Not So Great

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Hi guys.  I finally opened my computer to try to write a post, so bare with me.  I’m not so cognizant for very long periods, so I kind of loose focus, or thought process pretty easily right now.

It’s been 8 days since I crashed and smashed my skull. I can’t seem to understand if it has only been a day or two or a month.  It has been neither, but the time is moving so slowly, even though I don’t remember a lot of it.

I haven’t really talked to Jack or Kris,, the two guys that didn’t fall with Bill and I, so I’m not exactly sure what happened.  I know I hit a dog and then Bill ran into me from behind.  We were towards the end of an evening training ride, so were going pretty quickly, over 30 mph.  I don’t think I hit the brakes at all, so I guess all my forward speed was transferred to the ground.  I don’t remember anything.  I do remember asking Bill if he was okay when we were in the ambulance, going to the hospital, but I don’t remember what he said back.

I was in intensive care for the first day or two and don’t have any recollection of that either. Stacie, my friend and an orthopedic surgeon, from Louisville, got on a plane and flew to Topeka. She slept in my room with me for two days and was really the biggest part of me improving quickly, even though to me, it  seems, I’m still at square one.

My skull if pretty fractured.  I have taken a bunch of CAT scans and am not really sure exactly where it is broken.  I know my skull is fracture on the top, but again behind the right ear.  So, the pressure in my head if really high, thus, pretty crazy headaches continually.  I’ve never experienced headaches like this.  It is barely survivable.

I was in the hospital until Tuesday or Wednesday, I’m not sure.  Bill was there for 3 days.   He broke a bunch of ribs and collapsed his lung, which needed to be reinflated.  He came by and visited when he was leaving.

I didn’t really sleep or eat in the hospital.  I think I ate a bowl of oatmeal, some mashed potatoes, and that was it for 5 days.  I was sleeping maybe an hour a night.  These super sharp headaches pretty much limited any chance of sleeping at all.

I was home for a day and then had to go back to the emergency room again.  I spend 1/2 a day at the hospital, more CAT scans, blood tests, etc.  I was doing alright, I guess.  The pressure is acceptable and headaches are about the same.    I went to the ear, nose, and throat doctor yesterday and he said that I have a bunch of blood behind my eardrums, that should leave as the swelling goes away.  I pretty much can’t hear at all out of my left ear, some out of my right.

I’ve been sleeping a couple hours a night the last two nights.  I have over 700 emails, which I can’t really read.  My right eye is really cloudy, from back pressure, so I’m waiting for that to work a bit better before trying to answer the email.   I had a flight to go out to LA this weekend to hang with my friend Seth Davidson, who is doing the South Bay Cycling Awards tonight.  I’m bumming I’m missing that.  Plus, Berryman MTB Epic is going on right now South of St. Louis.  It’s a bad time to be out of commission.

Okay, that is about it from here.  Supposedly I can’t ride my bike for over 4 weeks.   It was originally 8 weeks, but I negotiated it in half.  We’ll see how how that goes.  I can barely walk, I’m really wobbly.  This might be slow going for a while.

Back at the hospital.

Back at the hospital.

Getting my hearing checked.  I couldn't hear shit.

Getting my hearing checked. I couldn’t hear shit.

The put a bunch of staples in.  I'm not sure when those or getting removed.

The put a bunch of staples in. I’m not sure when those or getting removed.


59 thoughts on “Not So Great

  1. Rick Stein

    Great that it’s really YOU writing . . . good luck with your continuing recovery – may it be speedy and full!

  2. pat west

    “bad time to be out of commission”? without a helmet you should say great time to still be alive! Get well soon!

  3. LD

    So nice to hear from you and see good progress. Please take it easy, refraining from too much activity of any kind. The emails can wait, your friends will understand why you don’t reply. Please know that many people are keeping you, Trudi, and Bill in our thoughts and prayers.

  4. Tim Kolb

    Steve, glad you’re finally well enough to post an update and even more glad that you’re on the mend.

  5. Mike

    Glad to hear from you Steve. Take care of yourself. Please error on the side of caution when returning back to activity you need to heal. We all want you around for a long time.

