The torpor of morphine and gabapentin, which is keeping the gnawing hyaena and white lightning at bay, make just typing this piece a marathon in itself. 

Last Saturday whilst running I was hit from the right by a largish motorcycle and sustained a mild head injury, a fractured pelvis, a fractured cervical spine and multiple soft tissue contusions and abrasions. 

My pelvis has been fixated and my C-spine decompressed and stabilised. My contusions and abrasions are recovering slowly. I have cervical radiculopathy from damage to the nerve roots leaving the spine. The pain associated with the nerve damage is quite unbearable at times; it feels is like my arm is being gnawed by a hyaena with superimposed lightning shocks under the gnawing pain. As a result, I am on continuous morphine and hence can’t function. 

Prof G’s lower cervical spine.

Being on an opioid for pain is not pleasant; visual and auditory hallucinations, torpor, confusion, forgetfulness and depression. A dystopian mental prison. 

Once the pain settles I will be able to start the long physical rehabilitation process. 

Looking on the upside I am alive, I didn’t have a major head injury, I am not paraplegic or quadriplegic, I have had no other systemic complications and the motorcyclist is okay. 

I have had an outpouring of support and get well messages which have lifted my spirits. Thank you.

Thank you so much for continuing to support our Barts-MS Coronavirus antibody study. There is little doubt that since the accident there has been a surge in donations, we need to get this study done. 

Too tired to type and too painful. I will try and keep you updated.

About the author

Prof G

Professor of Neurology, Barts & The London. MS & Preventive Neurology thinker, blogger, runner, vegetable gardener, husband, father, cook and wine & food lover.


  • THANK you prof G for your updated news and for the performance to have written this post!!
    Take care of you and try to rest, it will help you to recover. Best and strong thoughts for you, hoping you will see soon the end of this suffering.

  • Sounds like you were a bit lucky, could have been a whole lot worse. Really pleased that you are alive and kicking and hope that the pain subsides. It is so tiring,

    Wishing you well and get started on that rehab

  • I’m glad to see that you’re able to publish a new post on your blog. It reassures me that you’ll be back with us with your words of wisdom. I wish you that the physical rehabilitation process will be easy and end with complete success. All the best wishes. Lavi from Israel.

  • Take it easy. I don’t think anyone expects you to blog. Concentrate on getting better because getting off the drugs is quite hard, no matter how determined you are.

    I speak from bitter experience of trying to rush things after a boatload of opiates when I bust my femur.

    Be kind to yourself and get well. All the best.

  • I am sooo sorryyy this happened to youu 🙁 Everything will be okay. Take the time youuu need to heal Gavin. You will get through this one step at a time. 🙂

    Remember we are here for you as well as a community. We need you to rest and take goodd care of yourself especially right now. By taking it one step at a time you will be able to get back on your feet. We will do this together by supporting you in every way we can. If ever you feel down your family, friends and we are here to help you throughout everything and anything.

    I promise everything is going to be okay. Things might be a little sad and scary right now but you are in good hands and the doctors, your friends, family and colleagues will help you find the solution you deserve to get back to living life. Just take a look from last week and see how far you have come. You are slowly healing and I promise what you are experiencing right now WilL get better. If ever you feel sad I want you to promise yourself this : promise yourself that you will reach out to family, friends and your support group to ask for emotional support because you deserve it gavin I mean it. 🙂

    No one deserves this and especially not you. You will get better and the better end of this is yet to come I promise. If you have too much pain or would like another type of painkiller to help you reach out to your doctor I am sure something could be done to help you through this.

    Sending prayers for youu and you will get better and remember WE are always here to help you 🙂

  • I wish you a speedy recovery. I was really sad to hear the news but I’m happy to see you back again. Hope your pain gets better..hugs..

  • I read the post before about pain medication pyramid and I’m on the verge of typing Morphine is for Multitrauma. The fact that you typed this out is a big plus in my estimation as an old ICU-Neuro nurse. You have great surgeons. I’m sorry about your pain still breaking through. Can you do patient controlled drip? Don’t fight the morphine. It’s helping. Best Wishes.

  • Good to hear from you! Get well soon!! I hope that for your sake of course, and for those close to you, but also for the MS community. You are too important for us all to lose (selfish thoughts I know, but nevertheless true)

  • Proof that karma doesn’t exist.
    I can’t see your fracture, but the soft tissue shadow anterior to C5,6,7 doesn’t look good. I am relieved that you didn’t get a major head injury, but that’s small consolation to you now.
    The Philips SpeechAir is great for producing words when you can’t type.
    Barochamber Oxygen heals bones more quickly and may help with neuropathic pain.
    Medicinal Cannabis can be useful if opiates and pregabalin aren’t helping enough and it’s also legal in South Africa if you have to travel..
    There are many households across the world wishing you a speedy recovery.

  • You thought you were getting stopped a lot in airports before, ha! Now with those screws, you will be setting off alarms every time. Alas.

    Sending healing vibes and hoping the pain meds can decrease very soon so you can avoid the horrible side effects. Check out magnesium cream or oil for the sore muscles- it alleviates a lot of pain in a short amount of time.

    Time for a Netflix binge?

