A Hardware Upgrade

It’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog, the last entry is just before Andrea and I headed down to North Carolina. In addition to looking forward to having fun riding and getting caught up with some friends I was also intending to write up some product reviews.

I still intend to write those up but I’ll skip ahead in time to fill in the latest part of the story first. And I guess it’s a product and services comparison too… so I’ll just dive right in.

Last Sunday (April 7th) we went on a great and moderately difficult ride starting from Turkey Pen. This was all new terrain to us, although Jamie, Jen and Jeff knew the trails well. In fact Jamie injured himself on this set of trails last year, and had to go through an extended period of healing. This year it was me.

With about 5 miles still to go on the return trip I made a mistake and caught a rock with my front wheel which popped up and sent me flipping backwards. As the trail was along a steep part of the slope I fell something like 20 feet and slid a ways down. The bike went further.

I knew right away I’d hurt myself and that the worst injury was my neck. Some other cyclists were close behind and stopped to lend a hand. They gave me the usual “don’t move, what’s your name, do you know where you are & what day it is, etc” and it was all good there. I hadn’t lost consciousness and could wiggle all my bits. But my neck was locking up and was sore. I walked back up to the trail with some help and gathered my wits. About the time the rest of our group came back to see where Andrea and I were I was ready to start heading out. But there was no way I could ride; couldn’t lift my head enough to look ahead and couldn’t rotate it to see side to side. Walk it was… something between 5 to 8 km to the trail head.

Thanks to Jamie and Jeff for shuttling my bike out, it made it easier for me to walk and helped speed up the exit.

Then it was a slow drive down the bumpy road back to the highway, then to Transylvania County Hospital.

To cut a long story short, I left NC with a standard cervical brace and a diagnosis of “stable fracture to vertebrae C1 & C2”. Andrea stepped up to the challenge of driving us back home, the first time she’s had to drive Babe that much. And she did great.

My North Carolina neck brace

Once home I made an appointment with a neurologist I’ve been seeing for a different problem; he was not confident in the “stable” portion of the diagnosis so he sent me to Sunnybrook Hospital. That was this past Friday.

They did CT scans, an MRI, and some x-rays and took a very close look. And I’m glad they did. Multiple fractures to C1 made is highly unstable and left two options: surgery or a “halo”. They decided to go with the Halo cervical brace, which is designed specifically to support and immobilize the top of the spine (C1 & C2). Not a simple procedure, not a short-term cure. No surgery required though. And I was discharged into Andrea’s care Monday afternoon.

This hardware upgrade will be an intimate part of my life for the next 2-3 months.

I’ll save the personal photos of me and the new hardware for later. Here are some simple images to help set the context…

And I’ll still write up those other product reviews. That will be more fun.

The halo requires a special wrench, affixed to the chest at all times
My new best friend: the flexible straw

2 Replies to “A Hardware Upgrade”

  1. So sorry to hear about your crash…but very glad you’re ok!! All the best with your recovery 🙂

  2. Sorry to hear this but thankfully you are going to be ok, will we see you at BusFusion or is camping a no go for awhile ?

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