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Fragile Recovery


I’m trying to cover a lot of time within this description of what happened to me and i try to cover the main points and remember what was going on for me. I hope i cover it accurately and clearly enough to give an understanding to you.

After being stuck indoors for over a month i decided that it was not helping me and i decided to continue similarly to limit all things that aggravated my symptoms but to try and do something each day that was more exerting than the day before. I also read up (i did use the internet very briefly some days) that exercise could help. I obtained an indoor exercise bike and did ten minutes every day. This was difficult at first as i had lost so much fitness from sitting still for months on end and not having played sports for over 6 months(i used to exercise and play sport most days).

Gradual Increase in Activity

So i continues my sedentary limited existence but each day i would try to walk a bit further than the day before. The first day i probably walked to the end of the street and back. The second another 50 yards further. Within a week i walked to the nearest corner shop a couple of minutes away. I pushed a bike so that i could roll back. Within another week i was walking to the shop and going inside to buy something and walking back. So it really was a slow increase because anything more made me feel worse. Whats important is that anything more made me feel too much worse and would set back my recovery. Bear i mind that even a car journey was too much for me at this point. It was too bumpy.

As i felt my symptoms improve, i was very aware of not doing too much and making myself worse. I had already set myself back before several times and i was desperate to get rid of this PCS. I was living in constant fear that i’d set myself back and have to relive the last week or more of gradual improvements. I didn’t know how much more i could take. This was a real fear.

Continuing Improvement

I continued to increase the walking i did every day. Walking was an easy to measure activity so ideal for gradually increasing and measuring improvement in my condition. I built this up and got to a point where i could more easily join in with activities with family or friends for example going to the beach or painting a room. I then got to a point where i felt confident to jog. I walked to the local park and jogged one side of the park, then two the next day. Then a slow lap of the cricket pitch. The next day two laps and so on. After starting jogging my legs were so sore after such a small distance from having done no running or real walking for so many months. I had been walking around on tip toes the whole time with 3 cushioned insoles in my trainers to try and limit the impact and the effect on my head.

I built up to ten laps eventually and then increased the amount of time i did other things less easily measurable, like watch TV for example. This is easy to measure in time but not easy to measure how ‘jumpy’ it might be, how much movement and stimulation there is.

Working a winter season a year later

I continued to improve and was able to take up my customer service job in a French ski resort a year later.

I celebrated by booking a short trip to Marrakesh with a friend. I hoped it would relax me and help to put the past behind me. In a nutshell i was wrong, i found myself in a hostel in the middle of an extremely busy Moroccan market and after a day walking around in this warren of bustling alleys and market stalls i felt all my symptoms again worse than i had in a long time. It was too stimulating with too much going on, too many things that your eyes constantly flicked between, people constantly pushing past and round you, selling to you. I was really upset that i had been so stupid to put myself in this situation and that i had possibly thrown away my chance of a ski season and would have to go through weeks or months of recovery again.

To recount this part quickly. I returned home and rested heavily. I decided after much deliberation that i would fly out to France and attempt to start work there. At every single moment i rested. Whilst in the airport i sat with my eyes closed and headphones in. During the initial training course i ate my lunch as quick as humanly possible before going to my room to snatch 30 minutes to lie down in silence. I didn’t socialise in the evening, Needless to say people thought i was odd. I got through this with the help of heavy painkillers which had helped me previously. Before the job started i had a calm week of preparation and then i was lucky because the job was flexible so that i often worked for an hour, then had an hour off. I might work for another couple then get another couple off. Basically i managed to keep afloat and just about limit what i did so that i did not get worse, i improved slowly. By the end of 6 months i was again almost completely symptom free. After returning home i was again in control of my schedule and within 2 months of measured activity i could confirm i was PCS free!

How It Began  –  My Worsening Condition  –  Fragile Recovery  –  Life after PCS  –  My Advice

  3 Responses to “Fragile Recovery”

  1. Gday mate,

    I’m so glad i finally found your website, i thought i was going crazy, couldnt find anything about these headaches apart from wikipedia.

    I had a night with a few beers also, not a huge night, got into a scuffle, but got home with only a few bruises and hit to the ego. When i got up the next morning which was really early because i had to help the mrs with setting up markets, probably got 4 hours sleep, i went feint in the bathroom hit my head and knocked myself out.

    Took a week off, got a ct scan, no issues, except all the symptoms you described. Went to work and it was awful, the lights the screen the complex tasks (im a programmer) everything you described. Since then i had MRIs EEGs no problems

    Well this was back in October 2011 i thought 3 months should do it, i was alcohol freefor that period but as soon as i had a couple, went right back to the worst of it. So back off the beers, and another 3 months, felt better and the same old story. Its now June 2012…

    I didn’t rest as much as you because i have to support my family, but from what i can see either i didn’t get it as bad or it is a false economy. I recently took a management position to get out of the technical stuff, but i’m really worried.

    When it is over, is it really over? Like can you do all the things you used to do, i need to socialise and be able to drink

    • Hi Robert, wow this site might be proving useful :-) Personally i found drinking fine, as long as i didn’t get tempted to dance (even a little bit) or get too rowdy. Sometimes difficult when i was stressed and wanted nothing more that to go absolutely BONKERS at the difficulty of the situation i was in.

      I think the not knowing when you are better/the set backs was one of the most confusing and difficult things to deal with with my PCS.
      I am completely better now, its been a year and i’m fine. I haven’t headed a ball in football but this is just precautionary and because i sill have a little bit of fear. But i am fine. I knew i was fine because i increased my activity small step by small step until i was fully active. I think in some strange way this helped me convince myself i was fine and recovered because i had produced my own evidence.

      Do you have any pain when walking? Is there something you could measure that aggravates your symptoms. Perhaps then you could do this thing oce every day but a little more. Within weeks you’ll know that you are more resistant to it and more recovered.

      With this gradual progression however i tried to limit or stop any other things that might cause my problems. That way i could be sure i was both increasing my resistance and not over doing it so that i might set myself back.


  2. Hi Shaun, after 2 concussions received through work I often feel like I’m cracking up. Being a single Mum I’ve had to rely on my 2 kids to cook, wash pots, clean the house etc. Finances were beyond me but my 18 yr old would help me as I’ve always written everything in a book but if I’m out on my own I have to text her to get her opinion on whether or not to buy certain items. Until this happened I knew how much I had in my bank, how much I needed for bills & approx. how much I’d need for food. I’ve had to give up my job as I was working 1 to 1 with a young child with severe Autism (he caused the concussions). I couldn’t sleep at night but unless I was active I’d fall asleep in the daytime. I get wound up so easily even just watching the tv or sat with my kids. I am riding my little motorbike again as I’m trying to get ready for my test but I daren’t go out on my own & have to follow someone or I just panic. I’ve not sworn or shouted at my kids for years but since the 1st injury in January they’ve learnt when I raise my voice to stop immediately & let me walk away & calm down, poor kids. As my memorys awful now I play memory games online which has helped. The constant headaches are a pain in the neck. I’m so glad I’ve read your experiences as I can relate to so much of it & now when I moan at myself for being so lazy I’ll work out how to do the task in sections that wont push me too much. I’m so sorry that you’ve gone through this but now I know that there is hope that I can get back to the bouncy energetic laid back person that I was before, thank you Soo
    ps. I hope this all makes sense as between the washer & dryer going & the kids getting off to school my heads gone into overload & I can’t read what I’ve written

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