  6. fergie

    You may not think this is “good-stuff”…but it’s pretty amazing you’re back this far already from the looks of the past week. You seem to feed off challenges and the process so approach this the same.
    Good to see you’re on a good track.

  7. Telford

    I’m just happy you seem to be out of the woods and making slow, steady progress. Hope you continue to improve and are back to 110% soon. You’re a role model for us old guys. You scared a lot of people, especially the first few days. Stacie, Trudie, and Vincent are heros. You’re lucky to have great friends like that. Titanium bikes last a lifetime – yours will be there when you’re ready, no need to rush it.

  8. Tilford fan

    Fantastic that you are typing, Steve! Please take your recovery nice and slow and listen to your docs. It is a hard thing to do with head injuries because one day you will feel great and then the next like total crap. I dealt with that for over a year in the aftermath of a concussion last year. Patience is such a virtue with brain trauma.

    Using the brain again and starting to exercise as soon as you are cleared will really help recovery, but it is a fine balance between that and rest that must be achieved, which can be a struggle at times.

    Take care! See on the road soon!

  9. darkcloud

    What donkybhoy said. Forget about the stupid bike until Steve Tilford is fixed. You’ve spent so much of the last couple of years or so in recovery. You just need to slow down and get this one done correctly.

  10. Jan

    Great to see that you’re able to post! Please take good care of yourself! Recover quickly and fully!

    It sounds like you have some of the best friends in the world!

  11. RadRenner

    Very happy that you’re back on the keyboard, Steve. You should take it easy for once and really listen you your doctors. You cannot rush recovery of the brain, so you’ll have to be patient. Hopefully you’ll be back on the bike and racing again by spring. Good luck! We’re pulling for you!

  12. Mike Rodose

    Very relieved to know you’re typing and recovering!!

    Now, get the hell away from screens and keyboards and go rest.

  13. Michael Nichols

    Steve It’s great to see you are able to post so soon after such a gnarly accident! Please take your time getting back on the bike and make sure you keep up on your rest time and nutrition for a speedy recovery. Take care sir.

  14. Jeffery Butterfield

    Yeah, they’re all a sure bet for induction on a first ballot for the Friends Hall of Fame. Humans can be so good.

  15. Wildcat

    I quote, “This might be slow going for a while.” Lol! No kidding! It never ceases to amaze me how flat-out tough you are. I’m thankful you are coming along so quickly, but damn – if it was me I would simply be happy to find out I won’t be spending the rest of my days in a skilled nursing home. You’ve spent the latter part of your life kicking the asses of dudes half your age – of course, some is training and some great genes, but I think a large percent of that is due to your mental toughness. You don’t consider yourself twice their age, so fuck it – right? I agree with some of the comments about riding on the trainer, but we all know you rate that on the “Don’t like list” right behind ticks. Although, you can’t live your life in fear. My mom always told me that fear is False Evidence Accepted as Reality. Put your time in with PT and all that jazz, but keep on keepin’ on brother. Just for pete’s sake – wear your skid lid!

  16. Barb

    So happy to “hear” from you Steve! Can we get Trudi to lock your bikes up until you’re back in the pink? Can you please try to “be patient” with your recovery? This is not like a thumb or a knee injury, a brain injury requires extra TLC. Hoping you can cut yourself some slack and take the necessary time off to allow yourself time to heal. Please?

  17. Dave

    So good to read a post from you! You’ve got to be the toughest sumbitch that I know. Here’s to your recovery.

  18. Diane & George

    Steve, You are amazing–so tough–and always, the inspiration to so many.! Your recovery seems to be going forward and we are so happy for that. You and Trudi are in our thoughts and we wish we were closer in location to be a part of the helping network. I think you know how much we care about the two of you…and if we can help in **anyway** please reach out. Sorry you have had to go through all of this! Big hugs.

  19. euro

    You survived this accident somehow, without a helmet, and you are even considering riding again, ever? Take this as a sign from God. Your riding days are over. Enjoy the rest of your life, or you will not be so fortunate the next time you crash.

  20. Americus

    Steve, I normally say pain is only in the mind! But… When it’s your mind that hurts, its not punny!!
    Hang in there Steve, you’re one tough sob, and I am glad you have such wonderful supportive friends to lean on. You’re in my thoughts daily..
    My best to Trudi and the crew!

