Friday, October 21, 2011

Crashed! A Journal To Recovery

Guess the title says it all. Having narrowly avoided get struck down by a car last month described here....

....I was not so lucky this time. On the Fall Thanksgiving weekend Saturday I opted to ride the usual BPCC club ride. Leaving Bedford via Rocky lake road we cycle the Windsor Junction road then climb the hill on Fall River road to Fall River. After the groups all reassemble some opt to cycle out to Laurie Park while others may head back to the shop via the Waverley and Rocky lake roads.

Since I have not been cycling much of late other than bike commuting to work I opted to join the second group departing the shop. In fact I hesitated in my decision and had to chase back to the group from the start after getting caught at some red lights in Bedford. Eventually I joined both PD and JM who had dropped back after the two groups had merged. BPCC has a club ride policy that groups should try and be kept at a seven rider minimum to help facilitate sharing the busy Saturday morning roads.

The three of us cycled together through Windsor Junction and separated on the Fall River Hill. JM, a fast climber, left us on the climb while PD joined a dropped rider from the lead group on a leisurely climb of the hill. I was in between riding solo and remained alone after the climb and descent, passing the fire station and school before descending the small hill towards the intersection in Fall River.

As I began the descent towards the lights and the Wilson's gas stop I scrubbed some speed, shoulder checked to make sure I didn't have any traffic on my 6 o clock and maintained my line about a foot from the shoulder of the road.I estimate I was moving about 30 kph at that point. It was then I noticed a white car pulling up to the road upon a side street(Silversurf/side Lane?). Without stopping the vehicle lurched forward straight into the lane and blocked it as effectively as a barricade.I am 5:11/ 195 pounds dressed in black, white and red cycling gear approaching the lane with no visability impediments affecting either the driver or myself. The way the vehicle lurched into the roadway it almost looks like he hit the gas instead of the brakes but that is just speculation on my part.

My first response was to yell and apply my brakes as I was about 15 metres from the vehicle but I had no where to go and moving downhill the distance was covered quite quickly.I can vividly recall thinking I was gonna T bone the car so I veered left toward the centre line attempting to bypass the car which at this point was stopped. I impacted the front quarter panel near the front of the vehicle with my right knee taking the brunt of the impact.Next thing I remember is feeling the blunt impact of my forehead hitting the ground, seeing the lense of my sunglasses go past my face and rolling till I felt my back against the curb. Looking at the car damage if I had another two feet I might have skirted the vehicle but I ran out of space and time.(pic compliments of AC)

Bike helmets work! Although I have a nasty contusion on my forehead the Bell Sweep helmet did it's job by absorbing the shock of the impact.Picture says it all...I painted the cracks for better visuals.It compressed and fractured and not my skull. I did not black out and, apparently, was not(clinically) concussed. I am amazed that I avoided any additional head trauma.As of this writing I am experiencing some vertigo and dizziness so suspect I have some type of brain injury.

It seems my impact with the car resulted in part of the headlight assembly being torn from the vehicle. Since my right knee is badly swollen but with no typical road rash I assume it bore the brunt of the impact with the vehicle and not the road surface. Xrays are clear but I am really concerned about soft tissue damage.

Having come to a rest beside the opposite curb things got fuzzy. I remember hearing someone reassure me I was not bleeding, to stay down and requesting someone call 911. I remember having a off duty(?) volunteer fireman (I remember seeing a badge on his jacket) sit with me on the curb as I was unable to stand due to some serious vertigo. I remember seeing the RCMP car pull up and then having a paramedic begin assessing my condition. Neck brace for precautionary reasons, strapped to a board and off to the Cobequid.

Many thanks to the bystanders, club members, volunteer fireman and the paramedics. Response was fast and efficient. The kicker of the whole incidence was the driver of the vehicle was later determined to be intoxicated. Apparently he backed his vehicle back into the lane/driveway then departed the scene on foot. My understanding is the canine unit tracked him down but regardless he ended up in custody.

A special thanks to AA who abandoned her ride to accompany me to the Cobequid and stay with me through the course of the morning and afternoon.I am indebted. Thanks!!!!

Bike is at the shop. It was my Devinci Silverstone so determining frame condition will come next. The carbon bits, including the fork will need replacing as will the stem, saddle and bar. It was actually bent from the crash so I am leery that the frame will be undamaged and frankly cannot trust my venerable devinci no longer(sigh). I love that bike!

