Merry Christmas


It’s been a wild year, with the notion that I’d pick up a new language and impress the folks at Single Speed Worlds in Hakuba Japan.

But on August 3rd, while still cramming at Middlebury Language School, I got a call that Charlie’d had a crash, and had broken 7 or 8 bones. Nothing was made of his head injury, so when I came home, I was a bit in the dark about the subdural hematoma lurking upstairs in his fine mind.

He went from crutch to handmade cane to easy walking, and I was lulled into thinking I could carry out my plan of going to Japan.

Fortunately I brought my computer, and checked me email. I didn’t have a cell phone, but perspicacious Wombats Carolyn V. found a way to reach me and summon me home through this blog.

I found Charlie on life support, but he was able to squeeze my hand (showing he was not a ….er….vegetable is the uncool word, but that was what I was worried about).
Now it’s three months since that awful September 20th,  and so much has transpired…much of the news was transmitted thanks to Caroline James of BigMango, who created a funding site for Charlie. The success has been awe-inspiring. Caroline’s partner Dave Garoutte has been Charlie’s welding wing-man, CNC wizard (back when there were hundreds of orders for this or that invention) and general wise guy whose practical, no-nonsense perspective helps me keep on track.

We ‘re settling into a new normal, and an unnervingly unbusy Charlie.  When I’m typing here, he sits quietly on the couch. He never makes a demand (when he does, I’ll be very happy), for that implies executive function, which is glaringly absent.

I’m trying my hand at list-making (his strong suit, along with Fixing Everything Jacquie Breaks)  and…day-planning. Very strange.

I’ve always been the Keeper of the feminine traditions–cooking, sewing, and hamhanding delicate stuff so Charlie can analyse how Mere Mortals can mangle a bicycle component, invention, or whatever.  I get to “ruination” quicker than anyone.
These days, we BOTH knock things over, and have relied on a tight network of his old buddies to fix things…

I’m hanging the old stockings I made for us a few years ago–note the little hammer and golden wrench on Charlie’s stocking.

Mine features childhood friend Katrina Alef’s lavish embroidery. I have asked Santa Claus to bring back Charlie’s sense of direction/orientation–one of the two things that haven’t bounced back–the other being the ability to recognize letters and printed material. Oh, yes, and vision, balance…er…there are a few stocking stuffers I’ll be awaiting.
Doctors don’t seem to make prognoses about Traumatic Brain Injury. Instead they intone: “the brain has an amazing ability to adapt and reconfigure….but it will take years.” Now that’s something I will need to have put in my stocking.




~ by jacquiephelan on December 23, 2015.

4 Responses to “Merry Christmas”

  1. Best to you both

  2. Stay strong Jacquie, Merry Christmas to you, Charlie and the menagerie of four legged creatures at the ol’ off hand manor.

  3. Thanks for sharing Jacquie. My heart goes out to you two. Hang in there.

  4. As a fan of Charlie’s work and your exploits- you’ve never met me, I live in Minnesota, but am old enough to have ben around for the origins of MTBs way back- I want to pass on my best wishes. And also wondering if there is a cognitive rehabilitation program Charlie can attend. I am a psychologist who works in nursing homes and believe that active recovery and treatment is the best approach for achieving the best possible outcome in TBI. I saw on the GoFundMe pages that Charlie had some PT/OT/speech therapy, etc., already, but it can take a lot of consistent intensive work over a lot of time to get the best outcome.

    The only cog rehab stuff I found in CA in a Web search is this, but I am sure there must be more:

    Best wishes from me and bike fans everywhere!

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