Funny things I said after my concussion … the director’s cut

I crashed my bike on April 26, 2012. A couple days later I wrote and posted a story, “Funny things I said after my concussion,” but recently (Jan. 2013), I decided to update it with new  information. After a time, I remembered bits and pieces, like remembering a dream, so I can now tell a more complete story. The first version was more lighthearted; I was fundraising for the Tour de Cure. I left big parts of that version in here, took some stuff out; the added info can be found in italics.)

On Thursday I crashed my bike.

I’d love to tell you what happened, but I don’t remember much from Thursday, much less what happened in the accident. I hit my head on the ground, cracking my helmet in five places, and got a concussion. Contusions and road rash on my left knee, hip, elbow and shoulder. Right now my hip is one big bruise.

I don’t know what happened, but I said something about a woman and a dog at the hospital. I hope I didn’t hurt the dog.

I like to ride from the Fine Arts Center north for 12 miles and back on nights Sam has football practice. My watch was stopped at an hour and 33 minutes, so that probably means the accident happened at the end of the ride. I called Rose right after I crashed, told her I was going to the hospital near the Olympic Training Center.

I got myself to my car. Don’t know if I walked or rode my bike. Either way I had to go up the steep, windy road to the FAC parking lot. Loaded my car and drove a couple miles to the hospital where Carli was born.

Here’s what happened … I was nearly finished with my ride and storm clouds were gathering. I may have seen some lightening, which would have only caused me to bike faster. I timed these rides so that I could see the last half hour of Sam’s football practice, but if it starts raining and/or lightening, the team could end practice and Sam might be worried, wondering where I am.

So I pedaled hard to finish.

Whenever I approach anyone on the trail, I yell, “On your left,” before I pass, but sometimes, for whatever reason, people might not hear me. A woman walking her dog seemed passable enough. I make my move, but at the last minute the dog runs in my path.

I yelled, “NOOOOOOOO!!!” And go down.

By the scrapes on the handlebars, I must have stopped abruptly, drove the handlebars into the dirt and flew over the top, landing mostly on my left side, primarily on my hip and head.

People asked afterwards if I was wearing a helmet, which always amused me. I’d say, “If I didn’t have a helmet on, I’d still be laying there.” The outside of the helmet looks pretty normal, the inside of the helmet has numerous lengthy cracks throughout. It was trashed.

I know immediately that I’m pretty hurt, and while I’m on the ground, I ask the woman if she has a card, something to write with, I wanted to get her contact information. But it wasn’t her fault or the dog’s fault; it was my fault. She didn’t have anything, so I get back on my bike and ride towards my car.

With my knee and elbow bleeding, I bike up the brief, but steep, corkscrew road to the FAC parking lot, which isn’t fun any day. I load my bike in the back and get in the driver’s seat. I’m shook up. My breathing is shaky, my voice is halting. I call Rose.

“Rose, don’t worry, but I crashed my bike. I’m pretty beat up, but I’m okay. I think I scrambled my brains though. I’m going to go to Memorial.”

Rose is at swim practice and she tells another coach what has happened, gathers her things and heads for her car. As she exits the building — before she even gets to the car — I call a second time and say:

“Rose, don’t worry, but I crashed my bike. I’m pretty beat up, but I’m okay. I think I scrambled my brains though. I’m going to go to Memorial.”

Needless to say, Rose is freaked out.

A few minutes later, I call again … leave the exact same message on her voicemail. I was being thorough.

When Rose arrived at the emergency room, she found me confused. I kept asking the same questions over and over, saying funny things.

Me: How did I get here?
Rose: You drove yourself here.
Me: What!?! That must make me some kind of super hero.

I either fell off my bike or I got mugged by 20 people.
I must have got hit by a semi … four semi’s … maybe it was a train.

We should sue the helmet company.
Is there anyone we can sue? Let’s make something good out of this.

So … I’ll probably go in late to work tomorrow.
So … I’m not going to work tomorrow.

I didn’t get hit by a semi? I just fell off my bike?

The doctors asked me if I was taking any medications. I said, nope, just a multivitamin and a supplement. Rose is standing right there.