It is Thanksgiving and I give thanks that I was alone and not in a group of cyclists as we all (might) have crashed. I give thanks that I eventually was able to limp away, bruised and battered, but otherwise in good health. I give thanks that the RCMP caught the perpetrator and got another drunk driver off the roads. I give thanks that some credible witnesses remained on the scene and at least two of them can confirm seeing the suspect behind the wheel. Apparently he denied involvement. But mostly I give thanks that he didn't take out a kid in a crosswalk, another vehicle or, a group of my clubmates just trying to enjoy a bike ride.

Update - Oct 11

I'm coping quite well with my injuries far better than I expected. I guess there is something to be said about remaining fit, strong and flexible. My initial concern remains with my knee but the swelling has gone down, mobility is better and, despite the start of bruising, it's improving.The bruising is strange with most of it behind the knee and not on the front right that made contact with the vehicle.

The head is still problematic with dizziness and some vertigo upon standing. Only lasts a moment but remains disconcerting. Can one exhibit some concussion like symptoms but not others? Hopefully it clears up soon as I am timid about getting behind the wheel of my car for fear of it reoccuring while driving. Likewise for cycling although getting back on the bike is the last thing on my mind. I've lost my mojo, in fact I am downright scared to head out on the roadways. Once bitten twice shy. Hopefully that fear passes as well.

Since I am way over my head in regards to the insurance issues I contacted my home/auto insurer, The Personal, for advice. Not only did they direct me on the right course but N, a claims advisor, called me back to assure me she would make some calls on my behalf once I get the driver's insurance info. Excellent customer service!

Also got to Genesis Chiropractic for my scheduled appointment albeit late due to commuting on rush hour transit and explained the situation. Dr. J got the accident forms filed, spinal scan completed and initial post accident adjustment done. I do have some subluxation issues from the blunt force of hitting both the car and the ground.

Now I am waiting on officer S to return my call to see if he can give me the driver's insurance information. That is the last hurtle. I will admit some trepidation that the driver may not have any insurance but I will face that obstacle when, and if, it happens.

Update - Oct 12

 It seemed like a better day as my dizziness was lessened although I have some light sensitivity today? I did end up with a bout of vertigo while in my chair at work. I placed my hands behind my head with fingers interlaced and  leaned back to stretch my upper back and shoulders. It is one of my usual stretches I use at work and it immediately resulted in blurred vision,a feeling of spinning and a cold sweat. Not pleasant to say the least.

Bruising is progressing to yellow in spots. I expected far worse but then again my platelets were up on crash day. Bloodwork at the hospital showed I was still lower than the low normal of 150 000 clocking a 123 000 but that was an improvement over my last blood donor clinic where I was down to 95 000. That might explain why my bruising isn't nearly as bad as past experiences.

Left glute has been tender of late and I do have bruising. I suspect the saddle "kicked" me in the backside upon impact with the car as I had stood on the pedals trying to push my weight backwards in the futile attempt to brake.

Right hand was x-rayed at the Cobequid and came back clear but is still sore to the touch, somewhat swollen(but better than before) and also bruised.I suspect I hyper extended the two middle fingers backwards at some point on the landing.

Right knee is coloring up well.Getting that mottled Petechial look along with some yellowing. Not sure if the picture does it justice. Knee function is improved but definitely stiffens up when I sit for extended periods.

Update - Oct 13

Had some knee issues last night while sleeping. My sleep pattern is to constantly move from my left side to my back and I always use a leg pillow between my knees. That was a habit I adopted in my pre chiropractic years when I dealt with lower back pain and just kept doing it. Last night I experienced a sharp burning pain on the inside of the knee whenever I moved.The apex of the pain originates on the side of the knee, in the middle of the bruising, where the upper leg meets the lower leg(see pic). As of this morning the knee resonates with a dull ache and I have a pulling sensation that travels up my inner thigh. Not sure what to make of this change? The area is very tender to the touch.

I took another dizzy turn last night. I was laying down and sat up suddenly when the phone rang(I'm still waiting on a call from the RCMP with insurance details) when I got the bed spins.Lets see what today brings. Its funny how the body's response to injury changes on a day to day basis.

