My Left Foot

My Left Foot

This will not be my typical post, as I feel compelled to share an experience with you that has been an issue for me for the past 8 weeks. I do this in the  hope that I may help you avoid a similar experience.

On August 8th I went on an 18 mile bicycle trip (an easy flat one) with a group of Aspen friends. I rented a road bike to see how I liked it, as opposed to the hybrid bike I usually ride. Five minutes along the way I was going at a good speed, getting a feeling for the bike, when a quick curve loaded with gravel caused me to crash. Although I was wearing a helmet, it was jarred loose and I received a blow to the head that left me unconscious, lying in a pool of blood. I awakened in the Aspen emergency room to the news that, fortunately, I had no broken bones or brain damage  but had suffered a concussion as well as contusions on the right side of my body where I landed. I was released that night  and went home to dinner and bed.

Over the course of the next 4 weeks I felt some light-headiness and a bit of imbalance so I didn’t exercise, as friends said I should not . During that time I made two trips to the East Coast. No one told me I shouldn’t fly, although I waited for three weeks before I did this. Mid-September, back in Aspen, I still had a slight balance problem and the occasional light headache but assumed I was on the slow mend. One evening I was out with friends (fellow wine lovers with whom I have done three bicycling trips through the wine regions of France),  and we very much enjoyed a lovely white burgundy with our dinner.  As we left the restaurant I felt quite unsteady and detoured to the ladies room, where I stumbled and fell. I thought, “Whoa girl, you really overdid it tonight!” — yet I knew I had not. Over the course of the next week I noticed that I seemed to be shuffling like an old person.  I also caught my left foot in the car door several times when getting into the driver’s seat. It began to occur to me that my left foot was not responding to my brain. I mentioned this to  Rosa, my assistant, and she insisted I have an appointment with a neurologist when I  returned to NYC the following week.

My visit with the doctor was straightforward: his assessment was that I was slowly recovering from the concussion, but because of my left foot issues he ordered an MRI of my head and neck which I had the next morning at 7:00 a.m. While waiting for the results, my neurologist phoned me and said, “I’m sending an ambulance to take you to Cornell Weil Medical Center and I’ve alerted a neurosurgeon who will perform emergency brain surgery. You have a large subdural hematoma that is pushing on the right side of your brain.” I was in such a state of shock, I had to call him back to repeat what he said. After hours in the ER and another CAT scan, I was wheeled off to surgery at 5:30pm.

The next three days were hellish. I learned that I could have had a very unhappy ending. The doctors could not believe that I could still walk and talk and function with such a large hematoma. My experience was a slow motion version of what happened very quickly and tragically in the case of actress Natasha Richardson, who suffered an epidural hematoma in a ski accident.
My point in telling this story is that I had no idea of the dangers of a head injury.  The Colorado hospital neglected to warn me about the potential problems that could arise  and I was discharged as if all was well.  There was no recommendation for follow-up and no advice about activity, exercise, travel, or what to look out for. You might well ask why did not I not  use common sense, but I grew up in the 1950’s when we were taught that if you fall off of your pony, you must get right back on. We played hard rough-and-tumble games and sports and were not aware of the potential problems. I have learned that in the last decade, what is called traumatic brain injury (TBI) is getting increased attention, including advocacy and legislation to increase awareness about and prevention of head injuries.  Lesson learned, though the hard way. So please pay attention when you or someone you care about has something like this happen.

Another lesson was the importance of having an advocate with you in the hospital to find answers, get things done, and – especially – be aware of what’s going on when you may not be awake or able to think clearly. I was blessed to have Rosa at my side to pursue answers to questions (which always arose after the doctors had left) and help with my needs and concerns. While I have been lucky, it has been a very serious wake-up call for me. In the end I think I had lessons to learn. I know this sounds clichéd but it is the truth.
Next post will be back to design and beauty —— I felt I needed to put this out there to help others avoid what I just went through.

IMG_1813

Me, pretty clueless as I wait for brain surgery— I am finalizing my fall tulip order for the Weatherstone garden.

 

IMG_1792

I wake up with a hole in my head.  I had pleaded with the neurosurgeon not to shave my head!!!!  And, God bless him, he paid attention!

Notes, page 2

My first day back home.  Friends were asking what happened and so I did this little rendering of my Halloween costume for  October 31, 2014——just for a laugh. What else could I do?   Happy Halloween.. cr

POST SCRIPT

THANK YOU, THANK DEAR READERS!! Your concern and kind remarks are so appreciated by this lady with a hole in her head. I am touched deeply by your good wishes for a speedy recovery. God bless…… Carolyne

 

115 thoughts on “My Left Foot

  1. Oh my goodness, thank you for sharing your story. I have heard similar stories, which leads me to believe that we must all be very proactive when it comes to our medical care. Anyway, I’m so glad you’re on the mend and I love that you had such a chic manicure for your brain surgery. 🙂

  2. Oh, Carolyne !
    How awful to have this happen and how fortunate that you were to be in NYC for your surgery at one of the finest teaching hospitals in the world. I am the daughter of two physicians, who practiced in Boston, also at superior teaching hospitals. We tend to overlook or easily dismiss things when we are otherwise healthy people. No more ! I am so glad that FINALLY your subdural hematoma was properly diagnosed and that you had the resulting brain surgery. You were absolutely correct to tell us all about it as a warning to take the proper tests if, God forbid, we should be in similar circumstances. Praying my good Episcopal prayers for your ongoing recovery and no more bicycle riding. At least for a while. A good excuse for slowing down after what I know has been a very busy year for you. (and I am not even going to ask about Charleston !!!)

