Thursday, February 10, 2011

One Year Post-Accident on Feb. 17!!

Hard to believe it was a year ago on Feb. 17 that my accident on a Segway occurred. In honor of the event, I looked at some photos taken 3 days post-accident. Not pretty.

Looking at them made me cringe (and a little nauseous), as well as sad at all that had happened and that I went through. And reminded me of how far I've come. I still experience some lip numbness, and my teeth and bite will never be the same. But compared to what could have happened, I'll take it!

This seems as good a time as any to again recognize and thank the wonderful friends and family members who provided so much love and encouragement during my many months of recovery. Thank you. Your support made all the difference and I feel so fortunate and blessed to have such wonderful people in my life!!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Further proof, if we needed it, that segways are dangerous

Very tragic, but hopefully this will make folks think twice about riding the things!

As for me: I'm doing great! No more surgeries (I hope), so that's the biggest improvement. I still spend a lot of time visiting doctors for follow-ups. And visiting dentists. My bite is still off and my mouth hurts sometimes. And my lips are still partially numb, even after 7.5 months! I guess this is a long recovery.

But compared to where I was, this is a huge improvement.

The other lingering annoyance is the ongoing battle with the insurance company. Since dentists have had to get involved and I don't have dental coverage, they are arguing these visits shouldn't be covered. I'm still explaining...and explaining...and explaining...that I'm not seeing the dentist to have my teeth whitened! It's a medical issue.

I'll keep trying...

Thanks to everyone who sent me the news about the Segway CEO's accident.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lotsa nothing

This is a good report, insofar as there's really nothing much to report. My nose still has some swelling and therefore congestion, but it's much better and improving by the week. My bite is still off (I can't really bite carrots or chewy bread) but again, much better and I'm no longer in pain.

I'm particularly happy to report that I'm beginning to get feeling back on the right side of my lips. I was concerned that the nerve damage was permanent, but I guess that just takes a really long time to heal. It's already been 5 and 1/2 months since the accident on February 15 (hard to believe!), and my lips are still numb. But there is some sensation there, where there hadn't been before.

Happy (and very lucky) me!!

Thank you for all of the support through my recovery. I know it helped!


Thursday, July 8, 2010

follow-up with the ENT surgeon

Yesterday I went to Boston to follow-up with the ENT surgeon. It was a nice day to visit Boston and an easy trip to and from the T.

This surgeon has been amazing. I never had any bruising. Whereas I had read on the Web that people experienced pain when the packing was taken out, that didn't happen with me. So I wasn't nervous in the least about this appointment and was looking forward to having "crap in my nose" (this is the often-used medical terminology) removed so I could breathe more easily.

The surgeon pulled out some gunk (I'll spare you more detail). He also snipped a few of the stitches that he could reach. I thought they were supposed to dissolve, and maybe they are, but they're not really coming out very quickly. Mucus then gets caught on them and blocks my airways, which is the problem I was having treated in the first place. That being said, I can still breathe a lot better now than before the surgery, stitches notwithstanding.

Anyway, I could breathe a little better after he removed a few of the stitches. I imagine I'll feel better still when the swelling is reduced and the stitches that are farther back fall out (or dissolve or whatever happens to make them go away).

The surgeon said that things were looking good and that I should feel significant improvement in 6+ weeks. So far, everything he's told me has pretty much been on the mark, so I should feel much better on August 18, 2010.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sad news unrelated to the accident

Today we had to say goodbye to Rocky. He was a rescue Shih Tzu that came into my life when he was about 7. I'd never had a dog before. He was a wonderful companion and friend. I think he spent the first part of his life in a crate and very alone, but he spent the second half surrounded by people and love and begging for (and often getting) treats.

Anyway, the poor little guy (now nearly 12) had had chronic heart disease but out of the blue developed severe liver problems. This Monday, he stopped eating and drinking. While I would have preferred to allow him to die at home, in familiar surroundings, the lack of fluid in particular was starting to become clearly uncomfortable if not painful.

So we brought him to our very compassionate vet and said goodbye to him this afternoon. I'm sure he is snagging treats from God as I type this.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

We like, "Do nothing!"

Continuing from my previous post...

I had seen a new dentist, who had suggested braces, since my regular dentist was out of town and my teeth hurt quite a bit. The new dentist did help relieve some of the pain but had also suggested braces.

Not being too thrilled about the prospect of more procedures and braces, even with the option of finding bands to color coordinate with my outfits, I returned to my regular dentist to get another opinion. He noted that my teeth hurt because the roots were traumatized by the nasal surgery and suggested we do nothing for awhile.