I headed off to the medical clinic after work just to check on the noggin and knee. The sharp pain is not involved with the knee structure so that is a good thing. Doctor suspects some tendinitis like inflamation which should resolve itself. I have a note for physio if it lingers or gets worse.

The brain is bruised from impacting the ground. Doctor says the symptoms of vertigo, nausea, sensitivity to light and headache will eventually clear up but everyone is different. Some take longer than others. The key to it is to avoid a second jolt to the head before the initial injury is healed.She recommended I take it easy for a couple weeks or until I have a couple consecutive days without symptoms. Ease back into activity for both the head and the body. As long as this dizziness is present I have no desire to exert myself on the bike, in the gym or on the run.When I take a "turn" its like a hangover mixed with motion sickness. I break out in a cold sweat but it usually passes quickly by closing my eyes and remaining still.

Update - Oct 14

Slept well last night but awoke with a start when my watch alarm chimed and jumped out of bed. Not a good idea in the darkness and without glasses as the dizziness is prevelant when moving from a prone to standing position, especially upon waking.The swaying Metro Transit bus ride to work didn't improve my head. I had stopped and purchased a bottle of Fiji water enroute to the bus stop and sips of water helped keep the queasiness at bay. Just gonna get through today and look forward to a low key weekend.

Thanks to the RCMP Lower Sackville department and N at The Personal my claim is now registered with the driver's insurance. I just gotta wait and speak to the claims adjuster probably next week. At least that part of the process is over.Gonna pick up some Gravol on my doctor's advice to help with the queasiness and dizziness. If anything it will help me sleep and sleep is nature's balm.

Update - Oct 15

 Awoke this morning with some new bruising around my ankle. A week after the crash and I am still discovering things.

The knee is unchanged although the bruising is starting to spread which I think is normal as the body starts pulling out the accumulated "junk" from the injured area. It has spread downwards over my calf in a mottled pattern. Maybe that explains my ankle bruising?

Awoke this morning at 5AM and just couldn't get back to sleep. Had a low grade headache and some dizziness when getting up around 6AM but passed fairly quickly. Took a wee bit of a "turn" getting off the couch at Noon but otherwise the day is good.

Update - Oct 17

It was a good weekend. Knee is still sore but bruising is clearing. The tendinitis symptoms persist but mobility is good.The inflamed area is radiating some pain across(under) the knee cap area.

Head has cleared and dizziness only seems to occur first thing in the morning getting out of bed. I still get some weird sensations if I lay on my right side for a few seconds but generally passes quickly.The throbbing in my head has deminished substantially as well so I felt close to "normal" on Sunday.

Neck is problematic as is the upper back and shoulder area with some tension between the left side of my c1 and c7 vertebrae culminating in a "knot" between my shoulder blades between the t1 and t7 area of my spine. Those are my usual trouble spots anyway so that is to be expected considering the crash. I'll be back to chiro on Tuesday and probably Thursday.

I am feeling better but now I am suffering exercise withdrawal. The body has healed to the point where I feel like I need(want) to start becoming active again.

 Bussing it to work has simply sucked. Bike commuting was far quicker and enjoyable even with the usual traffic.A moot point since my commuting bike was also my training bike and the one involved in the accident.I suppose I could re -fit my Norco mountain bike as a commuting ride once I decide to begin commuting again. I remain somewhat gun shy about getting back on the bike.

Walked home after work. It`a about 5kms of hilly terrain and it felt good to get some exercise completed. Head felt OK but both knees caused me some discomfort. I suspect I`m still "twisted" from the impact of the crash but my chiropractic manipulations should eventually remedy my lower body issues.

Update - Oct 19

Awoke to additional neck stiffness this morning but had a good night sleep and don`t recall moving around much during the night. Hopefully it loosens up as the day progresses. Met with Mr. R this morning from Crawford Adjusters and filled out all the appropriate forms. I also have a meeting with Ms. N from the same company tomorrow morning in regards to a different aspect of the claim. It is a relief to get the process moving forward and I appreciate their promptness in this matter.. I really just want to get the business dealt with and move on from this unfortunate incidence.

Knee is the same but I feel a lump in the area that is causing me discomfort. About the size of a quarter it is a hard but tender mass on the inside of my knee. I seem to recall a similar thing in 2005 when I had a hematoma on my hip so maybe it is just a concentrated knot of "stuff" that will eventually disperse.

