Somewhere I have a treasure trove of these, but this one is obvious. It was taken the night of May 17, 2018, when I was hit by a car doing 65 mph, just before the recovery surgeon came into the waiting room to tell my wife, “If he lives for three days, that’s a good thing.” Apparently, understatement is a thing in medical school.
I had a bicycle race the next day – the State of South Carolina Senior’s 10m TT – and I had competitive times going in. I got home from work the night before and my wife had left a note: Took the girls to work. Be home at 6:30. I looked at my watch and I had an hour to go before they got home. It sounded perfect for a quick 25-mile warm-up for the race the next day.
I hopped on my bike and sped away but didn’t make it home for almost four months. A car hit me about three miles out. There’s controversy among those who care as to whether the driver was on the phone or looking for a sandwich. All I know is that he hit me, and my bike crumpled beneath me in the grass. I was thrown like a discus and landed on my right side a hundred feet away, my brain banging hard against the inside of my skull. Machines breathed for me for a week, and I was in and out of consciousness for a month. Finally, I went to the Shepherd Brain and Spine Center in Atlanta. If you have any kind of brain injury or TBI, I can’t recommend it enough. Really. And I have the experience to say so.
This photo, of course, is my broken collar bone. Surgeons said that my entire shoulder pulled away from the back muscles that hold it in place and that from this break downward, all they found were shards. But they put me back together with titanium. My left leg was broken in two places and all my right teeth were broken at the gum line from my fall. A dentist recommended to me that a specialist open up my right lower jaw to scrape away debris from the broken teeth, and, well, I told him he was nuts. My GP agreed, saying it sounded more like a medieval torture procedure than a dental thing. If it doesn’t hurt,” he said, “I wouldn’t bother with it.” I rubbed my chin and agreed.
In all, I had two breaks in my leg, a broken collar bone, a mostly shattered right shoulder, a broken lower back, and the teeth on the right side of my mouth were broken. No one knows exactly why, but every day I feel like I’m wearing a hundred-pound vest: it doesn’t really hurt, but in everything I do, I feel like I’m pushing against a heavy weight. I’ve wondered if it’s my TBI, if my brain is trying to alert telling my body, telling me that something’s amiss.
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If you have TBI or PTSD and another kind of brain injury, you might like my book, “Can I Fix My Brain?” available on Amazon. You can read it for free if you have Kindle Unlimited, or is available inexpensively as a paperback. If you can’t afford it – and I know better than most that this stuff can be expensive – then respond to the post and we’ll work something out. It’s a reference for what to expect during recovery and I think you would enjoy it.