Nothing?! I like "do nothing!" In fact, I love "do nothing!"

So...I'm going to do nothing. At the end of August, my regular dentist will check my teeth again (and refit me for a mouth guard to wear at night, since I'm a teeth grinder and my old guard bears no resemblance to where my teeth are currently situated). He's taking a very conservative approach and that seems very reasonable to me.

Otherwise, I'm making slow but positive strides. The scar tissue in my nose must be healing, because I can breathe a little more easily. My surgeon said that would take a month or two to resolve, and I have a follow-up appointment with him in mid-July. My bite is still very off but less so since the new dentist filed several teeth.

Things are looking up!

The one thing I hadn't mentioned in awhile is that I am now terrified to ride my bike on the road. I could work on this...but I'd rather not. Riding in my neighborhood is reasonably uninteresting, since there is only an isolated half-mile road; otherwise, I'd have to ride on streets that are too busy for my comfort level. But I can live with riding locally or driving my bike to a bike path.

I'll work on becoming an expert at archery instead. I'm already pretty good and that feels much safer!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Braces?! But I'm 51!!

I should have known that getting ready to sign off on my blog was a recipe for problems to develop. I could just feel the bad karma start to seep through my keyboard as I attempted to sign off last time.

I have no idea if my last post means no one will read this, though that's ok. I'll type it anyway, and maybe readers will come.

I saw one of the many dentists I hope to keep employed and happy through my recovery today. He did some slight adjustments to a few teeth. My teeth and mouth had started feeling a lot better, but then it seemed like everything had been jarred and upset again since the nasal surgery.

He then said that the next step was probably to see an orthodontist because my mouth really doesn't close properly on my left side. And the pain I'm experiencing is probably due to the fact that there's so much pressure from the teeth on the right side and everything needs to be shifted.

I suspect he's right. I also suspect that I'm not going to do anything about it for awhile. Yes, I should...but I am burned out and procedured-out. My nose is still blocked (ironically) from scar tissue acquired during the surgery. That will settle down in a month or so (I hope!!). I think I'm just going to leave everything alone for awhile and give my body and head a break from the nonstop doctor and dentist visits.

I hope, if I need them, that braces have improved a LOT since I was 13!!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Almost End

I was noting this morning that today marks the 4-month anniversary since the accident February 17, 2010. And that I might not really have that much more to add. At least, that's my hope (and who can top my two TMI posts anyway??). I need for my nose to stop swelling and open up and stop being sore. And I need for my teeth to stop hurting and for my bite to be corrected. But I'm not sure those merit daily or weekly blog updates.

So, I'll probably wind this down now and only post on rare occasion. At least, that's my hope (meaning, I hope I don't end up with more to need to report).

Thank you for all of your support!!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

TMI - The Nightmare Continues

So today I got the packing removed from my nose. If you thought my last post was gross, you'll love what's coming!

But I'll start on a less disgusting note. It felt wonderful when I got back from visiting the surgeon to take a shower and not worry about getting bandages wet and really washing my face and my hair!

It feels great too to be able to breathe again. Breathing isn't quite as easy as I'd hoped, not yet anyway. The tissues inside my nose are still healing and swollen and want to block off my airways again. There are stitches that need to dissolve and, in the process, swell and collect mucus. And my nose is still very raw to the touch.

All of this should improve over the next month or so, but the surgeon indicated that it would probably get worse before it gets better. I am using saline solution and ointment 7-15 times per day and will visit him again in a month.

Now...removing the packing. Feel free to stop reading here...

I didn't realize this but there have been two very long plastic "sticks" about the length and width of a Popsicle stick (and which I'm sure have a more elaborate label for the purposes of my insurance company) helping to hold my nostrils open. I thought there was just a bunch of gauze stuffed in my nose but not so.

Anyway, the first thing he did is use suction to remove all of the mucus that had collected inside the plastic sticks. Immediately on removing a plug from each nostril, I could bring in some air, so that was wonderful. When I looked at what he'd removed!...that was seriously gross. I debated about holding onto them, thinking my teenage stepsons might have liked the science project, but decided I really didn't want the souvenir.

Then he went to remove the sticks. My surgeon is wonderful and it didn't hurt at all. I'd read other descriptions of this procedure and it sounded like it isn't uncommon for it to be painful but it certainly wasn't in my experience. That being said...I couldn't believe the length of the sticks!! It looked like they must have come from someone else's nose or have been embedded in my brains or something. They were long!

Anyway...not sure where to go from here and I think that's enough for this post...


