Here's my PSA on the importance of helmets:
“If you were a professional athlete, you just received a season-ending concussion,” said my neurosurgeon.
On March 9th, I knocked myself out for the second time in my life. The first time was in elementary school when I executed a face plant after launching off a homemade ramp on a push scooter in our driveway. That time I wasn’t wearing a helmet. This time I flew over my handlebars at Oak Street and Oakwood Lane and again broke my fall with my face. This time I split my helmet and had “summer teeth” as in some are in my head, and some are in the street. I got my broken teeth repaired on March 17th, I assume with dental-grade Bondo.
So what caused my latest crash? I don’t remember. I’ve watched enough X-Files to know lost time is 100% due to aliens. On the other hand, I don’t feel probed and I’m not sculpting mashed potatoes, so maybe not aliens. I had just transitioned from a busy street to what seemed like the relative safety of a sidewalk. A good Samaritan found me sitting beside my bike and spoke at me for several minutes before I eventually responded. I wisely accepted his offer for a ride home. I had been on a twenty-mile ride, and wrecked just a couple miles from home. I took a quick shower and set a shard of tooth beside the bathroom mirror in homage to The Fly.
My wife came home from shopping as I was dressing. “Rachael I need you in the bathroom. I crashed my bike and have memory loss,” were my first words to her. So off we went to Sherman Hospital. Sitting in an emergency room for twenty minutes with open wounds didn’t feel particularly safe during Covid. A CT scan that evening showed a mild brain bleed so I had to spend the night being monitored in intensive care with a follow-up scan scheduled for 5AM. I slept maybe an hour that night. The second scan showed the bleeding had resolved. A few hours later the director of the intensive care unit said, “I’ve never done this before, but I’m discharging you directly from the ICU.” Normally a head injury like mine earns three days in the hospital. The consulting neurosurgeon told me to stay off my bike for six to eight weeks. I heard “up to six” and Rachael heard a firm eight weeks.
At discharge we were told that I should minimize my time reading and staring at screens. But while I was lying in the hospital, I went online and researched “safest bike helmet” and ordered a replacement. I found that I cared much less about how it looked versus how it performed in testing. My new brain bucket is sitting on my desk as I write this, eagerly waiting for a first ride in May.
On March 15th we paid a visit to a neurologist in Chicago who said I should gradually reintroduce reading and screen time. Hence this little crash report to test out the old noggin. So, I’m on the mend and thankful for all the well wishes, food, and flowers. A week later, the only thing that still hurt was the road rash on my left knee. Once again, Rachael was a rock in another storm. She deserves every bit of love she receives from family and friends. For those who expressed concern for my bike, I only lost a bit a paint on the handlebars and I gave her a tune-up while I'm healing. So happy spring and remember this if nothing else: Wear a helmet!