  3. So sorry about your ordeal. Very scarey but thankful you realized there was a problem and persued it.
    I have tripped on the uneven walks on the battery in Charleston and “thought I was ok although had lots of bruises .
    Thanks for making us realize that we must be careful.
    Do take care, you need to be out gardening in the nice fall weather, wishing u the best.

  4. Oh, my lord – this gave me the total chills – and not the good kind. Thank God you found this in time. I hope your recovery goes as smoothly as it can. Know that I and I’m sure many others will be praying for you. You’ve been so brave!! Many, many hugs are being sent your way!

  5. Carolyne
    I believe that all your readers are greatly distressed over this story. First off to not give you any instructions as to what you should or should not be doing over the course of one – two – three weeks! No required follow up visits, etc is beyond fool hardy. You would think that in Aspen with people taking tumble on the slopes etc they would have this down pat. I’m angry for you.
    I just hope you are now taking care off yourself and resting comfortably at home. There has to be a dozen or so books you need to read or desire to read again. And, maybe you need to rethink this bike thing.
    Thank you Rosa.
    Warmest Regards, Adrian Markocki
    P.S. I love the art work!

  6. Thanks for teaching us the hazards of concussions. You are one brave girl!!!! Please get well soon. L

  7. So very, very sorry, Carolyne, for what you have been through! Your story brought tears to my eyes for the horrible way in which you have suffered. I realize this does not help you any, but I have just been something similar, although I did not have to have surgery – thanks be to God! I will have some dizziness for the remainder of my life, however. But I am glad the problem is not as bad as it could have been. Carolyne, I will certainly pray for God to heal you quickly. Turn to Him for help. God bless you!

  8. Oh my, Carolyne!
    Bless Rosa and you. I am saying prayers for your recovery. Take good care. Kind regards, EJ.

  9. A few years ago, my ex was thrown from a horse and had a serious hit to his head. He got right back on, finished the hunt and then we attended the hunt breakfast with our out-of-town guests. That night we had a dinner party. We mentioned the situation to a doctor friend who said not to worry and to take aspirin. His head hurt and it got to the point where he excused himself from dinner and went to bed. By the next morning, he could barely walk and wasn’t making sense. We rushed him to the hospital (despite his objections) and the MRI showed a massive sub dermal hematoma. He was in the ICU for 21 days, believe it or not. I was his advocate. Thankfully he recovered and all is fine, but head injuries are not to be taken lightly! Glad you’re okay and glad you’re getting the message out. And yes, an advocate is imperative when you’re in the hospital.

  10. Dear Carolyne Oh my goodness, so very sorry that you have been through the wringer! Bicycle accidents are not good. So glad you got help and you are on the mend. Got such a shock to open this page :(. Keep getting better as we all look forward to your next post on DESIGN AND BEAUTY!!!!!

  11. Oh my goodness!! I am so grateful to the Lord that they found it in time!! Thanks for sharing, I am sure many people will benefit from knowing what could happen! I will be praying for a complete healing for you! Ok, I know you don’t know me, of course I feel like I know you because of being inspired by you for so many years, but if I can do anything, what I don’t know, just let me know, I would be very happy to … you have my email. xx Rié

  12. I love your Halloween look. I’m so glad that you survived this ordeal as it had so much potential to go wrong. I agree wholeheartedly with your recommendation that you have an advocate should you find yourself in ICU. I would extend that to anytime you are in hospital, you should have an advocate as things move in ways you don’t anticipate.
    We have found this out unfortunately through first hand experience when our 9 year old son was seriously injured in a car accident through no fault of his, or the driver of the car he was traveling in to get to soccer training. I’d also say that your advocate should not necessarily be a partner or parent even if they are doctors. My husband is a doctor and was at hospital when the ambulance brought in our son but he passed out, when he realised the seriousness of our son’s injuries. On the other hand, as I’m not a doctor I didn’t understand the gravity of the situation and I didn’t have any hesitation in finding out what was happening and asking for explanations etc.
    I really enjoy your posts. I wish you all the best. Den x

  13. Hello Carolyne.
    I have a dreadful story concerning my late husband who also suffered a Subdural hemotoma after a major car accident,where he demolished his Bentley,AND A lamp post almost out site the entrance to our house.He was found by my gyenagologist who immediately called an ambulance and he was taken straight to hospital.
    Apparently this accident happened at around 3pm a n thankfully my husband had dropped a golfing friend home ,who lived locally and riven straight into Regent’s park.
    I was out untill just before 4 330pm.went home and expected him home at 5pm.
    Instead the doorbell rang a at the front door were policemen to inform me ,that my partner (at that time,we had not married yet) had been taken to the emergency room at UCh ,a main hospital in London.
    I immediately informed the police to ask them to get a message to the hospitalthat the accident he had was probably due to the fact that he was diabetic and should be immediately checked.Ibcalled our GP who came straight to the hospital,but did not stay long as it was a Sunday and he was obliged to get his don back to boarding school by a certain yo me.
    Because of this ,the doctor said my partner was in the best hands and LEFT.
    I remember an eternal wait before he was admitted for an Ex ray ,and was showing worrying sighs of severe shock.