Saturday, June 12, 2010


"TMI" = "Too Much Information." This is an acronym with which I have become immensely familiar, since I have two teenage stepsons, which means "things that are gross" are wonderful. Examples of where "TMI" is the appropriate response include:

Nick: "And at work at McDonald's today, this little girl threw up all over my shoes and I could see that she'd had french fries...."

Adam: "And when I was making the potatoes, I cut my finger but it was easy enough to hide the blood if I stirred them..."

Enough said.

Anyway, lots of disgusting things to share in the past 2 days post-nasal surgery. I didn't realize that I'd have such a violent reaction to the Percoset. Seven violent projectile vomiting trips to the bathroom later, I figured out that the medication might be the source. Last night was very very long. I decided I'd rather deal with a little pain than that much nausea.

I also either have a cold or bad allergies. Wouldn't it be ironic if I'm allergic to the gauze and tape on my nose to help provide support and cut down on the nonstop bleeding? Anyway, the packing in my nose is, as far as I can tell, made of cement. It's not budging.

So all of the mucus and blood is now trapped in the cement in my nose. I'm certain that, when the packing is removed Wednesday, I don't want to be in the same room as I am if I can possibly help it.

And, if that wasn't pretty enough...I can't breathe at all. So the only way for me to eat is with my mouth open, which is not as attractive as it might sound. And because my lips are still numb, occasionally I can't feel where the food is, so it falls out of my mouth.

TMI, Indeed!

And on a less TMI front...I'm sleeping 15 or so hours per day. Last night I slept for 14 hours and took several naps. I guess healing demands lots of sleep.

Hopefully I'll have more energy again soon. But for now...all of this typing made me very sleepy again. Time to lie down...


Thursday, June 10, 2010

The post- nasal surgery report

Got home about 4 hours ago. I'm very glad to have this experience behind me; I'd really been dreading it. It might not have been that big a deal in isolation but in the context of everything else that happened during and after the accident, I was pretty unhappy.

That being said, it wasn't as terrible as I'd been expecting. Don't get me wasn't wonderful either. But not as terrible as I'd been anticipating.

So...what happened? We (Jake and I) went to Boston overnight, since we didn't want to navigate I-93 at 4 AM. The hotel was literally across the street from the outpatient surgical center, and had to be a dorm conversion at best. The staff, however, was very nice and we got cookies on our arrival, so our most important bases were covered.

Met some friends for dinner in Chinatown whom I don't get to see nearly often enough. That was a nice distraction for what was to come.

We got up at 5:30 AM and stumbled over to the surgical center. I didn't expect that there would be 30 or so other surgical patients and their families also at the facility. It was a beehive of activity and people.

I got in line to check in and filled out with some paperwork. Then waited. Then had my blood pressure and pulse taken. Then waited. Then I got my gown, which was clearly designed to fit roughly 3 of me at about a foot taller. Then waited.

Finally we were escorted to the surgery center, where Jake said goodbye. I was greeted by a host of nice nurses and physicians, and recited my name and birthday and allergy list another 400 times. Then I was given an IV of something to make me sleepy and the next thing I knew, I was in recovery. Given that I was bleeding, nauseous, in a lot of pain, and had a face full of bandages, I assume something resembling surgery had transpired in the middle of my cognitive awareness events.

Since I got home, I've mostly been sleeping. Fortunately, the pain, which was pretty severe, and anti-nausea medications have kicked in and I'm starting to feel a little better. I'm still bleeding pretty heavily and feel very woozy. And my throat is sore from the breathing tube they inserted during surgery.

My nose has an internal splint and a lot of packing. There are some bandages externally, but they will come off in a day or so, once the bleeding stops. And, much to my amazement, there is little to no bruising. I have a follow-up appointment with the surgeon in about a week to, among other things, remove the packing, and I hope I feel a lot better after that.

Anyway, for now, I need another nap...


Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Well, at this time tomorrow, I'll be either still in pre-op tests (bloodwork, etc.) or in the middle of nasal surgery. The fun starts at 6 AM. At this point, I'm very ready for it to be over with. I'll go home with a lot of gauze and cotton in my nose and a splint and bandages outside.

I'm really looking forward to a week or so later when the packing is removed, and I can (ideally) breathe better again. And for the splint to be taken off because, at minimum, that is going to make for some weird tan lines.

My teeth still hurt, though less than before the dentist worked on them. And my bite is still very off. I have a nightguard I was using (ok...supposed to be using...) before the accident and it doesn't fit at all now. My bite adjustment still has some corrections to go. But, that being said, the latter two are in more of the "annoying" category and not the "chronic pain" category in which they had been living for awhile.

Here's to being on the home stretch!