  21. Jeff D.

    What’s with these you need to quit comments ? Why would anyone quit what they love just because they got hurt? You heal up, figure out why you got hurt, and if it was your error, learn from that. If it was just some freak incident just accepte it and keep going. If you quit every time you got hurt or started letting the fear of getting hurt make you quit, pretty soon you wouldn’t do anything. I’ve witnessed it with my parents (in there 80’s). there fearful of things they enjoyed there whole life

  22. MV

    Glad you’re (kind of) OK. I would shut down all internet stuff for a month and take it really, really easy, as is recommended by so many people who’ve been there. We will still be here in a month…

  23. Matt Smith

    All of us in Wichita were shocked to hear about you and Bill’s accident. It’s scary how everything can change in a second! Glad you guys are on the road to recovery. Here’s to a quick, painless and complete recovery!

  24. Joe Stiller

    Tina and I hope you have a full recovery..
    With no long term symptoms..
    She crashed hard 3 years ago in a training Ride..
    To this day morning are the worst..
    Heal fast,, and share your story it may save a life
    God bless..
    Joe and Tina

  25. mike d

    I had a bad crash last year, 150 stitches but no head or neck and I made the mistake of trying to start training and racing within a few weeks. Big mistake, it basically ruined my whole year. I wish I had stayed off the bike a few more weeks.

  26. Bike racer wising you well

    Take care of yourself… i’m dealing with Post Concussion Syndrome after having a second concussion (minor car accident) 7 weeks after a moderate concussion (training crash)…. and neither was anything close to as bad as your injury. Two months after the second injury and I’m still not OK, and it looks like i have to quit bike racing due to having too many concussions (6) over the years.

    This is not the time to be tough or try to get back on the bike quickly, you can’t self-assess right now b/c your brain is injured. Listen to your doctors and make a complete recovery before you go back to anything where you could hit your head again. It’s your brain, don’t fuck around with it. You don’t want to end up where you can’t work, take care yourself, etc. Negotiating down to 4 weeks is unwise.

    I wish someone had forced me to take care of myself after the first injury.

    watch “The Crash Reel” – when you’re even up to watching anything.

    wishing you the best.

  27. Kevin Hughes

    You sound ambitious and positive, Steve.
    That encourages us to send you good thoughts and encouragement.
    You are tough, and will come around . . . but take your time!!!

  28. DR

    Same advice as when you broke your hip, when the doctors release you to do so go to the gym and take a spin class. Cycling without the chance of falling. You will meet all kinds of new friends who will be pulling for you as you recover from your injuries and gain back your fitness. In the spring when all of the ice and snow are gone you can make a well informed decision about riding outside.

  29. Raz

    Comforting to hear you are making progress and while your relentless spirit will no doubt help in your recovery, you must temper it and take your time. My daughter has taken the better part of two years to completely recover from a concussion that is no where near your magnitude. But understand that the brain is an amazing entity and you will have to learn many new tricks. Slow and steady will get you where you want to be, where we all want you to be.

  30. Tman

    Glad to hear from you Steve. I think you will be fine, you had less typos and grammatical errors than usual so it must be good! 😉

  31. Jed Schneider (@jedschneider)


    Its nice to ‘hear’ your writing voice. wishing you and Bill the fastest recovery! Hope to see you both soon.


  32. Scott H

    We’re not talking about road rash. Two skull fractures and some pretty serious TBI isn’t something you negotiate with doctors about. Steve will be lucky if he doesn’t lose significant mental capacity. He’s had a great run, time to stop.

  33. Steve

    Hey great to hear you are back in “gear”. My buddy and daughter were intentionally taken out by psycho in Maui. Brain exercise is helping. Atb, Steve

  34. Seth Smith

    It is way too easy to rush back after head injury, because that’s what we’ve always done with other injuries. I also wish I had known what I know now about rest and taking care of myself, because I battled concussion symptoms for a year, and still have some symptoms. I feel fortunate that I didn’t get another head injury during that time . . . but still had very prolonged post concussion symptoms.

    Please give the healing as much time as you can, Steve.


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