Sunday, October 02, 2011

The importance of bike helmets - Jamie's story.

Last year an illustrator/ fellow zine punker friend called Steve Larder asked if I'd like to contribute to an exhibition project he was involved in whereby he would draw portraits of friends and then ask them to provide accompanying text (you can read my contribution here).  The exhibition turned into a zine and when I received a copy I was particularly moved by the submission that one of the other contributors had made.  I am a passionate advocate of folk wearing bike helmets, and without wishing to make light of the situation detailed below I'm astounded that in all the many hundreds of times I had spills on my bike (before buying a helmet) I suffered no lasting injury.  The quote below comes from one of Steve's friends, a chap called Jamie who wasn't so lucky.

Steve has very kindly allowed me to pass on the except from his zine that you see below, and I am incredibly grateful to Jamie for sharing his experience in the first place.  Bike helmets are piss cheap and can save a lot of heartbreak for you and those who love you.  Find out more about Steve Larder's (frankly excellent) illustration work here - http://stevelarder.co.uk/ and here http://stevelarder.wordpress.com/

"In the second week of December I fell off my bike.  I was found by the side of the road having a seizure with blood pouring out of my ear.  I have no memory of how I crashed, or most of the rest of that day.  I've read doctor's notes of conversations I had with them, seen my signature with the date marked on it, and talked to friends who visited me that day, and all of it was news to me.
All I remember about that day is thinking 'This is gonna hurt' as I felt my bike tipping and waking up halfway through a head scan and thinking my bike looked really out of place in the hospital room. 
I'd fractured my skull and had a blood clot in my head.  I had to spend two weeks in hospital while they decided whether I needed an operation.  When I was discharged the doctors noticed that my right eye wasn't closing properly, and a couple of days after that the entire right side of my face was paralysed.  I had to have more hospital appointments to discuss that.
They told me there were too many risks in operating, and that it should heal itself over time. Basically the nerves that control my face were swollen or damaged from the crash.  There's an 18 month healing period for this, but that doesn't guarantee complete healing.  Whatever I'm left with after 18 months is as good as it's going to get.  But I have healed a lot already, I still need to take my eye shut at night, and my smile is still lopsided but it seems to be getting better."