  14. Sorry I had not finished the post and had not checked for mistakes,and as there is more I want to write,I will continue to do so later today.
    I wish you well and I look forward your usual posts but don’t rush until you feel ready.Wendyx

  15. I am so sorry to hear this! I am extremely happy that you are on the road to recovery. I am sending my thoughts and prayers to you for a much more speedy recovery. Take care of yourself and I look forward to your next post on design.
    Fondly,
    Tim

  16. Oh Carolyne, what a shock to read your story this morning…
    As we all grow a little older, we think we are still able to ”fall off our pony and get right back on”….
    maybe this is a wake up call and thank you for posting this lesson to us all….
    A family friend went to a 40th birthday celebration to a beautiful chalet near Chamonix…first afternoon went out mountain biking, skidded into a rock, broke his back and air lifted to Geneva hospital…..changed his life for months.
    Let’s recognise risks around us and take second opinions, as we would any other aspect of our lives…
    Look after yourself and get well soon..

  17. Oh! I am so sorry! And with a helmet yet? Geese! I am 63, and just hiked the Tour du Mont Blanc with friends, then came home and twisted my knee getting into the shower. Go figure. Injuries make you rethink so many things. I hope your healing goes smoothly. It cannot be easy for someone as creatively compelled as you to sit still. Hang in there.

  18. Dear Carolyn, Thank you for being so brave and posting this, as my first thought was the tragic death of Natasha Richardson several years ago.I am so glad things turned out much better for you. You are a gifted talented person with so much to offer, Please take care of yourself and take the time to smell the roses during your time of recovery.
    God Bless you.

    D. Brinkman

  19. Dear Carolyn,
    I am so sorry to hear of your accident!
    You are so right, we boomers were taught to quit whining and just go on about our life.
    Take Care,
    Your Charleston neighbor,
    Deborah

  20. Dear Carolyne, I have been following your inspiring blog for some time and just felt ready to contact you and share my floral art work with you……..when I read your story about your operation. I just hope you get well soon and wish you all the best.
    I look forward already to a new post with, as always the most beautiful pictures. when I see you are back in business I will contact you again. For now, get well! kindest regards, Liesbeth

  21. Oh how glad I am that you finally got the follow up care. This is all too common in brain injury the lack of follow up. I fell roller skating at age 46 hit my head saw stars and still did not go to a dr bruised all on back side. I was lucky I did not have a hematoma. Heal well take it a bit easy for awhile.
    So happy the outcome is good and you are still with us!

  22. I am so sorry about your accident. That’s so scary. But thank you so much for the public service announcement. My then 86-year old mother had a fall and hit her head. She felt fine and there didn’t seem to be any after effects from it. A few days later, she was totally bonkers, to use a technical term. She went to the doctors and they told her she had a slow brain bleed. After surgery and about six weeks of recovery and rehab, she was fine. Brain injuries can be so insidious and scary.

    Wishing you a speedy recovery.

  23. Dear Carolyne,
    I am in shock. I was beginning to wonder if something was wrong as it’s been a while since your last post.
    Please take care and I look forward to seeing you back up and running with lots of news about all the beautiful things you do that make life worth living.

    Love,
    Marie

  24. Well,

    This is definitely an acceptable reason for NOT blogging… this time it wasn’t your blog you fell off but your bike. So glad you are on the mend! Thank you for updating us. (I did get to South Africa and celebrated our oldest’s 30th birthday with bubbly and chocolate cake at sunset in the bush. Saw 4 of the big 5 and many others + interesting birds. A great trip! Next year – France.)

    Looking forward to your blogs,
    Carol

  25. Oh my gosh, I am so sorry. Thanks for sharing your terrible experience and reminding us head injuries are very very serious. I hope your recovery is very easy and quick.

  26. Dear Carolyne,

    This is quite a stunning post — the trauma and scare you went through are unimaginable to those of us who’ve never experienced anything like your head injury. And I am so grateful you shared this information.

    My heart was in my throat as I read through your post — until I got to the Halloween photo, at which point I almost spewed my morning coffee on the computer screen. It was a hilarious and classy ending to an otherwise tale of horror!

    I hope you mend well and quickly.

    Terry

  27. Thank you for this information. I am of the same “fall of your pony …” growing up times. Take care and I look forward to your future posts. You are inspiring and I love your books. God Bless.

  28. I can’t imagine how frightening this must have been. Fortunately, you are on the mend with total recovery in sight. You have done your readers a great service by writing about this. My son recently had two concussions in pretty quick succession and we might not have realized the lingering effects without a detailed list of symptoms to monitor.

    In any case, Rosa has the gratitude of this reader for her diligence. Lastly, I imagine if it had been necessary to shave your head, you would have looked lovely that way, too.

  29. I hope that you have a very healthy and speedy recovery. At our age any pain or change in our bodies must be checked out. We can not ignore a change.I am learning to grow old wisely , Beth

  30. Oh my goodness!!!! So many blessings to be counted in this story! Bless Rosa’s heart, and yours for following her advice to see the neurologist!

