Car Accident and Illness

I started the year with an illness related to a car accident from 2016.

About six months earlier, we took a family road trip with a two car caravan to Oregon for the July 4th weekend. My wife drove her car with Colin, and I took Aidan in my car. This arrangement allowed me to drive my two-seater Porsche 1990 964 Carrera 2 which had recently been rebuilt/redone.

Close to the California/Oregon border, a CHP officer rear-ended my son and me in our car when we stopped at a cross-walk to let a couple pass. The officer stated that she was looking for people on their phones and became distracted, causing her to drive into us at about 20 mph.

The illness that followed six months later was a fluid leak in my spinal column, which caused the Cerebral Spinal Fluid in my brain to get low, causing my brain to sag in its skull.

The symptoms were a daily debilitating headache and intracranial bleeding. It took three surgeries and three months to solve.

The daily headache pain ranged from 3 out of 10 to 8 out of 10 depending on the day, and when it was on the higher end, I sometimes was vomiting from the pain it was so bad. Because of my blood thinners, the doctors were really worried about the impact of the brain sagging for too long.

I was very fortunate as my family and I found one of the best doctors in the nation to handle this case, Dr. Ian Carroll. He was just down the road at Stanford.

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I worked at BetterWorks through this entire experience, except for the three periods immediately following the three surgeries where I had to lay flat for 72 hours. Yeah, that was fun…

It turns out that Steve Kerr, coach of the Golden State Warriors, has the same CSF leak condition. I believe he has had similar surgeries to help solve the problem.

Going through this process was quite a difficult one. I ended up turning off social media, playing a lot of backgammon with Leah and the kids, and really just trying to make the best of it. I was depressed at times, and was really worried about ever getting cured. Knowing how dark some of those days were gives me an appreciation for staying the course, and just knowing that things can and will get better. I am really thankful to my immediate family and my parents and sister as well for the amount of support every one of them gave during this period of my life.

Author: Kris Duggan

Business investor and serial entrepreneur for more than two decades. In 2013, I co-founded BetterWorks, a business software company dedicated to improving performance management.