  • Best wishes from South Africa Prof! Hope you recover quicker than you expect. You have added positively to our lives and influenced wider than what you might know. We hope we can help you through such a difficult time. Stay positive and try to keep your spirit up. We appreciate all tour knowledge you’ve shared with us through your blogs.

  • Dang, doctor G
    Looks and sounds pretty dreadful.
    Furthering your neuro-education
    The hard way 😢
    Here’s hoping for hurried healing.

  • Prof G so wonderful to hear from you and a brave post to write. That’s an impressive amount of titanium bolting your C spine together there, you’re worth a bit in rare metsls for sure. Hope pain subsides real soon. Thinking of you and sending love throughout all this xx

  • Glad you were well enough to type such a lucid blog after all you have been through but also hope you won’t overdo it. Lots of rest and relaxation is definately called for. Wishing you all the very best and a quick exit from the pain! 💐 (Someone has already sent you fruit so here are some flowers!)

  • Dear Prof. Giovannoni,
    I wish you all the best and hope that your recovery will be as good as it can be.
    Best regards from Germany!

  • When someone, although from afar and unknown to you, has helped so much with my ms diagnosis it is difficult to hear this news. Wishing you the very, very best.

  • Strength and positive thoughts are powerful therapeutics. Sounds like you have the right perspective….glass half full, could be worse. I suspect many readers of this blog can somewhat relate to your pain, not knowing what the future may look like, and the relentless pharmaceutical fog. Probably why it saddens us so much to learn of your situation…..hits too close to our hearts ❤️! Get well Prof G! Stay strong and positive.

  • I was so sorry to hear of your accident! I wish you a speedy recovery. You do so much to help others I hope you let others now help

    Get well soon!

  • I was so sorry to hear of your accident! I wish you a speedy recovery. You do so much to help others I hope you let others now help

    Get well soon!

  • Dystopian mental prison seems accurate. The fact you managed to get this blog out is amazing
    I hope the pain goes away soon. But I guess you’ll have to live with the torture of being in a cast for a while
    (Personal experience – just an ankle cast was unbearable. I expect you’ll cope better)

    Anyway, here’s some inspiration . Perhaps you can pick up some skills while immobilised
    “Before he was able to graduate, though, he was hit by a car while out riding his bike. For 13 months he lay in a full-body cast, beating boredom by reading magic books, unpicking locks and turning card tricks. His doctors thought he would never walk again, but he showed them. And when he did he joined the carnival, where for two summers he called himself Prince Ibis and wore a black turban.”

  • Best wishes for a speedy recovery from down under.
    After fruit and flowers must come chocolates 🍫 really good quality dark chocolate of course.
    Take care and take it easy.

  • Am incredibly sorry that this horrid accident has happened to you. Hoping that the pain will decrease and that rehab will help tremendously. Thank you a million times for all that you have done for the MS community around the world. Keeping you in prayer. Rest and recover one day at a time.

  • Dear Prof. G.,
    Take your time to heal. Wishing you a healthy recovery and a big thank you for your contribution all these years.

  • Happy to hear from you, Prof G! Take care, try to rest and get well soon. Thinking of you, sending love and prayers…

  • Happy to hear from you ProfG! Get well soon. Have rest and return back with full recovery. Thinking of you, sending love and prayers…

  • All of us from the Gilenya Facebook Group are wishing you a speedy recovery and pain free days ahead. Thank you for all you do for MS patients. You are very much appreciated and our group of 7000 will be sending healing thoughts to you.

  • ProfG there aren’t really words to add to everything said in reply to your post.
    However I want to add my voice so that the evidence of how important you are to us is added to.

    We know there’s scientific evidence of the power of prayer/being prayed for (stringent, reliable science: I don’t know😆) But whether best wishes or an expression of faith, there’s no doubt there’s one massive heap of good vibes coming your way!

  • Prof G please take the time you need to heal yourself. Be a good patient and be patient. Positive vibes coming your way.

  • That sounds simply awful. I’m so sorry you have to go through all of this. I hope the recovery continues and you can get off of the opioids ASAP. A lot of people are pulling for you to get through this, myself included!

  • I was shocked and saddened to hear about your accident. Hope that your recovery goes well.
    I don’t think that anyone expects you to blog at the moment – so please only do so if you want to and feel well enough. With very best wishes to you and your family.

  • Ouch! Sending healing thoughts and very best wishes. Hope you get the best possible medical care 🌈🌈🌈

  • Prog G
    Hopefully a speedy and good recovery.

    You had just started running again, for MS research and I feel for you, it must feel like a smack in the face.

    Best wishes x

  • Dear professor,

    You are in our prayers! Hope you get well soon!
    All the best wishes from
    Brazilian Neurologists

  • Blimey. Sounds horrendous. Hope they manage to get the pain under control soon. Wishing you the quickest recovery possible.

  • Dear Gavin,
    I’m so sorry. I wish you a speed and complete recovery. I’m glad you are keeping spirits high
    All the best

  • Dear Gavin. Thoughts and prayers are not enough. A virtual hug may do it. Just be patient with yourself. Binge watch The Crown. Watch the US antics on CNN. Rest rest rest. Much love. June Halper

  • My gosh Professor G, I’m shocked this happened to you but so glad you made it through okay. I know it is probably a long road ahead but am wishing you all the best in your healing and recovery. Get lots of rest and take good care!

By Prof G



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