is gathering 25 pledges to
#Loveyourbrain, Wear A Helmet!
Ok, here's my story. Very personal. Please be kind. . .
This campaign matters to me because had it not been for my helmet, I may not be alive. The first concussion I got was during a Smuggler's Poker Run up near Olympia in the Capitol State Forest. I think it was 2007 or 2008. Not sure now. It happened after Saturday's ride back at camp. I fell asleep shortly after. The next morning, I had a bad headache but it wasn't so bad that I couldn't go back out to finish the run. I remember over-focusing on the trail ahead of me. I stopped trusing my bike to do its job and sware I could see each rock of a pebbled course in front of me. Just couldn't focus. I didn't see a doctor because I didn't realize how bad it was.
I raced motorcycles as a kid and went down several times. Flipping my quad (TRX 400) was no biggie and happened all the time. I'd gotten used to it just being a part of riding. . . Plus, my brothers are more into tricks and stuff that I'm not, so I would often ride beyond my limit. Stupid, I know. This basically means that I'd get into at least one accident every time we went out. We went out a lot.
Then a few years later, I crashed hard at least three more times within 18 months. The first of those was in September of 2012. The second was the following September. (My brothers, me, and other friends went to Winchester Bay every Labor Day weekend.) The third time I hit hard was out in the trails in January of 2013. I landed on my shoulder and my head flung into a stump. I don't remember any of it. I was knocked out, and after I came to, had to wait for another friend to show up with a trailer - there's no way I could make it all the way back. We had launched from a trail head near my parents house so we didn't have any vehicles. Reinjuring a torn rotator cuff was a bonus. We were deep in the Cascades, so I had to ride my own bike out to a service road or leave it. "Unless you're dead, you ride in? You ride out." I did. Slowly.
Even today, I suffer from side effects of a mild brain injury. Concentration and short term memory problems are typical, and I'm no exception! I even stumble during my job at times. It's not that I get nervous necessarily. Let's just say that my thinking and my speech don't always play nicely with one another. It's awkward to appear that I don't know what I'm talking about in front of 30 teenagers, young adults who already think I'm a nut job!
Depression meds help with my attitude and keep me stable. I had to try several different ones for about a year to find the right match. I often use humor to deflect this invisible infliction. I wish the doctor would have warned me about this so I would know what was happening when my moods became progressively unpredictable. I'd get pissed for no reason, cry over spilled milk, or get emotional if I let my coffee cool too long. (I'm actually not kidding.) Who knew getting a concussion could cause depresstion!?! It was validating to hear about Kevin and the others from The Crash Reel film.
The tremors still plague me occasionally and are worse during stressful times, which was a lot this last fall. It keeps me from holding a camera steady, which sucks because photography had been one of my favorite hobbies. I pretty much have to stick to iPhonography. It also keeps me from riding my Harley as much as I'd like during the summer.
Migraines. Ah... That friend that just won't leave the house long after he's worn out his welcome. "Dude, just go already!" Sometimes it's so debilitating that I can't handle any light or move without getting nauseous. There are times when I've been locked in my room for days at a time. Paralyzed. New preventative meds have helped a LOT recently. That, the two surgeries last year, along with the initially undiagnosed depression kept me from eating much for a while. My doctor isn't positive this is why the migraines returned but it's a common side effect so who knows...
I've lost about 45-50 pounds over the last two years. Protein shakes have helped to get back up to 140 though. Most of my adult life, I've floated around 180-185. I tend to wear untucked Oxford-style button ups, sweatshirts, or add a layer with a vest or something because I'm pretty self-conscious about it. Embarrassing. I'm told of rumors and I'm asked all the time if I'm ok when I run into someone I haven't seen for awhile. The new Apple Watch is awesome, but I seriously look like a kid who's trying on his dad's jewelry.
So...yeah, wear a damn helmet. If you hit, throw it away and buy yourself a new hat. If you can't afford it, AstraZeneca may be able to help. . .
+15 over Jon's goal