    Godspeed for a full recovery. Those tulips next spring will never look more beautiful!

    Tammy

  31. Dear Ms. Roehm (sorry for being old-school in my form of address),

    Your sense of life and humor in providing this rendering is wonderful, in light of the seriousness of this subject and the life-threatening nature of your injury. Your open-ness about sharing this experience is an inspiration as well as a cautionary tale for all of us.

    I have loved and followed your taste for years. I knew Peter Mulvey, who I believe worked for you when you had your own collection. Please be careful, and stay around for decades to come.

    Best regards,

    Stephanie Bowens

  32. Our 19 yr old grandson had a bicycle accident on 9/10 on his college campus – spent 13 days in intensive care – was knocked unconscious, every bone in his face shattered. No brain damage. Home now missing this semester. Nine consecutive hours of plastic surgery and tracheotomy. Thank God you and he are both alive!.

  33. Thank you for sharing and my sympathy for what you are going through. My sister is sn avid cyclist and I’m sharing this with her. I wish you a speedy, complete recovery. ♥

  34. Goodness! Glad you are on the mend and so sorry about your injury. Thank you for making us aware of such a scary injury and the outcomes…….please rest …..we are looking forward to your continued work!

  35. So glad you are okay, what an awful experience. I hope you recover quickly and are better in no time!!

  36. Thank you for sharing your personal story with all of us. Your horrific misfortune will become a lifesaver to others whom have learned from you tribulation. I’m wishing you a post haste recovery my darling.

  37. You have a wonderful sense of humor and zest for life in addition to beauty and brains; So glad that things turned out well.

  38. Wow…..so glad you are doing better….what a scary time as you said…..just continue to do well…our prayers are with you! David and Rick in Omaha

  39. Dear Carolyne,

    I am so happy that you have survived this frightening experience with what seems like your usual grace and joy intact. How wonderful to have Rosa in your life. I had a sub dermal hematoma last year from a riding accident. Like you I was mis informed and feel very fortunate that my story eventually ended well too. I’ve learned such hematomas are called the silent killer and now I know why. Thank you for all the beauty you bring into our lives.

  40. Oh Carolyne , I just stumbled across this and had no idea. I am so so sorry this happened to you. Know that my prayers are for a quick recovery and that you may have healing and find yourself soon back to normal. You are so inspirational even when you fall (literally) you inspire others. May God bless you, my prayers are with you.
    Love you,
    Lisa Mercado-Fernandez
    Leeshideaway.blogspot.com

  41. Dear Carolyne, So happy to hear all eventually turned out fine for you although I am sorry you went through this ordeal. The last time I saw you was in Los Angeles at a meeting at William Morris Agency on development of a TV show on your brand. I will never forget your kindness when my father-in-law passed away and you offered assistance.
    I fell in August tripping over the bathroom rug and suffered a concussion, it is serious business.
    You are e one of a kind woman and so happy you are still with us. I am happily out of TV and running a national non-profit, ACT Today! (autism care and treatment today) after my son was diagnose with autism at age 4. Would love to see you again. Thank you for inspiring a love of beauty and flowers that will always be with me. In Gratitude,
    Nancy

  42. Dearest CR,

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ########## ************ ????? @@@@@ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oh, what horror! So sorry to get this news!

    One of my friend Mary’s in laws ( he is a physician) was riding his $14,000.00 only 7 in the world bike, and crashed-
    He broke his neck !!

    Be careful! Remember poor Christopher Reeve and the riding accident! Paraplegic!

    XXXXXXXXXXXXXOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  43. Oh you dear girl, what a scare! We all send you much love and hope you heal quickly. Such a terrible accident, and so wonderful that you had such good medical care. That is quite a sewing job on your head. Looks like a graduate of Ecole Lesage worked on it! Sarah, Christina and I think of you often with great affection and fond memories of the many times we spent with you at Weatherstone. My husband Tom and I just bought a farm in Norfolk, CT. I am so close by. If there is anything you need, or that I can do for you while you mend, please let me know. You are in my prayers tonight. Jennifer

    Jennifer Amquist
    Norfolk, CT
    almquistphoto@earthlink.net

  44. Dearest Carolyne,

    I’m shocked to hear this news, and so thrilled you made it through this hell and are on the mend. Only you could turn a tragedy into a Punk Rock, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, chic visual image. I send my love and I delight to know you will be well and back to your garden and pooches in no time. Best to Simon.
    Love,
    Tom Callaway

  45. So sorry to hear about your accident and so happy to hear that you are doing well. Scary!! Sending warm wishes and a few hugs for a speedy recovery.

    All our best,
    Dennis and Judy Collier and family

  46. to one of my favorite lifestyle ladies ever, you were one of the originals, oy vey. so very happy you are recovering. please take your time. we need you to be well so we can see life through your eyes. xoxox (and i’m not an xoxox person)

  47. I am so glad you eventually received the diagnosis and proper treatment but I am simply appalled at the complete lack of appropriate medical care on site. Any loss of consciousness beyond 30 seconds should receive a CT or MRI scan to check for subdural hematoma. To fail to do this and not inform you of the dangers of flying could easily have cost you your life. It makes me so sad the negligence of our current health care system. That being said, I am so glad you’re okay and hopefully your story can raise awareness for others suffering head injuries.

