Using my old military First Aid training to assess myself, I found no obvious injuries apart from a constellation of bruises and scrapes.
But I couldn’t talk, or swallow.
When I got to the hospital, they triaged me quickly because throat injuries can damage the airway.
The doctors let my husband stay, to be my voice.
When they got my CT scan results, the emergency doctors said they were amazed that I didn’t have any subdural hematoma or brain bleeding, or any signs of concussion.
Several of them told me that my helmet probably saved my life, and my brain.
My husband proudly told them that he’d bought us very good quality helmets, because head injuries can lead to dementia – and could worsen my current cognitive issues.
I’ve been living with a ‘mild cognitive impairment’ since 2018, from a rare disease with which I was struck in 2016; an autoimmune and neuro-inflammatory condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).
My only injuries were a fractured trachea or windpipe, and hemorrhaged vocal cords.
After a night under observation, to be sure that my airway wasn’t damaged, an ear-nose-and-throat (ENT) surgeon scoped my throat and confirmed that I wouldn’t need surgery.
Physical activity – aerobic exercise in particular – is good for both chronic pain and cognitive issues, so it’s important to me to get plenty of exercise.
The moral of this little story?
Exercise is important, but so is wearing a cycling helmet – because you never know what might happen when you’re riding!