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Countdown to nasal surgery

Blech. I'd rather the title be something like, "Countdown to winning the lottery" or "Countdown to an island vacation." My breathing is even worse now. I don't know if it's allergies or something else but what little air I could get past my blocked nasal passages is history. The good news, oddly, is that if I was even a little uncertain about my need for this surgery, I am now certain.

I got a call today from the doctor's office, stating that I needed to get an EKG, chest x-ray, and bloodwork before Thursday. I called and told the asistant that it was going to be difficult for me to fit the tests in. Fortunately, she said it wasn't a problem for me to have them taken at the hospital. The doctor and his assistants have all been very nice and helpful, and I have a lot of confidence in them.

That being said, "Countdown to the island vacation" is still sounding a lot better to me.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

More fun

So, imagine my "shock and awe" (with thanks to my friend Adam for coming up with the clever name "Shock and Jaw" for his online blog about a broken jaw that resulted from a bike accident) when I opened a recent letter from my insurance company letting me know they were denying coverage for the charges from my hospital bill. Trust me, this is a big $$ number. I started calling on Friday and was directed to branches of the insurer in three states, each of whom had a slightly different tale to tell.

At the moment, however, it sounds like the problem may not be the insurance company. The hospital already billed the insurer and they already paid that bill a month or two ago. This seems to be a new set of large bills.

Since we're now in a holiday weekend, not much I can do at the moment. I'm sure the fun will continue for awhile. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, I went to see a dentist about my sore teeth and misaligned bite. I was looking forward to addressing this because it had developed into a chronic achiness that was reasonably unpleasant. The dentist had some emergency that day, however, and needed to reschedule. I went to another dentist instead.

Ahhhh! Some relief! He drilled some of the teeth, rechecking my bite as he worked. My teeth feel much better. Still sore but much less so. My bite is still misaligned, but he wanted to take a conservative approach, so I'll see him again in a few weeks or so.

Nasal surgery in 13 days!


Monday, May 17, 2010

And back by popular demand...

I fell down on the blogging job. Several friends and family members asked what was up, which prodded me to log on and write tonight.

The main reason for my lack of updates is...well...lack of updates. How many times can I say, "I really wish I could breathe through my nose?"; "My teeth and lips hurt."; etc.?

That being said...I do wish my teeth and lips would stop hurting. My teeth being sore may be a function of still needing to have my dentist try to fix the bite issues. I had an appointment for this last week, but I was in the middle of so many deadlines at work that it seemed more stressful not to reschedule. I didn't know it would start to get under my skin as much as it has. The dentist appointment is now next week, and I won't change it.

My lips...I guess lips just have a lot of nerve endings and take a really long time to heal completely. I'll ask the ENT surgeon when I have the nasal surgery. Which is scheduled for June 10.

As much as I want to be able to breathe through my nose again easily, I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY don't want to go through the surgery. Not up for more pain and feeling uncomfortable.

The nasal surgery is hardly a big deal, certainly in contrast to resetting my nose and jaw and the 8 weeks of recovery that involved. From what I understand, I'll be encased in bandages and packing for a week. After they're removed, I should be a lot more comfortable but still need another week of heavy recovery time. Still, I would be happy to skip it altogether.

So, with all that, how am I doing? Great, in fact. My energy level is really good. I'm working full-time (and then some) and regularly enjoying activities with family and friends. The weather has been beautiful, and I'm taking advantage of it by going for walks...and I don't have to worry about cold fingers and toes and jaw wires.

Oy...the wires. I DO NOT MISS THE WIRES!!! Pancakes are much better not in a syringe. :-)


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

More updates

Today I went to see a dentist about my front teeth, which still are a little loose and still hurt when I bite something. He said that he thought there had probably been some mild shifting. I'll return in a few weeks and have some teeth shaved down. Hopefully that will solve the problem. He also seemed to think braces and even a retainer won't be necessary. Hopefully he's correct.

Inspired by how well things were going, I tried eating a carrot last week. To say that didn't turn out to be a good plan would be a mammoth understatement. Trying to use my front teeth to bite into it was about as effective as trying to use my nose to bite into it. They weren't strong enough or anchored enough and it hurt.

I then tried just using my molars, a very attractive method (try eating a carrot by putting into the side of your mouth to bite into it). My right side, where the accident had occurred, couldn't chew it at all. My left could, leaving me with jaw spasms severe enough to require Vicodin.

If eating a vegetable leaves you needing heavy pain medications after doing so, it's a good sign that eating the vegetable was a bad idea.

Fortunately, my birthday was the next day and all that required was that I get through a piece of cake. Much safer. Still, I opted for a soft foods diet that day, after the previous day's trauma. Chocolate pudding went down just fine though.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy 51st Birthday!