  48. SO glad yours was a much happier ending than Natasha Richardson’s, but what a frightening experience and ordeal you have been through! As someone who lives alone, and has been incapacitated in the past – the importance of an advocate can not be stressed highly enough! In fact, I’ve often said it is an entirely wide open field for some caregivers to move into – not everyone is lucky enough to have friends and family nearby when emergency strikes.

  49. Oh my goodness Carolyne–That is really scary. Thank you so much for telling us your story. We all need to pay attention when we have had any form of accident. I hope you are feeling much better and will have a full recovery.

  50. GWS. Many blessings, i have followed your carrer in fashion and celebrated your beauty. We nedd more beauty in our lives, so you are needed. 🙂

  51. Dear Carolyne: I am so sorry to hear of your accident and wish you a steady, speedy recovery. My brother-in-law, a fellow Ct resident, recently suffered a terrible bike accident as well, fracturing several ribs and puncturing a lung. He has been recovering slowly and sleeping upright in a chair for weeks. Fortunately, he did not have a brain injury such as yours. I am so happy for your great luck in this and catching everything in the nick of time. I hope you will enjoy the beauty of Autumn and spend your time on some more sedentary activities – like flower arranging? Peace and Godspeed to you! And, hang up those bicycle cleats for awhile!

  52. C, Oh my goodness! I am glad to learn you are on the mend after this awful accident. Thank you for posting the often serious nature of head injuries if a clot forms. I have a good friend (Dr. Joseph Congeni) who specializes in TBI in Akron, OH should you ever want a consult or to simply read about his fascinating research. I too had a head injury. A garden injury to boot!! Ugh ! I was taking down my summer planters in the Autumn and my huge wrought iron window box fell off the house and bonked me square on the head. I saw stars! Had a concussion went to the ER and left with a large gash like yours. 🙁 Thankfully no hematoma just lots of stitches. I am so glad you got an MRI and they were able to detect the clot. Rest up and post some of your beautiful autumn visions soon. On a funny note…you’ll LOVE the first time you are able to wash your hair! I was told to wash gingerly around the injury for a month or so. That very first time that I was able to REALLY scrub my hair after the stitches healed was like HEAVEN!! Sending hugs!

  53. So very sorry to hear about this and so very happy to hear that you are doing well. Sending our best wishes and a few hugs for a speedy recovery!

    All our best,

    Dennis and Judy Collier and family

  54. Dearest Carolyne ,

    I was so sorry to hear the news and hope you are having a speedy recovery . God bless Rosa ! I have been on the west coast but i look forward upon my return to NYC to a visit with you .
    A TRES BIENTOT,

    David

  55. Oh my I am so glad to you know you had a good ending to this. I hope you are feeling much better and I think it’s wonderful that you are sharing this story. What a shame the Colorado hospital didn’t do a better job of releasing you with better information. Thank goodness you had a helmet on or this story would have been much different.

  56. Dear Carolyne, So glad to hear you are doing well after such a accident. Sending prayers and blessings your way.

  57. Not only uber talented, but head strong, resilient … And always thinking of others! Thank you, Ms.f Roehm for sharing your trauma and cautions! Wishing you a speedy recovery.

  58. Carolyne: I am one of a handful of adults who wears a helmet at the rink. Very beneficial and brave of you to post. Best wishes for a full and inspired recovery.

  59. The night before my first brain surgery (2nd one 9 years later) I was pattering around the hospital hallways. In the gift shop I dithered over whether to have an Almond Joy or a Hershey’s bar to cheer me up (they sent my family away). Finally I looked up at the cashier and said, “I have brain surgery tomorrow and prognosis is not good so I’ll take both.” I was very calm and collected for my first craniotomy, much like you in this photo. The next weeks and months are going to be very tough for you. I wish you blessings and strength to see it through. You are going to experience things the doctors are too embarrassed to tell you about but you are one tough, classy ‘dame’. You are going to make it just fine. And you are right, not matter how sick you are you have to get the bulbs in the ground to lift your spirit next spring.

  60. The world is scary and dangerous enough and we can ill afford to lose an icon of beauty and style. Very best wishes for a speedy recovery, You are an inspiration to so many!

  61. So sorry to hear this. Thank you for sharing this traumatic event. Take very good care of yourself, and heal and feel better soon. Fortunately, beauty and design is good healing therapy.

  62. Dear Carolyne,
    Could not believe it when I just read your horrific adventure…..so glad I was reading what you had written rather than an obituary about such a talented, lovely and creative person! It was such a treat meeting you in DC last year and I do hope your travels bring you back to DC or Atlanta in the near future with another lecture/presentation! Wish I lived near by I would offer to be of help until you have recovered…..how’s your Southern project going? I cannot wait to see photos!
    Here’s to a speedy recovery and once again I am so glad you are able to be writing about this ordeal and enlightening all of us to be more cautious and aware!
    My best to you…….sincerely,
    Wayne Breeden

  63. You are indeed one lucky lady! Sending thoughts and prayers your way for a speedy recovery.

  64. Dear Girl – thank God you are all right. You are a winner! After all you have been through, to then create your very original Halloween card for us. Thank you. How wonderful that your surgeon not only honored your request to keep your head unshaven but was also careful enough to leave your sense of humor intact. Your ordeal has been a real shock to us all and a fright that we might have lost you. Please baby yourself and feel better soon.
    PS – first post but have been tuning in here for inspiration almost since day one.
    PPS – dare I ask if you chose your tulips, after all?

