Part 3 of Where I’ve Been The Last Four Months
Part 1: The Cow
Part 2: The Omelettes
It’s hard to explain what happens when your own brain is injured.
To begin with it’s hard to do a lot of things when your brain is injured, like think straight, much less do all that goes into writing down thoughts in a way others can read. In addition, our brains seem to hide their worst symptoms from us. “I’m fine” has never been so unintentionally and obviously false!
At the same time there is a very real sense that everything wrong with you is just in your head. With the added twist that everything wrong with you is, quite literally, “all in your head”. Even now thinking about that makes my head spin and brings out a reluctance to talk about any of it. But, despite all that, I’d like to try to explain what my concussion has been like.
I’m going to indulge in all the gory and pathetic details in these next few posts in a way I usually never would on this blog. I’m going to lay it all out there because I (and those around me) had so little idea of what a concussion can actually be like and we were unprepared for what was in store for me. Hopefully these will help someone, sometime, be a bit more prepared than we were.
In those first days and weeks after the accident when things were at their worst they looked like this:
I couldn’t stay awake for more than an hour or two at a time for the first days. After a few days I had about four hours in me before I fell asleep. And not like normal “I think I’m kind of tired,” but stumbling, unable to function, I’m just going to pass out on the floor if I don’t make it to a bed, tired that comes from a brain that is truly out of energy.
When I tried to read, the letters and words swam around instead of holding still like good little words should. This was particularly bad in the middle of a sentence or paragraph where they swam into different lines and became all jumbled up.
I couldn’t visually focus on anything. I could see everything but bringing anything into sharp focus was hard to impossible depending on how tired I was.
Essentially everything made me motion sick. Riding in the car gave me a headache and made me dizzy, driving was out of the question for many reasons, and even walking made me nauseous.
I was light sensitive. Hiding like a vampire on bad days and venturing out in hat and sunglasses on good days.
Anything that provoked symptoms started out by giving me cotton mouth and I was the most hydrated human ever trying to combat it.
Headaches were constant and I started classifying and categorizing them. That’s the one from trying to use a screen. That’s where it hurts if I try to read. That one is from staying awake too long…
My balance was terribly bad, at times I needed to hold on to John’s arm to navigate. And standing on one foot (something I am normally quite good at) was next to impossible.
What I didn’t know at the time is that I spoke slowly and lost the thread of conversation. I knew that sometimes I couldn’t find the right words. I knew I was tired. But it wasn’t until a few weeks later when people told me things like “you sound so much better now that you aren’t all drugged up” (I never took anything but ibuprofen) and “you finally sound like yourself again” that I realized that I hadn’t been sounding like myself.
A week after the accident my main activity, other than sleeping, was coloring while listening to audio books.
I, clearly, needed more medical help.
It’s November and National Blog Writing Month! My team, the Tiny Peppers, is doing things a little differently this year. Instead of posting every single day we are all aiming for: 10 days of posts, 10 days of reading/commenting, and 10 days of sharing posts through any other platform. Happy Blogging!