Guess the injury….

[4 min read]

I’m into sports. I go to the gym, I do Crossfit and HIIT, I have a lovely vintage race bike, I ski, I am a cold water/ice swimmer, I hike up mountains, I run, I play tennis, I sky dive, I scuba dive and I have 2 jobs. I’m married.

By March 2018 I’m seriously injured. It takes just over 2 years to recover.

What would you guess my injury was?

Me, 3 days before the accident

A tiny little huge accident

This accident was mind blowing in how many people underestimated it, including me. What transpired from a little accident on a cold March morning was surreal. It’s an accident of insights, comic moments, Eureka!’s and woodpeckers. I’ve been asked so many questions, retold the story so many times and know so enough people who have suffered from this injury too, that I’ve decided to write a book that anyone and everyone can read. As this is a weekend project of writing its not ready right now, but if you want to be kept informed about its release, leave your email in the “sign up” box at the bottom of the blog.
But for now, I’ll give you the very much abridged version while you guess the injury.

I’d started a new job in Berlin 6 weeks before the accident. It was a cold March morning I was biking to work through Berlin-Mitte. Just before the last junction metal buckled loudly somewhere else in the city and I instantaneously stopped existing in the world. I woke up, my face firmly planted into the cold wet tarmac of a road.
To this day I can’t tell you what happend, but the old lady in the yellow car can. She was the reason I was sprawled out on a road and she was the first face I saw when I regained control of my brain and was conscious again. Apparently I had finally been introduced to the classic bikers accident – a good old “dooring”. I’m not a fan.

To my own amazement nothing seemed to be broken in me, just the bike. My face was a bit of a mess having kissed the tarmac rather passionately, my knee felt like it had been wrapped around my bike 6 times, my right hand hurt and was also looking a paler shade of purple, my clothes were wet and cold with the odd bit of fabric swinging open, my iPhone in my jacket pocked hadn’t enjoyed the trip either and I was all-in-all a bit discombobulated.
The next 24 hours were full of bad adrenaline decisions and error judgements by those who were supposed to be wise and useful, and it set me up on the black comedy journey of 2 years to recover from one of my injuries!

Me, after I got home from the accident with a beaten up face

So what was the big injury then?

The choices for complicated injuries; damage to my face, knee, or wrist. Which would you guess was the bad one?
That Friday night I was alone on the sofa feeling sorry for myself. (My husband was obviously out of town for the weekend I take on my first road accident). Everything hurt. The adrenaline was gone and the accident set in for the weekend.
By Monday I was feeling no better. Worse actually. I arrived at the doctors office for my check-up, to see when I’d be allowed back to work. I retold the accident as best I could, what transpired over the weekend and it was duely noted that I definitely had injured my wrist, knee and face. Time was the prescription for recovery. But then the doctor added a sneaky late comer to the injury line-up.


And this, my dear readers, is the silent injury that took more than 2 years to recover from! The wrist, knee and face healed in a few weeks as predicted. The concussion however was the elephant in the medical room. The proverbial “hot potato” that every doctor passed quickly on to the next. All the while I was getting worse and worse when I thought I was supposed to be getting better. And so apparently did the doctors.

Over the next 9 month I saw the full remit of medical specialists; Orthopaedic doctors, Radiologists, Neurologists, Ear-Nose-Throat doctors, Opthalmologists, Neuro-opthalmologists, Psychologists, Physiotherapists, Chiropractors and Osteopaths.
The experience taught me this… Doctors and their processes were not treating the concussion. I wasn’t sure if they didn’t understand what was wrong with me or if they simply didn’t believe there was anything wrong with me. The menagerie of symptoms I was exhibiting was too wild. When each specialist failed to restrain the symtpoms to his narrow domain, failed to be able to prescribe a single treatment, they dismissed it as not their problem to deal with. After 9 months of frustrting appointments and getting no better I gave up on seeing any more medical specialists. They were driving me more crazy than I already was with the concussion.
That left me alone and I almost gave up believeing I would recover.

The burning question ever since has been : What is with concussion? Why are doctors not helping?

Because doctors work in their own professional silo. They don’t venture out or dare to tresspass on another’s territory. And concussion is absolately not a neat and tidy injury. It’s got bits in all the medical territories.
Let’s look at my concussion symptoms- I couldn’t tolerate any exertion above walking (cardiovascular dysregulation), everyday situations caused a high stress response (autonomic nervous system dysregulation), having to watch moving cars at a road crossing made me throw up and it also made it hard to cross roads!, reading was almost impossible or it was so exhausting I had to sleep right after (visual system disruption), little birds sounded like Boeing 737s taking off in my head, music was unbearable, people talking was traumatic, sound cancelling headphones were my only salvation (auditory system dysregulation), I slept 19 hours a day to be able to function for the remaining 5 (sleep, metabolism and multiple other systems being dysregulated), and there were many, many more weird and wonderful things to add. As you can imagine, working was tricky as was having a life.
Needless to say, as doctor after doctor failed to deal with the central problem I was finding it excruciatingly hard to exist in the world the way I had before the concussion.

I obviously did get better, although I am not the person I was before the accident. That is for sure. Many things had to be changed in my life, like my habits, my choices, my way of thinking, the way I exist in the world. Most actually changed for the better I can know admit, even if I was resentful of being forced to make the changes because of an accident.

So, the moral of the story is – try to avoid old ladies in yellow cars.
No, really – it’s actually to know 1 thing, if you get concussion, there is much better help avaialble. As injuries go, it sucks! Don’t let it go on for more than a few weeks. It really doesn’t have to. I tell you that from bitter experience and now being well educated on concussion.

Since my accident I went on a bit of a concussion fact finding mission. I ended up in Canada (virtually!) with the Complete Concussion Management Institute (CCMI). The treatment they have for concussion makes sense. No silos. And it works! Is it available in Germany, in Berlin? Not that I found in my 3 years of searching. So I trained wtih CCMI and became a concussion management therapist.

I hope my little story has made you curious enough to ask a few more questions. Or at least find out about the woodpecker in my story. If you have questions or are ready to read the book, give me your email below and we’ll stay in touch on the topic of concussion.

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Next Blog: What the heck is a concussion anyway?

I am a fully qualified concussion management practitioner, I trained with the Canadian based Complete Concussion Management Institute. I offer education and services for anyone with concussion including concussion testing, symptom management and rehabilitation and manual therapy for the head and neck. I also deal with sports specific concussion and baseline testing (very advisable if you are in a high risk impact sport and is available for individuals and teams),
If you want more information on concussion management and what I can offer please use the subscribe link above. I will only use your email to contact you regarding concussion.