Well folks, I am here to tell you that the last few weeks have been one hell of a ride.
Arriving back in Canada, I contacted my doctor immediately and said that I would like to have more x-rays done to find out why my arm was so damn sore. My shoulder was also crazy sore and I was worried that it wasn’t going to heal properly, allowing me to swim once it completed mending. The doctor gave me x-ray requisitions, and my wife and I went to the hospital the next day to get the x-rays taken. The x-ray technician was awesome, and took a few extra pictures given what she was seeing. I can so clearly remember her face as she came out into the hallway where my wife and I were waiting, and with a concerned look on her face she sat down across from us and said, “I have good news and bad news. The good news is I know why your arm hurts, the bad news is, it’s broken in half.” What she said next, she said very professionally, but she said something like, “I am a radiologist, so I’m not allowed to diagnose, but I cannot believe they let you out of the hospital with your shoulder the way it is.”
She escorted us directly to emergency, and after a 3 or 4 hour wait, I saw the orthopedic surgeon. She looked at my x-rays, and arranged for me to have a bed in the hospital that night, and I was prepped for surgery the next morning. Although I had to wait until 7 PM for an operating room to be available, they worked on me for a long time, releasing me to my hospital room at about 12:30 at night. yup….. 5 hours. My left arm, my dominant arm, has a permanent metal plate screwed along the bone, and my shoulder has a complete metal reinforcing system that will come out again in 4 months.
Although it was quite painful, I was very happy to be given such great treatment, and finally be put back together properly. Next, they set me up with a neurologist to reassess my brain injury. After CAT scans and MRIs, the specialist told me I was very lucky to be alive, and even more lucky that I still had my personality and my memories intact. I sort of thought he was over exaggerating a little, and I didn’t quite follow it. He wanted me to be in the hospital a little longer for observation, and was concerned about how dizzy I was all the time.
The next day two physiotherapists and an occupational therapist, guided me through something called the Epiley Maneuver. It sounded quite innocent and straightforward, but the reality is this: when I crashed, I knocked loose a bunch of balance sensory crystals in my inner ears (cochlea). Instead of being tucked away nicely where they are supposed to be, they were free-floating in my balance canals, and causing the dizziness by rolling across the balance receptor fibers in my ear fluid. The solution is to do a procedure involving several moves to get the crystals to roll back to where they belong. The entire procedure took about 10 minutes, and it was UNREAL! I have never felt so dizzy in my entire life! I thought the entire planet was spinning out of control! The nurse had to give me a direct injection of anti nausea so I could avoid throwing up, and I basically slept for 3 hours after. The good news is the procedure was quite successful and reduced the dizziness a lot!
While I was at the hospital, they also removed all of the metal staples from my skull. I have to say,it was nice to have those out!
I had another meeting with a different neurologist, somebody I know, who just stopped by to see how I was doing. She again, indicated something about how lucky I was, and again, I thought maybe she was just exaggerating and being nice.
I was out of the hospital after 6 days, and tried to get comfortable at home.
As an interesting side note, when Lyle was giving me a ride home from the hospital, somebody rear-ended his truck on a hit-and-run. I didn’t appreciate that at all. It made my aching muscles a little more stiff but at least there was no further damage, and Lyle’s truck was okay.
I have been trying to get some work done and help my staff with all of the big programs we have starting up for our busy season in January, but it’s difficult, because I cannot work very long at a time. I get tired fast and my brain shuts down. Thank goodness for voice recognition software so I can talk to my computer instead of trying to type all this with my wrong hand!
Each day I just try to focus on getting healthier and doing everything I can to improve, but it is hard, and I don’t feel like eating, hardly around much all day. Because of that, I have dropped down to 183 pounds, from 200 pounds. My amazing wife is doing a fantastic job of working around her schedule, our 3 year old’s schedule, and my needs. She is truly an amazing woman!
While I was back at my regular doctors office for a follow-up, he was reading my MRI and neurology reports to Hilary I, and it was then that it finally hit home how serious this could have been. He read through the reports, then stopped, pushed his chair away from his desk and looked past me to my wife, and said “we are so lucky to still have him here with us. We almost lost him.”. He went on to explain that my particular type of head injury with the damage to my frontal lobes, usually resulted in total loss of a personality. That I am darn lucky to be recovering as well as I am. The analogy used was that the brain is quite robotic in a sense. Several different parts work to just do individual jobs, and it is the frontal lobe that creates a personality and has all of the pieces of the brain working together in one common goal. He said it’s like a bunch of people and each person can cook a particular item, but without the frontal lobe you would never put everything together to form a meal or have it on the table at the same time for dinner. We were quite floored by this diagnosis, and once again so grateful.
I started hyperbaric oxygen therapy this week a O2xy Wellness in Red Deer as well, where I lay in a recompression chamber, and breathe pure oxygen for an hour. It has already reduced the swelling in my left arm, and I feel like I am thinking more clearly now for longer periods of time.
We saw my surgeon today, and I got new x-rays to see how things are mending where the metal plates were installed.
My doctor is quite happy with the progress in that regard, and when I asked her how she thought things were going, her answer took my wife and I both by surprise. She said bluntly “I have never met anyone or had a patient that has recovered as well as you from such a severe injury. The damage to your brain is called a ‘diffuse axonal injury’, and most people are in an intensive care unit for 2 to 6 weeks if not the rest of their life. Your recovery is absolutely amazing.”
My wife and I again, were quite stunned, so of course after the appointment I did what anyone would do, I googled it. “Diffuse axonal injury is a brain injury which damage a form of extensive lesions white matter tracts occurs over a widespread area. DAI is one of the most common and devastating types of traumatic brain injury and is a major cause of unconsciousness and persistent vegetative state after trauma.”
So once again, I am completely humbled, and thankful for my life.
A little over 2 weeks ago, I was in the best shape of my life, and having an absolute blast at a race that I totally love. I was surrounded by great people, good friends, and so excited to be alive. Then a tiny little slippery section of road changed everything, and through the amazing selfless help of so many people I am still here, I am alive, and I am healing.
I’m not going to name names, as you know bloody well who you are…… but every single thing you did helped save my life, & made sure that my son has a father that is exactly how he remembers him.
That includes everybody that prayed for me, thought of, and wished me well. It includes all of my staff that carried on without me and made sure that our gym was run professionally and perfectly so that I had something to come home to.
I cannot possibly thank you all enough for that.
Somebody asked me the other day what I want for Christmas, and I just had to smile and say “I’m good, I have been gifted with everything I need.”
We are just taking a very short trip to visit family close by for Christmas this year, and I wish all of you an amazing holiday, and a spectacular 2016.
I will be doing everything I can to get back to where I was, and even stronger. I had Physiotherapy today, and the Epiley Maneuver was done again. It wasn’t nearly as bad, so that’s good. The crystals are mostly staying in place. I also did some range of motion work on my shoulder to start opening up a little. It’s nice to have the cast off too!
and yes….. We are still making the movie.
Finally, my wife bought me this card today, and I thought it was hysterical. And accurate.
This article was written by admin