So……… sorry I have not been around of late, I had a tumble a few weeks back and thought I should write about it here just to help others that may go through the same experience. Here’s my story:-
Picture the day , one of the first dry days of the season, spring was well and truly here and to make it even better it was a Bank Holiday weekend. The trails were dry and in full flow and there were quite a few new trails dug by the pixies over the winter months that needed hitting, and hitting them we did. That morning I turned up to the trails and knew the bike wasn’t right, picking up my front wheel and spinning it / wiggling it from side to side confirmed my thoughts that my wheel bearings were shot. So I told myself to take it steady, thing is though when you are out with you’re mates trying to outdo one another these promises / instructions go out the window, they either get forgotten or you tell yourself its OK the bikes running fine. I had it confirmed a few runs in that things were not exactly the way I wanted it when I binned it in a loamy berm that I’d ridden fine many times before, I shrugged it off and laughed about it. I was actually feeling fantastic as the conditions were so good, my times were looking fast on Strava and the vibe was really good with my mates.
Sun is shining!
We were pedaling between sections when we witnessed a guy ride past on a £3k Giant in all the protection gear you can think of , even fore arm guards but wearing a baseball cap backwards which prompted us to discuss the worst crash we ever had, which we all spoke about and went to hit the next trail. This trail is a really nice fun trail, it has a drop in to a gap / table top, a couple of step downs, a step up into a few tight berms and an optional double at the bottom, it’s one of my favourite trails in my local woods. I hit everything as I was supposed to but for some reason paused in the last 2 berms before hitting the double, I don’t know why and I cant remember much after that other than rolling on my side / head and my MX6 cartwheeling a good 10 meters or so stopped by a tree. I remember my mate coming to see me and asking if I was OK, I remember my shoulder hurting but knew it wasn’t broken as I had movement in it, my helmet was also trashed. I rode the bike with one arm back to the car and got a lift home and explained it to the wife and then got a lift to hospital.
Sectioning my trashed helmet reveled a big crack running right through it.
This is where it started going wrong, in the busy hospital waiting area a nurse was walking past me and told me to go with her as I was about to pass out. I remember going light headed but thought it was through shock, it wasn’t it was concussion – in short one of the worst experiences of my life that has been going on for the last 4 weeks.
The nurse gave me morphine for my shoulder and said I had separated my AC joint in my shoulder and cracked some ribs, she also gave me some medication (Codeine) and some leaflets on concussion that i was to give to the wife. I got home and tried to play it down and asked the Mrs to drive me down the beach with my daughter so we could have some lunch, what followed was horrific. We went for a late lunch and I tried to read the menu, I couldn’t read it that well and then BANG! I just felt this warm sensation travelling up my back and started going light headed, I just said “Call someone now” and that was it, I started drifting in and out of consciousness in the restaurant while my wife was on the phone to an ambulance team – this went on for 9 MINUTES! I remember coming round about 15 minutes later from when I had told her to call someone, I was soaking wet through sweat, like I had been in a shower, I also lost function of my bladder during this period which was horrific to come round to in a (thankfully quiet) public place. My wife thought I was having a brain hemorrhage or worse and my 4 year old daughter witnessed this which was horrific. The wife got me straight back down A&E who did some more tests and thought I had experienced a reaction to Codeine which soon transpired was wrong as it happened again there and then in A&E.
The team in A&E suggested I stay off work until I felt OK to go back, as I said above this was a Bank Holiday so I had the Monday off anyway and decided to go into work on Tuesday and just keep myself busy but locked away in the office. Over the course of that week I started to feel worse and worse and more tired and emotional each day, whenever I lay down the room would spin for a good 30 seconds or so and whenever I went to stand up I had to sit up for a good 10 minutes to calibrate myself (if i didn’t I would fall over, which happened several times), I was also repeating myself a lot and my vision was kind of off balance. I decided to take a day as annual leave and worked just the Friday morning and went to the doctors in the afternoon who told me to take the following week off.
New shoulder profile
On the Saturday we went to the New Forest and we stopped for some fuel, I asked the wife if she would like a drink and she asked for some San Pellegrino, I thought I would have one also. I went to the fridge and made sure I got 2 of them, I walked to the counter went to pay for for the fuel and 2 x cans of pretentious tosser juice but the guy said I had one can of Coke and one can of SP!! My mind had now started playing tricks on me.
The following week I did what I usually do and ignored the doctors advice and went to work. I went to the production meeting which has a big whiteboard where we discuss the previous days issues, I could hardly read the text (and I sit next to the whiteboard!!). Upon going back to my office I was asked for some calculations, just as that feeling I had in the restaurant started happening at work, yep bang I had gone again. My wife drove the 50 mile round trip to pick me up and take me back to A&E for the 3rd time in 8 days, the guy said that my head needed time to reboot! Don’t concentrate on anything he said as when you do your blood pressure will drop which makes you go light headed, then you try to concentrate harder to stop yourself passing out which makes it drop further and you are in a viscous circle. So that week all I did was sleep, rest , sleep, rest, completely off grid. On the Sunday of that week I got on the fat bike in the car park but could hardly lift the wheel with my shoulder being so bent up.
By week 3 I returned to work and started to feel slightly better, I needed regular breaks from the PC and any device with a screen like a TV / phone etc or anything that required concentration, I was also feeling shattered at the end of each work day and going straight to bed when i got in from work around 6 pm.
I have now just finished week 4, my vision and concentration levels are getting better and I am now back on the bike doing some XC, I hope in a few weeks to be out hitting the trails again but will leave the bigger stuff to the kids who heal better lol. I never want to go through this again.
So there you have it, my experience (so far) with concussion. I can safely say without my lid I would not be writing this now, there is no doubt in my mind that my helmet saved my life, do the right thing for you and you’re loved ones and WEAR ONE.
A HUGE THANKS to the guys at NX2 for selling me that Orbiter 2! it’s dead now, but better the lid than me