  65. Oh my goodness! Best wishes and big hugs for speedy recovery dearest. I know how that feels. I had a painful saliva gland removed which should have been a routine nothing op, to find out that it is a rare cancer and so here we go with radiation treatment. No fun at all. I’m right there with you in treatment and recovery, hoping for the best of the best and sending you strength, (only because I have strength enough for both of us). Please write soon with an update on how you are feeling. I care and would really like to know. 😀

  66. Your Halloween artwork was creative, as usual, and your worrying about the doctor cutting off all your hair indicates optimism and a keen sense of humor. I’m so glad you had a successful operation when anything might have happened. This message was a huge gift to me, as I was born on Halloween. I’ve been reading about you for years, and in a couple of weeks will turn 66. I’d like to thank you for the “head’s up” about being careful about falling. All good wishes to you, Carolyn. Your klutzy friend Sally, who has fallen too much, and will be much more vigilant in the future. Love to you and your dark hair, which looks great.

  67. Dear Carolyne,

    Thank goodness you caught this in time. I’ve had surgery on my head and it’s not very pleasant.

    You are so kind to post this story so others might follow your lead when it comes to head injuries. It’s surely nothing to fool around with.

    Perhaps you should have someone snap a photo of you stationary on a bike in the future. You can follow that by another photo of you sitting on a luxurious sofa next to a roaring fire, while safely opening yet another bottle of white burgundy.

    Please take good care of yourself.

    All best wishes, Bob Law

  68. I am so sorry to hear about your story, and like so many others, really appalled by the lack of follow up care.
    I am so sorry you have had to endure this. Thank you for sharing such good information with us. It could happen
    to anyone. I am so glad you are on the recovery side. Thank God your dr. listened to you about your HAIR!
    You are so beautiful, it wouldn’t have mattered. But, really…hair is very helpful. I send you heartfelt wishes
    for a complete recovery. Thank You! You matter to us. You once signed books for me in Santa Barbara many
    years ago. I was so impressed with your grace and charm and have been a fan for such a long time.
    Take such good care of yourself. Love to Rosa for caring for you so well.

  69. t.hank.yous.o.much.for.sharing.this.with.us….so.important.for.everyone.to.be.aware.of.what.a.seemingly.minor.head.
    tramau.can.be.in.fact.very.dangerous…thank.god.you.got.medical.help.before.it.was.so.late…we’d.all.like.for.you.to
    be.a.major.part.of.our.lives.for.a.very.long.time…..luv

  70. please take god care of yourself. If you ever need anything when you are here in Charleston, please let me know!

  71. Carolyne I am so so sorry that you have been through so much! I am just glad that you finally received the help you needed and are on the path back to recovery. Take good care.

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

  72. You are one tough cookie! As I began reading, I immediately thought to myself: “I hope she had someone with her at the hospital.” Thank you for sharing this very frightening experience–it is a wake-up call for all of us who grew up in the same era of concrete playgrounds and parents who told us to “shake it off.” Sending warm and positive Karma in your direction for a speedy recovery.

  73. Oh Lord! Bet you never knew you’d be provided the opportunity to share your experience and become the poster child for epidural hematoma. I am so glad you had a ‘happy’ ending. Take it easy on yourself and get the rest you’ll need. Am happy you will be okay.

  74. I’m so relieved that you are ok now Carolyne! what an experience you would not wish to repeat! I was thinking about getting a bike and have to confess mainly because I’ve fallen in love with an old fashioned cream one with a cane basket! I think I shall have to put that idea to one side as the thought of falling off, even once is perhaps too risky at age 66! Kindest wishes to you

  75. Dear Carolyne,
    I am truly sorry to hear of your injury, long recovery and emergency surgery. Having my first surgery last year for diverticulitis, which was elective and preventative, I was completely terrified that I wouldn’t wake up from the surgery and had a heartfelt talk with my two sons and husband before surgery. I can only imagine the fear you must have felt in getting the news that you needed emergency surgery. I am so happy to hear that you will be ok, you have been an inspiration for me for many years. I am also grateful that you told your story because there are many lessons to be learned from your misfortune. My youngest son plays lacrosse and we are always worried about head injuries from the sport. I wish you a complete recovery and hope you take a few steps back and take the next few months to relax, enjoy your incredible homes, watch some classic movies, read, play with your dogs and enjoy each day, xo Jackie

  76. Wishing you the best as you recover from this ordeal. Thank you for allowing us to read your story. This may save many lives in the future. xoxo

  77. Dear Carolyne,

    I am so sorry you had to go through such an accident. Thank God that your friends were close by and got you to the hospital. I am shocked that no one at the hospital told you what to watch out for. Thank God for Rosa, too. It is no fun being in the hospital by yourself.

    You are in my prayers for a speedy recovery with little or no scar.

