been classified as having approximately 1/3 "whole person injury". There's a large section of his brain on the left that is all scar tissue now, and a smaller section in the front. He also had diffuse axonal injury which means there are bits and pieces of damage everywhere. As a result of the brain injury, he has trouble with his left leg and right arm ... kind of like how a person who has a stroke might have trouble using one side of their body. In Rowan's case, it is opposite sides. He doesn't feel his left leg like we do so walking can be difficult and challenging and he frequently drops things with his right hand. He has double vision when he looks to the side. He has lost the sense of smell (and taste?). There are cognitive issues, issues with speech (a bit of aphasia), heightened emotions, loss of memory (especially short term memory) and overwhelming fatigue.

A year later he had a big seizure (grand mal or tonic clonic) and has been diagnosed with brain injury induced epilepsy.

And then just for something a bit different, he had a mild heart attack last May. Not sure if that's related to everything else, or not.

But ... at least he's not in a nursing home, he can walk, and he knows me.

He also feels comfortable on a bicycle but distances are challenging because of the fatigue. We are very gradually building up and keeping an eye on that fatigue situation.

As I say in the story, when it came to a camping weekend, we had to choose something as low stress as possible ... so we can't choose a campground that might be busy, for example, because the noise of other campers would likely be distressing. Maria Island was a great choice because of the time of year (spring) and the fact that the borders hadn't opened to tourists yet.
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Old 03-05-22, 07:44 AM
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Wow, he’s had an amazing recovery so far. I wish the both of you the best.
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Old 03-05-22, 08:06 AM
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So sorry to hear about Rowan's injury and limitations. It is good that his recovery has been better than expected and he continues to improve. I wish him (and you) the best of luck in his future progress.
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Old 03-05-22, 11:05 AM
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Thank you for sharing the details.

It is quite fortunate that he has his balance, thus can ride on two wheels. And has sufficient sight to be able to ride. And had access to such health care.
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Old 03-05-22, 11:27 AM
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Thank you for sharing this story, you two are amazing. Might I suggests you consider a tandem. I don't know your relative strengths (usually the stronger is in front), but with him as stoker he may be able to better control his fatigue.
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Old 03-06-22, 06:17 AM
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Fantastic tour. Great story and photos.
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Old 03-08-22, 12:33 AM
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Sorry to hear about Rowan's injury, and I'm glad to hear he's recovered sufficiently to live independently of permanent care. Still, that baby wombat may be the coolest thing I've seen in weeks.
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Old 03-08-22, 09:31 PM
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Great to see you back on the bike. The beaches look great but are probably too cold, bloody tassie! I remember reading your website many moons ago and wanting a bike friday, didnt happen, haha.
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Old 03-09-22, 11:42 AM
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It is great to see you both back on the bike and back in print. Keep peeling.

al
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