Posts Tagged ‘health’

SuccessisbuiltFans always expect that their teams perform well – and ideally win every game – and fans have the absolute right to want success. There are expectations that teams and players need to meet, week in and week out. There are the expectations for the entire team from the fans and on an individual level, the expectations from the coaching staff.


Success is something that every player wants. For their team and for themselves. Otherwise, why play the game if you don’t want to succeed and not feel the elation of winning a game. Success is something that doesn’t magically happen on a game night. It is a long, drawn-out process throughout countless hours of work, sweat and pain. Success is built when there are no eyes on you. It happens at the gym, it happens on the roads, it happens on the bike. It even happens on the trainers table or with the physiotherapist. Success is built when you are on the ice with your team. It is built in bag skates, flow drills, set plays. It is built by countless and countless of repetitions of weights, drills, shots, jumps and miles pedalled on a bike.


Success is not something that is achieved overnight. Players can’t expect to be successful just by turning up to training and have the expectation that their effort on the ice will guarantee them success in the long run. The hockey season is a gruelling ride, with all its bumps and bruises and frustrations. What the fans see, is the culmination of all the work that has been taking place out of sight.


Success requires commitment. It requires hard work. It requires sacrifice. It requires discipline. It requires a goal, something that unifies a group of individuals to come together and work for that goal. It means leaving personal differences aside and playing for the logo on the front of your jersey and for the goal of becoming a champion.


The commitment fuels motivation and success, that success will player through a rock when it comes to crunch time. But all this underpinned by the work that each player does on and off the ice when the stands are empty and when no one is watching you.


The signs of success, are not seen on the ice in a 60 minute game. It is seen in the sweat dripping on to the gym floor and on to the ice.  

So it would appear that my physical symptoms of the concussion have subsided. I no longer suffer the headaches that I described earlier. I still get waves of nausea every now and again, but overall things have taken a turn for the better. However, I am still not 100% symptom free. If you saw me on the street and spoke to me, you probably would not know that I had anything wrong.

However, there are clearly still issues in the head that I need to work through. My handwriting, short term memory and general writing ability being the top ones that are my concern at the moment. As you might’ve seen from the twitpics earlier this week, my handwriting has taken a bit of a nose dive, to the point that I get frustrated with myself when I’m trying to write by hand. I have since resorted to taking all my notes on a laptop to make sure that I am able to decipher my notes and actually remember what I was doing, rather than having to hire an Egyptologist to tell me what I’ve written.

As for the writing ability, I can write at my normal pace, but I have to pay extra care into what I write. Sometimes what I write is not what I was supposed to. I forget words from sentences and sometimes the structure of sentences is a little bit wrong. I’m not using the excuse that English is my second language and that would be the reason why, but these are mistakes that I wasn’t making prior to the head trauma.

My memory is still a bit all over the place. For example, I dunked my hand into a coffee cup full of hot coffee the other day as I thought that it was full of sweets. Who puts sweets in a coffee cup? I don’t know but I guess it made sense in my mind before burning my fingers and thinking “Hang on just one darn minute, these are not jelly beans.”

The other issues I still have relate mainly to self image, but this is not an emo diary so I’m not going to start writing about what pants I want to wear and how I want my hair to look and so on.

Suffice to say, I’ve taken significant steps in recovery, but there are still a lot of things that just don’t make sense and a lot of things I find I’m questioning. Whether it’s a personality change caused by the latest concussion and one that has accumulated from the four others I’ve had remains to be seen.

The awesome thing is that I was able to last a whole work out a few days ago. OK I wasn’t pressing nearly the same weights as before, but it felt good to give the body some abuse after laying in a dark room for a week and a bit.

I thought I’d take a break from updating the daily concussion update, because there was really nothing new to report and I doubt you want to read stuff like: “my head still hurts etc”. Everything is still slightly off kilter and I’m not feeling a 100%, though I have taken significant steps to recovery, or at least I feel I have.


I had an appointment with the doctors yesterday and what got told what I had feared. You might recall that I said I had 18 out of 21 symptoms listed for post concussion syndrome (PCS) and basically the doctor told me that I’ve got the condition. I had secretly wished that he would say that you’re still not fully recovered but you’re about 95% there and that it would be OK to resume normal activities.


What scared me yesterday was that I was told that it was likely that I had a small bleed in my brain as well that he didn’t spot upon first examination. However, the bleed was (if there was one) was minor to the point that doctors wouldn’t have done anything for it i.e. drill a hole in my head or remove a piece of skull.


My moods are still all over the place and I keep going from being happy to being sad to flat out enraged for no apparent reason. On a personal level this has been a trying test of patience, and my patience is wearing thin at times.


For the first time today, I wrote something by hand rather than by computer and here’s the difference. This picture: is from notes that I took on the 1st of March and here is a picture of my hand writing today: Spot the difference?


On a positive note however, I have been allowed to start doing exercise again. I’m not allowed to lift heavy weights yet (damn it), but I have been allowed to do cardio work (hockey is cardio isn’t it?) and light weights. I went for a run last night and I did OK till about 8 minutes in. After that I had to take several breaks to let my coordination get back. I’m going to attempt the gym today and use the small dumb bells that are normally reserved for women. Man I’m going to get ripped doing that.

