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Old 11-20-2011, 05:47 AM   #1
MysterYvil
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Recovering from Brain Injury

In April of this year I blew out my carotid artery (technically, I suffered "a dissection of the carotid artery), which resulted in five stroke events. Luckily, I was having lunch with Mrs. at the time of the strokes; she immediately called 911, and the first responders were prompt in arriving and dead-on with their assessment.

[I'm 46, with good blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and BMI, and a four-year record of them. The Kaiser docs were very surprised. Talk about no longer being "ten feet tall and bulletproof!"]

Spent four days in ICU and seven as an inpatient. The immediate effects were slackness/loss of control of the right side of my face, loss of use of my left arm from the shoulder down (I could feel stimuli, but had no control), holes in my long- and short-term memory, and a difficulty in forming new short-term memories.

The facial slackness went away in the first two days, without a conscious effort on my part. I still occasionally have hitches, but they are momentary at worst.

The loss of use of my left arm was a real concern; I'm not ready to step back to a Helix, and the DN-01 just ain't my style. I spent the first day in the hospital concentrating on my left arm, and by the end of the day I could twitch my fingers. I whined until they sent me a physical therapist- he made me a squeeze-ball of surgical gloves and medical tape, which I used throughout my hospital stay, and still have today.

On Day Three, a good friend of mine brought me a keyboard (I've been a data-grind for almost twenty years). It was the opinion of my second PT professional that doing tasks my brain was acquainted with would help with my recovery, help my brain forge new pathways to usual tasks. She was very right, in my case- I worked that keyboard assiduously, and by Day Six was able to type without conscious thought.

To this day, though, memory is still dodgy. I've been working crossword puzzles and re-reading old books to work that out. It seems to be helping, but I still have to think hard about getting from Point A to Point B, in my hometown and in SF, both of which I had previously owned in my mind.

I was discharged on Easter Sunday, after 11 days in the hospital. Directed to avoid head injuries (therefore, no riding), "heavy" physical activity (therefore, no workouts), and put on 7.5mg/5.0mg Warfarin (a blood thinner), and 60mg Simvistatin (a cholesterol med, to keep things from sticking).

The "no head injuries" directive kept me out of the saddle for six months.

While on the meds I developed fibromyalgia, much to my chagrin. Tingling and random pains...

In mid-October, I had a follow-up CT-Angio test, which determined that my carotid was a healed as it was ever going to get. The docs directed me to leave off the meds, and said I could resume riding after a week.

Exactly one week after I was back on my moto. I wanted to ride forever, but riding takes better shape than what I was in... And the first small-group ride I did, a mere two hours, left me totally shagged out.

Six months of lazing about and not working out had robbed me of the basic strength to ride, and had dulled my reflexes immensely.

Long (TL,dr) story short, I'm still riding as cautiously as a newbie, and I'm still taking it slow and steady. I can get to and from work, but I ain't yet back up to Friday Night standards.

But I will be!
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Old 11-20-2011, 06:05 AM   #2
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Wow man, glad you're still here to type. Get better soon so we can get to swilling beers..
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Old 11-20-2011, 06:45 AM   #3
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Wow man, glad you're still here to type. Get better soon so we can get to swilling beers..
Thank you!

The worst part about being on high-dosage blood thinners? NO RIDING!

The second worst? Only two beers a day...

(I'm hoping we can all do a mended riders beer-a-thon next year, just before the "official" riding season starts!)
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:15 AM   #4
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Heck, i can't really drink more than two beers either; if I make it to three, I piss the first two out. Then i have to start all over again.. sheese!

How does one go about rupturing their neck artery anyway? Good sex?



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Originally Posted by MysterYvil View Post
Thank you!

The worst part about being on high-dosage blood thinners? NO RIDING!

The second worst? Only two beers a day...

(I'm hoping we can all do a mended riders beer-a-thon next year, just before the "official" riding season starts!)
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:26 AM   #5
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Thanks for sharing your story. Glad to have you with us!
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:39 AM   #6
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Heck, i can't really drink more than two beers either; if I make it to three, I piss the first two out. Then i have to start all over again.. sheese!
Ditto here, but isn't starting over part of the charm of beer?

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How does one go about rupturing their neck artery anyway? Good sex?
Sneezing, of all things. Usually a dissection is a result of bad vascular condition (not even close in my case) or a neck injury. Mine was due to "suddenly elevated intrathoracic pressure." I had 10-12 hard sneezes, which overstrained my carotid artery. Who knew?

(And I've had TONS of good sex, but never blew out my carotid. However, the incident out most definitely affected my sex life, as apparently no one wanted to be known as the one who killed me...)


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Thanks for sharing your story. Glad to have you with us!
Thank you, and my pleasure!



PS- if your partner dials 911 'cause she thinks you're having a stroke, DO NOT ARGUE! She's right, and you'll feel stupid when you're laid up in a hospital from a stroke...

Last edited by MysterYvil; 11-22-2011 at 03:45 PM..
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Old 11-20-2011, 08:34 AM   #7
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Thank you for sharing your experience with us. Your description of that event was insightful, frightening, and inspiring.

I hope you rapidly resume your normal life and activities
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Old 11-20-2011, 08:52 AM   #8
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Wow, thanks for sharing your story. Eye opener for sure and glad you are on a fast road to recovery. I guess it just goes to show everybody it does not really matter how young or how great of shape you are in freak things can happen.
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Old 11-20-2011, 08:58 AM   #9
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Wow. Glad you're here. And thanks for writing about your own ability to bounce back--has the potential to be inspiring and useful to others, esp. those among us who've had traumatic brain injury.

Also, it is somewhat corny and ever so popular, but have you read Jill Bolte Taylor's "My Stroke of Insight?"

She, too, had a really early and unexpected stroke and had to fight like mad to regain her brain function--as a neurologist and scientist. She's developed a pretty bitchin' theory of brain plasticity, and is convinced that with support, rest, and gradual training and activities, people can regain their brain.

Good luck in continued recovery, man.
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Old 11-20-2011, 05:23 PM   #10
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Wow sorry to hear about that. I'm glad you're recovering well and hope you can come back 100%.
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:33 PM   #11
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Jeebus fella - sounds like quite th journey - glad ur still here!
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:44 PM   #12
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Scary stuff.. glad your off the med's and back in the saddle.. quite the journey and it seems like you are getting back to being you again.... a rider
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Old 11-20-2011, 08:40 PM   #13
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Good to hear you are on the road to recovery... and those short- but- sweet rides are an awesome start.
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Old 11-22-2011, 01:37 PM   #14
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Wow, good thing that you recovered! Sneezing, really? Wow...
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Old 11-22-2011, 02:00 PM   #15
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So glad you're here to tell the story.
I've heard that sneezing puts an enormous amount of pressure on the brain but dang.
Now if I ever sneeze past five I'm gunna be thinking of you and I don't think I even know you.
Keep up the recovery!
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