    By the way, this is a great post for ER physicians to read! I will pass it on to my ER friends.

    Take care and heal quickly! I can’t wait to read your design and beauty post but take your time and heal.

    Lots of love and light!
    Martha Vera

  78. So sorry to hear about your ordeal! And so glad you came out of it well after all you went through.
    A friend of mine had the same problem after a very slight car accident with just a bit of backlash. She traveled by airplane four days after that, and then days later at home became unconscious from the hematoma. She had a similar surgery than you did, and is now well. But people don’t know about this! So it is really important that you did this post. Thank you.

  79. This was a shocker. I wish you a speedy recovery. Sending my friendship and good wishes to you Carolyne.
    Diane

  80. Shock!! I am so terribly sorry for all you have gone through with this horrible event in your life. ‘Thank you’ seems so inadequate for posting this very important message. Yes, this is not your normal ‘design and beauty’ words you share with all of us. I count it as “beauty” – because you care and through this avenue of ‘sharing’, you possibly could help another soul. As we know, beauty is not always in ‘things’. Rosa is your angel. Thank goodness she was your advocate to care for you. Life is fragile. I send prayers and good thoughts to you for a healthy recovery.
    Looking forward to your next beautiful words…

  81. My Dear Friend-
    There is nothing worse than realizing we can no longer simply “move the piano” at will. This aging and medical stuff is not for the meek and weak! Have you noticed that doctors are like 12 these days. Your right your experience is a wake up call for all of us baby boomers who think we are invincible. I buried my ski poles in Aspen after breaking my collar bone ten years ago. I’m in it for the outfits now. I’m so very glad you are still here! You have lots more beauty to add to this world. And may I add your rock those staples girl!!!

  82. First of all, THANK YOU ROSA, and thank you Carolyne for heeding her smart advice. I had a concussion after a fall a few years ago, and almost did not go to the emergency room. Thankfully a good friend reminded me of the Natasha Richardson tragedy and I went and got CT scan to make sure I had no hematoma…and yet it still took me 6 months to feel ” normal” again…a great doctor told me to lie in bed with no phone, no tv, no reading, no music for at least 2 hours a day in the middle of the day…never thought I would be able to, being a self-employed floral decorator..but the uncontrollable shaking and fatigue that struck midday forced me to…and the healing took far less time than it could have.
    Thank you for sharing your story, it may save someone’s life. I’m so happy that you are still with us, hair or no hair…

  83. Carolyne—I am so so so glad you are ok. What a horrible experience, and such a frightening near-miss!! I send you many prayers for a rapid and complete recovery.

    I have been an unabashed fan for years, poring over your books and delighting in the beauty that I found in their well-thembed pages. To my mind, you are the ultimate style arbiter without even trying to be, because of your class, beauty, humor and exquisite taste. There are many of us out here who have followed your writing for years, finding so much encouragement and pleasure in the beauty you make in the world around you. You make it all look so effortless!! I know all the hard work that is behind your projects, but your books and posts are so inspiring and gorgeous that they make anything seem possible.

    Thank you for adding so much beauty and grace to my life.

  84. Carolyne—I am so so so glad you are ok. What a horrible experience, and such a frightening near-miss!! I send you many prayers for a rapid and complete recovery.

    I have been an unabashed fan for years, poring over your books and delighting in the beauty that I found in their well-thembed pages. To my mind, you are the ultimate style arbiter without even trying to be, because of your class, beauty, humor and exquisite taste. There are many of us out here who have followed your writing for years, finding so much encouragement and pleasure in the beauty you make in the world around you. You make it all look so effortless!! I know all the hard work that is behind your projects, but your books and posts are so inspiring and gorgeous that they make anything seem possible.

    Thank you for adding so much beauty and elegance to my life.

  85. Thank you so much for telling us about your bicycle accident and all of the events that followed- A timely reminder to be a little more careful when we are out and about- I am so sorry that you had such a terrible experience- Thankfully, everything turned out well and you are now on the mend- Sending you my best wishes for a full and complete recovery- Will include you in my prayers and look forward to future posts (which I so look forward to) when you are fully recovered- Leave it to you to tie your misfortune to Halloween at the end of your post!!! It really was a super look!

  86. Dear Carolyne,

    Everyone at the Gibbes is so happy to learn that you are doing well. Thank you for sharing what happen to you with us. Your experience is a lesson to us all. Please know we continue to think about you and wish you a speedy and complete recovery.

    Warmest regards,
    Angela Mack

  87. What a frightening tale, and thank God for the happy ending! I am so sorry you had to go through this, but you have definitely proven that you are one very strong woman! Stay well andHappy Halloween!!! Love, Paula

  88. Dear Carolyne,

    God bless you and keep you safely in His hands from now on. Thank the Lord that you finally received the treatment you needed, as, yes, these kinds of head injuries can be fatal.

    I will never forget your kindness, coming out on the dance floor of the Breakers, to tell me how pretty I looked in your teal, draped Grecian gown. I am still one of your largest collectors, and find it hard to give up your exquisite designs, even though 20+ years later, I do not spend as much time in evening gowns as I used to.

    I just wanted to wish you a very speedy recovery, and let you know how treasured you are to all of us who continue to be enthralled by your style and vision of beauty. Please get well soon.