First, let me explain...I LOVE birthdays. My own. Other people's. Doesn't matter. I think an occasion that demands cake and ice cream should be a national holiday.

I have a LOT to celebrate this year. I could have been hurt much much worse. I could be writing this from a wheelchair. Or not writing this. Or writing it with plates in my face. And none of those things are true. So even though I'm not yet fully recovered, I am in great shape compared to where I was even two weeks ago.

I also celebrate how much support and encouragement I've received. I don't know how much psychological factors and karma influence the healing process, but I'm certain that they do. I keep hearing how upbeat I've been and, truth be told, I don't think I could have maintained that without the constant stream of well wishes I've received over this now 2.5 month period. I'm really really lucky.

Last, but not least, I celebrate my wonderful loving family. Jake has been a partner in every sense of the word. My stepsons regularly kept me in heavy supplies of hugs and laughter. My brother Alan was always with me and I still wear the bracelet he gave me when I was in the hospital.

As for my resiliency was passed down from four remarkable individuals. I received some of the most terrific messages from my stepmother Lee. I know my mom and Harry (stepfather) were behind me every step of the way, even though they're not physically present anymore.

As for my dad...well, the sense of humor in me is clearly genetic. I think he enjoyed reading this blog from wherever he is now even as much as I enjoyed writing it.


Monday, April 19, 2010

All the news that's fit to print

Hi there, friends of segwaysarebad! Progress marches on.

I even went to a restaurant (Panera) this weekend. That was probably a week or so premature. Yes, I can eat soup but going out for soup wasn't what I had in mind. I ordered a salad and bread but discovered that I had to put the food into my mouth and kind of let it "melt" a little first before trying to chew it. Which didn't quite lend itself to the experience I was hoping for.

My front teeth still hurt, which surprised the surgeon. I'll have a consultation with her later this week. My bite is off too. Once the issue with my teeth is cleared up, I'll see my dentist. I am really hoping I don't need braces! That was bad enough when I was 13. My birthday is this Friday, and I don't think it's going to be more fun at 51, thank you very much.

My lips are still very swollen and sore and numb. At work, from time to time, I find a lisp slips out because I can't really feel where my lips are. Hardly a big deal, but it feels odd when it happens.

At this point, I'm ready to have the nasal surgery behind me. Still, I know it's better for my mouth to be stable before launching into this next round of adventures.

All this notwithstanding, I feel like I'm on the home stretch, even if it's a long stretch...


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Heigh ho, heigh ho, it's off to work we go...

Today was my first day back at work (well, tomorrow officially is). I am really off my game. I couldn't remember a lot of what I do on autopilot, especially too early in the morning. Getting out the door required a lot of extra thought.

I couldn't quite get the makeup routine down, which was also hampered by figuring out how to maneuver around parts of my face that still hurt or are still numb. And putting it on made me again realize how swollen my jaw and lips still are.

And I missed the exit off of the highway a couple of times. I wasn't tired; I just wasn't used to having to concentrate so hard on what hadn't needed concentration before.

That aside, it was nice to be back; I work with a good crowd. It was an interesting day interacting with folks and catching up. I also spent part of the day finding "treasures" around my office. All kinds of goodies, like an extra pair of shoes for when I had to wear boots in and other such odds and ends that I brought home.

And food! I am definitely feeling the effects of not having eaten much for the past two months. My appetite came back in spades today. I had to pace myself and I still ate a lot more than I had been. It feels good now not to be hungry and better still to make it past a Rye Krisp cracker!!


Sunday, April 11, 2010

The food festival marches on

I haven't posted for a little while. Mostly because, I'm happy to say, there's less and less to report about recovery from the accident. Which in and of itself is huge. But there was also a little interference from a visit from Jake's parents, which was very welcome, and a major computer crash, which was not.

I was told by the surgeon that my front teeth would stop hurting so much, and this is true. I was also told I needed to stay with a soft foods diet for a week or so; also true.

But progress on the eating front is happening rapidly. Vegetables don't have to be quite as overcooked. And yesterday, I made it through melon and strawberries. I treated myself to fruit from Whole Foods, because I figured if I was going to eat fruit again for the first time in months, it was going to be really good fruit. No more Spaghettio's types of experiments. I still have to gingerly eat small pieces and chew a lot...but it's not yogurt in a syringe!

My lips and lower jaw are still notably swollen and probably will be for the foreseeable future. I'm told that just makes me a trend setter, like Angela Jolie. Which is ironic, because people keep coming up to me, mistaking me for her. :-) Perhaps I'll keep this look!