Feels like today  I’ve taken a few steps back. I went to bed last night feeling really positive and up beat, but I woke up with the mother of all headaches and my eyes are really sensitive to light and my ears are ringing probably more than they have during this ordeal. Maybe it’s the fake sound of progress. I don’t know.


My eyes have become super light sensitive again and loud noises are still a problem. Doesn’t help that the local council has decided to drill a hole pretty much outside my house. The other set back from today has  been the fact that my hands have been shaking from the intensity of the head-ache. I’ve tried to eat, but as with a bad migraine, food isn’t often the most appealing.


On the head ache front; it has been extremely debilitating. To the point that I can’t even sleep properly as the slightest stirring in my sleep wakes me up. I just wish that I could be put to sleep for a couple of days and hopefully it would help. That or some one drill a hole in my head to relieve the feeling of pressure in there.


I spoke to my parents again today, but I can’t bring myself to tell them the full extent of how I’m feeling. Mom, Dad, I know you read the blog and I know it must be frustrating to read more in depth updates on me here, rather than get them from the horses mouth. I’m sorry. I just don’t want you to worry yourselves sick over me.


On the plus side though, my speech  is not slurred anymore, so there’s some positives I can take from today. One thing that I am super-pleased about is that I’m able to write more at the pace I’m used to. My biggest fear was that I had taken such a blow that my livelihood would suffer from it. My profession relies on writing,  so I was worried I’d screwed up big time.


If anything writing these daily updates has been cathartic for me and I hope they shed some light to the world of concussions. I’ve had injuries ranging from bruises, back spasms to torn ligaments, but you know, I would quite happily take one of those injuries over this.

I’d also like to extend a get well soon note to Max Pacioretty from the Montreal Canadiens. He’s worse off than I am, but I can understand what he must be going through. As a sworn Canadiens fan I hope he makes a quick and full recovery.

So a few days has passed since my visit to the doctors and I’ve received a lot of encouragement from friends and team mates. To be honest, when I blogged about the verdict on my knee and the operation, I have to be honest and say that I knew to anticipate it and knew in the back of my mind that the knee would need surgery to repair the damage.

The only reason why I was slightly bummed out by it was simply because I know I will miss some games in the cup and I’ve worked hard to get myself in shape. The team also looks good and composed and we’ve had a series of good training sessions, so from that point of view, it’s tough to sit out.

However, I know that the operation will fix a problem that has hampered my performance for the past three years. I guess you could say that I’m going through some sort of analysis or stages of things. Alcoholics have their steps to recovery and if I go by their scale, I’m now on step called anger.

Why am I angry? I’m angered by the treatment that I have received up until now. From the early onset when I described my symptoms and the pain that I felt, the doctor I’m seeing now has been able to tell me what the likely cause is and treat it properly.

When I first sustained the injury I was taken to the Bristol A&E (Emergency department for any Americans) where the knee was examined and X-rayed. Despite being in so much pain that I was on gas and morphine at the time and not being able to bear weight on the leg or bend it, as the X-ray didn’t show a break or a fracture, I was sent home with a shrug of the shoulders and given a diagnosis of ‘ligaments’ and told to stay off the leg for 6 weeks.

Despite having a good remainder of the season that year, I never fully recovered. The season after that was plagued by the injury and every stride that I took felt like someone was twisting a knife in the knee.

However, training hard for last season I was able to regain some form and felt that the knee had finally settled.

Between these seasons, particularly the 08 summer cup, I went to see a ‘specialist’ at an NHS clinic where my knee was scanned but nothing was seen. Though it turned out that the ‘doctor’ was a physio therapist rather than an orthopaedic specialist. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing but respect and admiration for physio therapists. They were able to provide some form of pain alleviation when I was at my worst and have treated many of my other ailments.

However, to make a long story short, the diagnosis that I got from the ‘doctors’ was that the pain was all in my head and I was imagining most of it. So in space of a year I had gone from having an injury to a crazy person. The treatment was a course of painkillers, which only got stronger and stronger as time went on. I’m honestly surprised that I have not gotten addicted to any of the medications I have been on, as most have warning labels stating that can cause addiction.

So the reason why I’m angry is that it seems that doing things through public healthcare is a nightmare, unless you have been involved in a serious accident or have another acute health problem. I have to admit that when I had to get my appendix removed, the service I got was first class.

But it is frustrating, when if your condition is not serious or has something to do with a joint, you are overlooked. Understandably joints are difficult to diagnose, the knee in particular, but if a patient keeps coming back frequently and with same symptoms you would expect that the problem would be properly looked into, but no.

I wonder how well I would’ve played and trained had the knee been treated properly the first time around, but because of it, I have lost three years of playing at my sharpest edge.

In either case, I’m happy that it is going to be treated and I look forward to hitting the ice once it has healed. Who knows, maybe it will re-invigorate my play like it Teemu Selanne’s after the lock out.