Update - Oct 21

Same old song and dance. Chiropractic treatments continue to address my subluxations. I have a precondition so the focus is to get me back to where I was prior to the crash then continue with my maintenance schedule. Knee remains sore but functioning although I am yet to test it on the bike, run or playing ballhockey. I remain inactive but will attempt a return to ball hockey next week. Head feels ok but I still get the occasional dizzy spell...yeah....I know(wink). The first step might be to go for a run this weekend and see how I feel. My claim is now in the hands of the adjustors so that stage of the process is finished.Time for me to move forward and get this body active again - brain and body willing of course.

Update - Oct 24

Decided to head to ball hockey on Sunday but arranged to have someone else play goal. I figured I would play out to see how the body felt before strapping on the goalie gear. That way if I had issues I could leave and not impact the rest of the game by leaving the nets. Knee hurts but works. No issues in start/stop running on a gym floor and I was able to plant and push off fine. No head spins even when the heart rate maxed out. Overall mobility was fine but I was darn stiff later on Sunday and this morning. Amazing how a two week period of inactivity can make you lose fitness. Just doesn't seem fair. I'll aim for playing out on Thursday then back in the nets next weekend.

Update - Oct 28

Played ball hockey last night and the body responded well. Lots of jump in the legs although the knee is sore this morning  just above the knee  on the bottom right of the quad. Don't recall any impact and I do wear shinpads/grieves that cover the knee. Head is fine with one exception - if I raise my arms above my head in a stretch and tilt my head to the right I get a dizzy sensation. Going back in nets on Sunday so it will be interesting to see how the knee and head responds to the rigors of goaltending. Got my eye on a used goalie mask on Kijiji since my current lid is sized too small so a full sized Senior mask is definitely on my want list.

Update - Nov 2

What is it about dizziness when I raise my arms above my head? I can play ball hockey no problem but if I stretch or do crunches on a Swiss ball with my arms extended or hands clasped behind my neck I get the strangest feelings of disorientation? It's really starting to annoy me yet concern me at the same time. Despite feeling normal most of the time I think I still have head issues. That alone is enought to keep me off the bike for fear of taking a "turn" or having another fall. I`m trying not to get discouraged with these minor setbacks but its so damn frustrating.

Update - Nov 4

Dr. J told me my dizziness with arms elevated above my head is not unusual but rather a sign that the noggin is not quite healed yet. Nothing to be really concerned about so that is good. Eye strain has been an issue of late. I did have an eye exam in September and also purchased new eyewear but since my prescription did not change I think it might be a side effect of the fall. Truth be told staring at a computer screen all day probably doesn`t help the brain and eyes. I have begun to spin(pardon the pun) my chair around periodically and do the "thousand yard stare" out the window just to let the eyes unfocus. It does seem to help alleviate tension around my eyes and forehead.

Update - Nov 7

Time to get back in the saddle. Since the weather this week is unseasonably nice I took it as an invitation to get back on the proverbial horse and begin cycle commuting to work again. Truth be told it was getting down to brass tax as using transit at day`s end was really getting on my nerves. Regardless if I left early, on time or late I was always standing around waiting for the bus.The ride in this morning was cool but it felt good despite using my old MTB with flat pedals. Felt really weird not being clipped in a pair of SPD pedals and should prove interesting on the hill climbs home. My old Ritchie Logic pedals were on my Devinci the day of the crash and remain on the bike at the shop. In terms of recovery I`m feeling better with each passing day and now that I am back on the bike perhaps the mental recovery will hasten now that I can get back on my usual daily routine. The only thing remaining is to begin my sprint(run) intervals again, but like the club rides, both may well be put aside till next Spring.

1 comment:

Cari said...

what a story! i'm glad you're getting back to normal. it takes awhile. it even took me ages to get back on track after i fell off my mountain bike awhile back and that was nothing in comparison to your accident. i also had a lump in my leg where i had hit and bruised it during my fall and my friend who is a nurse said that was normal after having a bad bruise. it took awhile to go away and was tender for quite a long time after but it did get better. keep at the recovery and hopefully you'll be back to normal in no time! looking forward to catching up with you over a glass of wine at christmas! :)