I crashed on 8/22 while warming up for a MTB race. I hit a steep jump that I wasn't expecting, lost control, and went over the bars. The guy who was a few seconds behind me found me face down in the dirt having seizures, while breathing in dirt with a pool of blood forming around my head. I was unconscious for at least 5 minutes. Thankfully, my helmet took most of the blow. It cracked and cut my forehead, which was causing the bleeding. I was intubated and taken to a local trauma center. X-rays and CT scans showed no fractures or other significant damage to my head, neck, etc.. The real concern was some intracranial bleeding in my parietal lobe, so apparently I was put in a medically induced coma (don't know the details on that). I was held in the CCU until 8/24, when a second CT scan showed the bleeding had stopped. I was awake and they moved me to a regular room. They discharged me on 8/25 after I had passed their post-concussion test and felt everything was OK. I obviously got a fair amount of road rash.
Neurologically I feel 100%. My memory up until the crash has come back...I remember going down the hill and vaguely having the "oh shit" feeling when I hit the jump. I feel as if I do occasionally feel I have some other memory issues, but it's so minor. I have a hard time telling how I'm different mentally/emotionally than before the crash. My only other neurological symptom is momentarily feeling light-headed/dizzy when I lie down, after looking up at the ceiling or down at the floor. No sleeping, balance issues, etc. I have my first follow-up with a neuro in a couple of weeks.
I did have some neck/shoulder/side pain the first 1-2 weeks. Went to urgent care and then an orthopedic, but they said no fractures and it's probably just a soft tissue. The ortho gave me a cortisone shot and 1 week of oral steroids, and recommended PT. The steroids pretty much took care of the pain/inflammation. I saw my trauma surgeon for a follow-up yesterday, and he said everything looked good from his perspective
I have had some CV/breathing issues that I'll bring up next in my post-crash fitness.
My appetite and diet has been affected. What's kind of freaking me out is that I've lost 4-5 lbs, since the crash despite pretty much eating the same amount while working out less.
So, for a quick benchmark, I was in the best cycling shape of my life before the crash. My FTP was about 300 watts and my weigh was around 140 lbs. I usually biked 150-200 miles per week. Like any good endurance athlete, I was back on the bike (Zwift) 5 days after my crash. I was of course hurting, but got 30 minutes in and overall felt OK. I then got outside 1 week after my crash. I've gradually built my mileage up (longest ride being 40 miles) and got 150 miles in on the bike last week. I haven't tried running yet. My balance, etc. on the bike is fine, and have even taken my CX bike out on the dirt.
Now for what's really bothering me. Going for an easy effort doesn't bother me much, expect I do notice my HR elevated more than usual. What got me was going up a short hill a couple of weeks ago (just 100 feet). I felt like I was going to have an asthma attack at the top (I have allergies, but no real history of asthma). I feel that way anytime I put in a relatively short effort (eg, 250 watts for 1-2 minutes). I now carry an inhaler with me on my rides. I just feel as if my lungs and heart can't keep up. It's almost as if I'm not carrying enough O2 in my blood. Here's a quick comparison of the effect on my performance:
Starcrest Strava segment: 0.8 mile, 253 ft, 5% hill.
Week before crash: 14.5 MPH, 349 watts, 169 bpm, RPE (9 out of 10)
2 weeks after crash: 9.2 MPH, 193 watts, 167 bpm, RPE (12 out of 10) - Barely made it up the hill, and had to use an inhaler at the top
I'm at a loss for why I suck so bad. It's obviously related to the crash, since I didn't loose THAT much fitness in 2 weeks. I saw a pulmonologist yesterday and she's going to have me do a lung function test. Probably the most frustrating thing for me now. Just trying to figure out what's up. If it just needs time to heal, not big deal. Any ideas for the type of physician to see for something like this?
Thanks again for the help!
"Most of my heroes don't appear on no stamps"
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