Thursday, 24 September 2015


I cannot take credit, or blame, for the side-splittingly funny blog title. That honour goes to my friend Morag, who has been hugely helpful, along with my other friends, over the past few days.

Most regular readers will no doubt be familiar with the bicycle crash in Wyoming two months ago. Recovery has been going really well and the only remaining ailment is rehabilitation of my wrist after the cast was removed three weeks ago.

Or so I comfortably thought.

About 10 days ago I started to feel a tension headache, as if my brain was too big for the inside of my skull. I took various headache meds, but for some curious reason none of them worked. As the week progressed the tension started to feel worse as if someone was tightening a strap around my head.

By Friday I was experiencing sharp stabbing pains in the right side of my head, so painful that it would stop me in my tracks and make me screw up my eyes. Maybe I was starting to suffer from migraines I thought. I was aware that after a head trauma you can experience headaches for up to a year after, so I took off to a local all-night supermarket pharmacy and bought the strongest painkillers I could find.

The following day I was teaching six classes of film making to young student minds, as I do every week, and in the evening I was out with friends, but went home early, feeling rough.

During the night I awoke knowing that this was something more than a migraine. At this point I made no connection with the bicycle crash. That was a full two months ago afterall.

I took myself off to the nearest hospital triage unit and, after me telling them, almost as an aside to the pain I was in, about the bicycle crash and the head impact, they immediately whisked me off for a CT scan. The result was both astonishing and scary. The right hemisphere of my brain had been compressed to two thirds of its size due to a large clot the size of a splayed out hand.

It seemed as if I had no sooner been shown the scan result, than a wheelchair turned up and I was racing across the city of Edinburgh in an ambulance to the waiting neurological surgical team on the opposite side of the city.

Five days later and I'm sitting upright resting in the same hospital, the operation a distant memory now. For those medically minded among you, the procedure was an "evacuation of a subdural haematoma". The only thing to show now is two small shaved patches of hair and two permanent holes in my head, now covered by healing skin.

It is all quite surreal. It turned out that I had been bleeding since the impact. It would never have shown up until three to five weeks later, or, as happened, when symptoms presented themselves.

I recall a few days after the crash, at the end of July, saying how fortunate it was that I had been wearing a helmet and that things could have been quite different without one. But now I find it unsettling that if I can end up with this emergency situation months later having worn a helmet . . . well, needless to say it is obvious to me now what not wearing one would have resulted in.

Look on the bright side though, what a great addition to the film!

I am one very lucky boy.

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