Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Post Concussion Day #2. Drove to work. Nauseous. Went home.

Post Concussion Day #3. Oozy road rash and oozy ointment was making my cheek a sticky gross mess. Washed it all off and slapped on a sheet of Tegaderm. Went for a walk on a breezy morning today and returned with no leaves, hair or small dogs attached to my face.

Post Concussion Day #4. Work for a half-day. The face surely gets students’ attention (whoa! harsh penalties for late books!). 6th graders said I look gnarly. I find work to be challenging to my thought processes: the constant interruptions take quite a bit of mental effort.

Post Concussion Day #5. I napped for 4.5 hours today--rest keeps the queasiness at bay. I overdid it yesterday. Crushing fatigue.

Post Concussion Day #6. Facebook is about the only thing I can concentrate on these days...then I nap. I’ve heard from three friends who’ve had similar experiencs. Looks like this will take a couple months.

Post Concussion Day #7. Easy paddle around Christmas Lake.

Post Concussion Day #8. Mark and I went back to the scene this morning armed with Garmins, texts, and a phone screenshot from last weekend. The accident site was pretty benign--fat, curving, tree roots, well-placed 3" tree--means I was complacent. I'd feel better if it was something gnarly.

Post Concussion Day #9. Went to work for the morning because I thought I should. It took me about 2 hours to write a coherent email to staff. Vertigo. Napped.

Post Concussion Day #10. Freeway driving exhausts me—do you have any idea how much multitasking is involved?

Post Concussion Day #11. Dr: Stay home through October 12th. I was amazed at how much stress that relieved.

Post Concussion Day #12. I'm finding my brain to be overly sensitive to things I didn't previously think much about: vitamins, caffeine, noises, carbs, sugar, music, rambling conversations....

Post-Concussion Day #13. Hmmm....what should I do today? Maybe I'll try SITTING AROUND since I HAVEN'T DONE ANY OF THAT LATELY.

Post Concussion Day #14. Today I'm going to shake things up and nap in the easy chair first, THEN the guest bed.

Post Concussion Day #15. Today’s watershed moment: grabbed a pencil to write down something and my fingers felt like fingers, instead of like stumps. I tolerated Pandora for an hour or two. Greg Brown radio=perfect. James Galway radio=drill in the side of my head...and I’m a flute player. Wilted during a quick errand run to grocery store and hardware.

Post Concussion Day #16. Vacuumed, groceries, made soup, and had conversation with a friend over lunch. Then a 2-hour nap after it all.

Post Concussion Day #18. I'm actually thinking it would be nice to get out for a walk....haven't DONE it yet, though. Headlights at night pierce my brain.

Post concussion Day #19. Last-minute appointment at neurologist. Clinic surrounded by road construction. Between the driving and the construction, my blood pressure was sky high, my legs ready to give out. Neurologist: Stay home until December 11. Me: DECEMBER 11?!? Options to go back early.

Post Concussion Day #20. On the way to WI, I show Mark the 2 Instagram pics I took of the Drive In..."hm, nice" he says, to which I respond "won't it be nice when you have a partner who can make intelligent conversation again, instead of 'look at the pretty thing I just made'?" to which HE responds, "at least you've stopped drooling!" Making it through the packing list: egads.

Post Concussion Day #21. Rainy morning breakfast after an evening of pizza and belly laughs with a crowd of friends...bit of a headache this AM, but it's all good medicine. Riding in car=fine.

Post concussion Day #24. It was a big, wonderful annual weekend away with friends. Lots of chatter. I was surprisingly OK not going mountain biking (drizzly weather). Pooped!

Post Concussion Day #23. Worn out. Slept late. Napped. Jammies all day.

Post Concussion Day #25. Lazy midday paddle with friends on Lake Minnetonka. Hmmm...retirement? I continue to be challenged by working my way through a list.

Post Concussion Day #25. Whoa! First day I've felt motivated to get outta my jammies by 8:00! Coffee with a friend, 1.43 mile walk with the dog, made granola, shuffled office piles.