Rose: “No, he’s a diabetic. He takes several meds for that and a couple for asthma.”
Me: “Oh, she’s nuts. I do not. You might want to check her meds.”

How did I get here?

They do a CT Scan of my brain and find nothing. Rim shot.

I had to go to the bathroom, so they gave me a container to go in the room with the nurse and Rose right here. I said something about setting a new state record and asking, do you have another one of these containers handy?

How did I get here?

I was bruised all over the place from my left foot, ankle, calf, knee, thigh, hip, ribs, and shoulder. I even had a bruise on the bridge of my nose. They considered giving me stitches for the gouge on my elbow, while we were waiting for the decision on the elbow, Gina calls. She is upset. The only thing she knows is that Mom left in the middle of practice and that Dad was in an accident. She’s crying. I tell it’s nothing to worry about, Gina. Daddy’s okay. I just fell off my bike. I’m fine.

Rose said that the saddest part came when she said something about Sammy at football practice and I asked, “Sammy plays football?”

Rose said I looked proud, but sad at not knowing that.

“What position does he play?”

One of the football coaches drives Sam across town to high school and a swim parent got him home. I talked to him from the emergency room too.

They patched me up and sent me home.

The biggest dust up occurred at home when Rose, apparently getting a kick out of my inability to remember things, asked, ‘Do you know who the Broncos quarterback is?’ I said Tim Tebow. Rose said, no, we traded him to the Jets.

Me: “WHAT? WHY WOULD WE TRADE TIM TEBOW?”

I’m visibly upset. I’m getting heated.

Rose tells me that Peyton Manning is the Broncos quarterback. Me: “WHAT? That makes no sense. Manning never played for the Jets. You’re crazy.”

Carli was my attending nurse. She took good care of me. Got me some Cherry Garcia for dinner.

The next morning Carli asks, “Dad, do you know what’s going on?”

Laying in bed, I look under the covers at all the bandages. I look back at Carli and say, “I’m pregnant?”

They prescribed a couple different pain medications, but Rose pretty much kept them from me. She didn’t want me to become a junkie. Once I figured out what they were and where they were, I took them regularly.

The effects of the crash were fairly long lasting. My entire left hip and thigh were one big bruise, but it didn’t hurt like a bruise. It took a while to understand that for about three weeks that whole area was numb. Once the numbness went away, that whole area felt like a gigantic bruise.

They decided not to give me stitches for my elbow. Six months after the accident and that elbow still hurt to the touch.

I have a scar on my knee that looks just like the scar on Harry Potter’s forehead.

I have issues with memory loss. Everyone tells me that I’m just getting older, that it happens to them, but it bothers me … I say the wrong words, struggle to come up with the word I’m thinking of, forget things, names, etc. I think it’s from smashing my head into the ground, but who knows. It’s probably a combination of everything.

My hip cradle clicks now. Like when you are backing the car out of the garage and you twist your body around to check for traffic and you feel a crack in your lower back. My hips do that now. Again, in the car, I can simply adjust my position in the seat and my hip will crack.

I got back on my bike in the summer. My left hip would hurt after every ride, but it’s better now. I rode the 25-mile course at the Southern Colorado Tour de Cure in June. It was only my second ride after the accident. I rode with a really nice helmet that my friend and fellow Ruff Rider, Cody Uebel, got for me. 

I wasn’t nervous on my road bike that day; I was a little more so on trails with deep sand and uneven terrain, worry about falling.

I did a six-week training period to ride the Longmont Tour de Cure in July/early August. I planned to ride the 100K route and had gotten my longest training ride up to 60-plus miles. But the Longmont ride was on Sam’s birthday and I decided that even though I put in the work and was ready to go, that I’d rather stay home with him.

From August to December, I basically didn’t run, ride, walk or move. I couldn’t get motivated. I was a little depressed I think. Oddly enough, it’s my right side that bothers me now. I’ve got a spur on my right heel, tendonitis under my right kneecap and my right rotator cuff is strained, I think, from throwing the football around with Sam.

But the comeback is underway. I’ve put in four great weeks of consistent workouts, averaging 20 miles running and 50 miles of riding. Laying down the foundation … for what? Well, we’ll just have to see about that. Stay tuned.

— Revised January and November 2013

 

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