    Kindest regards,

    Terry Ebert-Mendozza
    Ocean Ridge, Florida

  89. Dear Carolyne,
    What a cautionary tale and I, like your other readers, am much relieved the NY doctors caught your emergency in time.
    Despite your medical trials, I must say you really rock those hospital gown and slippers. Only you could look elegant in such a clinical setting
    Best wishes for a speedy and continued recovery.

  90. I am a Yoga Teacher I teach Iyengar Yoga and Meditation as well as colour breathing relaxation therapy and natural health. When one like you who gives so much to others seeks to exercise it is best they seek this ancient and effective method towards longevity. The gain is lasting health strength and flexibility. Please consider your love of self as it is easy to see how much you love others.

  91. Carolyne
    Thank -od you’re well and you discovered this serious problem in time. I was actually shocked when I learned you were released so quickly from the aspen hospital. This sounds like negligence to me and very disturbing. I hope you’re now having excellent medical care and know your boundaries, thank you for sharing your story. I feel especially connected to you because David and I were on that same bike ride. Much love and healing prayers. Jennifer

  92. Thank you for sharing this so important issue. All good wishes for a speedy and complete recovery. I’m sure your sweet dogs will be by your side to help the healing process.

  93. Carolyne: So glad this story had a happy ending! Scary. Sending warm wishes for a complete and speedy recovery. You color my world in such a beautifully interesting way. I enjoy all your books and posts and am forever finding something that adds a grace note to my lifestyle. All the Best! BK

  94. Dear Carolyne,

    Thank you for sharing your story.- my heart was leaping while reading it.
    I am thinking of you, “continued great recovery” – the human body is miraculous, but it takes time to heal ♡ Lots if rest.

    Warmest regards,
    Millette

  95. Jennifer Figge passed on your shocking news to us, Carolyne. Mark and I are relieved to hear you caught this in time and are now resting and recovering well. How terribly scary. We’re sending all good thoughts for a quick recovery and a fun-filled Halloween With love from Annecy. xx

  96. You certainly had a guardian angel looking after you, thankfully. We had just recently bought my husband a bike and I had one from years ago but we have not rode bikes since about 20 years ago when we would take them to Nantucket but decided since we are now retired to start this again but casual riding. When I read this I went running out to my husband that perhaps this isn’t a good idea. We have agreed to take them down to Hammonasset where it is paved and level.
    So thank you for making us rethink our ride.

  97. My best wishes to you for a speedy and full recovery. It takes events like this to make us all realize just how fragile our health can be and how not to take it for granted. Your comment about having an advocate while in the hospital is very true. I’ve been a long-line reader and fan but this is my first comment to your blog and I had to share with you my heartfelt concern for your condition. Please take time to heal and don’t over due things. All my love,
    Peggy

  98. Dear Carolyne,

    What a sense of humor you have! Just so sorry you had to go through this ordeal but thanking you for your post to warn others about the seriousness of head trauma. Living in Basalt, on occasion my husband and I have used the Aspen Valley Hospital. I am shocked you did not receive better care but thank you again for enlightening all of us who live in the area. Perhaps your episode will be a wake up call for the quality of care at Aspen Valley Hospital. Wishing you the speediest recovery, Barbara Loudon

  99. Dear Carolyne,
    Thank you for sharing your this life experience and challenge. It has touched my heart and I lift you up in prayer for complete recovery, fast healing and comfort. May God Bless you mighty and Rest and Lean on Him.
    The picture certainly shows your sense of humor…

  100. I have always been humbled by your PERFECT taste and creative eye. Now I find that your honesty, bravery, and integrity far surpass your other talents. Bravo for such an inspiring post!

  101. Dear CR,
    So glad that you’re doing well and have retained your sense of humor. You’re remarkable! Since you are an avid bicycle rider I hope you take a moment and check the bicycle helmets available in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
    http://www.hovding.com/how_hovding_works/
    Wishing you a speedy recovery.
    Warm regards
    Hélène

  102. Good Lord ! I had no idea about this until reading you post this morning about Oscar . Thank God you alright and on the mend . Shocking . Be well my friend and Hugs from Palm Springs !

  103. Dear Carolyne,
    I am sorry to hear that you went through such a difficult health ordeal. Thank you for sharing your insights; I am sure it will be useful to all of us your readers. Hope you are well on your way to a speedy recovery. I am very sorry to see that on top of everything, you are going through the passing of your dear friend and mentor. You and Oscar de la Renta have exquisite taste. Wishing you strength and peace. Take care of yourself, Susana

  104. Carolyne,
    Multitudes of good wishes for your speedy recovery. Take care of yourself.
    The account of all that happened to you brings back a memory of a fall that led to my father’s death. The blood clot was left until he collapsed and after too late surgery he lived 6 months in a deep unconscious state and died. You are a very lucky girl to survive your accident.
    I too wish to say how sad I am for the loss of the genius of Oscar de la Renta. The leaves did not fall far from the tree in your case. What an incredible experience you had to work with him.
    most cheerfully, Lynn Ziglar

  105. Just read & am so very sorry…glad you are now on top of this. Things like this, although we do not wish on anyone, really make us realize what matters most…

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