Post Concussion Day #26. Went to work for a few hours in the quiet today (school isn't in session). Too much chatting, didn't get much done. Pooped at noon, left around 3:00. Too long. Supper out with friends, lots of talking. My head is tired.

Post Concussion Day #27. I was able to think ahead enough to have laundry going while I was making breakfast then vacuuming--this is new! Packing myself, some food and the dog for the weekend went a TON more quickly than last weekend.

Post Concussion Day #28. I continue to be challenged visually (clutter breaks my concentration) and auditorily (vacuum=fine; overheard phone conversation at grocery store=SHUT UP YOU)

Post Concussion Day #29. Back home after a weekend with family. Beautiful weekend and day.

Post Concussion Day #30. Did some work from home that seemed to take forever. I have energy for concentrating until about noon. Things still take me about twice as long. Hopped on the bicycle for about 4 miles...felt at home.

Non-Epilogue. Healing is micro-incremental, but is steady. I continue to be amazed with what our brains typically filter for us, and with what multitasking REALLY is (driving, grocery store). I'm not ancy yet at being away from work--my work involves some pretty intense multitasking and I'm clearly not ready (if it didn't involve a zillion 8-year-olds, I'd be fine!). My reading and my physical activity are gradually increasing. The brain's control of endurance is surprising--after the accident I was immediately exhausted, and I continue to have little energy. Any mood swings seem to involve easy irritation, but no depression. It all amazes and fascinates me.

-The better Old each Bag day

Tuesday, October 09, 2012


The helmet mystifies me.

Granted, the chunk of missing plastic came from the spot in the helmet where the visor clips in, however there are scratches and gouges going in three different directions, two significant. If I didn't know better, I'd say it was a fairly high-speed crash on some technical section, but there was nothing high-speed about my day. My other injuries, besides slight road rash on my left cheek, include a raspberry on my left shoulder and another on my right knee...no cuts, bruises, broken anything or road rash.

The jersey and knickers are intact. Shoes, gloves, elbows don't even show scuff marks. The front wheel is slightly out of true.

September had been a hellaciously busy month at work, and I hadn't been riding much. I wasn't feeling any need to push my pace or take features more complicated than a rock or two. The guys were off hammering, I was pulling up the rear and we'd regroup periodically. The trail was like cement due to a lack of rain, and was covered with a fine dust that rode a little greasy...earlier, I'd thought I'd let some air out at the next stop.

On the second lap I was happily wheeling along, and then I was standing there, looking at the trees and the trail: Whoa! I'm in the woods.

About the time Mark (WD) and crew were beginning to wonder about me, a rider came through and told them I'd spilled, that he'd helped me and hung around for a bit, that I was a little banged up but would be along. Mark texted me and started salmoning his way back down the trail.

I have no memory of the rider who helped me, no memory of the spill. I don't know if I had a loss of consciousness or if I functioned with amnesia. My awareness returned while standing in a spot that, according to my Garmin, was not where I spilled. I don't remember getting up and walking with my bike. About 10-15 minutes are lost. About 40 minutes are cloudy.

The Garmin implicated a curvy piece of trail that angled ever so slightly downhill. It wasn't anything gnarly (we initially thought it happened at a technical hairpin nearby), and according to the GPS I was going 6.5 mph. Given my vaporous recollections, the best I can put together is that I grabbed for my Camelbak bite valve, leaving me with a relaxed one-handed grip on the bars. As the trail curved right, there were exposed roots. I must have bobbled enough to be tossed forward and left. My helmet and face met a 4" tree on the left side of the trail before hitting the ground.

A beautiful kick-back day, greasy conditions, one-handed, roots, tree...the perfect storm.

- The Old forensics Bag

Sunday, October 07, 2012


Sunday 9/23

Monday 9/24

Tuesday 9/25
Blessed Tegaderm

Wednesday 9/26
Half-Day of Work (and a 7-mile easy trail ride)

Friday 9/27
Second of Two Days Spent Napping 
Wed's Half-Day at Work (and 7-mile easy trail ride)

Saturday 9/29

Sunday 9/30
Attitude is Good!

Sunday 10/7
Two Weeks Later

Now I'm concentrating on healing the INSIDE of the head.

-The recuperating Old Bag