Sunday, August 2, 2015

Musings on Head Injuries

Evidently, concussions make me angry. Who knew?

If you haven't heard, I hit my head on the counter top at work Sat morning while cleaning. This was 2am ish, and I still had work to finish. So despite the spinning head and nausea I continued doing my job. Because I'm a grown up like that. And a mom. And it's what moms do.

I seriously considered, based on how I was feeling, calling my husband and waking him up and asking him to drive 30 min to pick me up and drive me 30 home so I could clean the last bank and then go home. But like a dork I put on a brave face for my boss, Rob, because that's what I do. (Bryan called me on that when we drove to the ER. He's like "don't downplay your symptoms" and my first reaction was to argue but when I got honest about it I realized how truly awful I felt.

So I drove home. With a concussion. Because I'm an idiot. I'm not even remotely kidding about that.

By the time I finished work, went home, showered, and went to bed it was almost 5am. I examined my pupils in the bathroom mirror. They dilated and contracted. They were the same size. So I must be okay, right? I mean, sure my head hurt and I was nauseated but that could also be because I'd just worked more than ten hours in the middle of the night. Still not used to that.

I woke up around 1pm Saturday, after roughly 8 hrs of sleep. And I felt groggy, but I feel groggy every Saturday so I wrote it off. And I did stuff that I'd been putting off for weeks. I made cookies. I made eclairs. It's not hard stuff, but it does keep me on my feet for a while. Around 6:30, after dinner, I retreated to my room so I could write.

And I am not kidding you, the headache came hard and fast. Suddenly my head was screaming. I was dizzy, like I'd turn my head and my brain would follow a half second later. I was nauseated. I was a mess. I couldn't concentrate. Maybe wrote a few hundred words that are probably crap.

Bryan was watching TV so I talked to my sis in law via FB while I waited for him to come to bed. Then I got to feeling so bad that I texted him and asked him to come to bed. Did not trust myself to get up and walk to the other end of the house.

We talked, and the more we talked the more Bryan became convinced I had to go to the hospital. Apparently I was fast losing my lucidity. What I noticed, and still notice, is that my swear filter has shorted out. I have to be very careful what I say.

Driving up to the hospital in the middle of the night, because by this time it was 11:30 ish Sat PM, my speech became more sluggish, more patchy. I thought I sounded okay most of the time but Bryan tells me I sounded drunk. Or drugged. I was having a really hard time forming words, remembering things, and concentrating. And my stomach hurt so bad. I really thought I was going to throw up.

The ER staff was great. They took care of me, and released us as soon as they could. But by the time it was all over I was too wired to sleep. They did a CT scan which came back showing no bleed, which is what they look for since a CT won't show concussion. The Dr told me I definitely had a concussion. He also put me through some simple tests. Like they asked me what happened at least three times. I think they do that to check your story and make sure you're not lying, but also to check your response. He also had me reach out and touch his finger, then touch my nose, the touch his finger (he moved it to one side) and repeat with the other hand.

I want to tell you that was the single hardest thing I had to do. It took every ounce of concentration and effort I possessed to do that stupid, simple thing. I'm not even remotely exaggerating. Touch his finger. Touch my nose. Touch his finger. EXHAUSTING.

We walked out of there with about 17 pages of discharge instructions and went home. I tried to sleep, honest, but only got about 2 hrs until I just couldn't sleep anymore. My head hurts so bad it's uncomfortable just to hold it up. The pain doesn't really lessen with painkillers. It's like they don't even touch it.

And I'm mad. I can't concentrate. I can't drive. The more normal I feel, aside from the pain, the more frustrated I get because of all the stuff I can't do physically. I can't watch TV. It's too loud, too jumpy, too stimuli. I can't do normal stupid stuff for myself. I've spent the better part of the day in bed, either sleeping or just being still. In the dark. With my Kindle brightness turned all the way down and it's still too bright.

The kids are all worried about me, so they keep checking on me. Bryan is worried about me, but less so now than he was last night.

I'm just trying to keep my brains in my head, since my head hurts so bad that it feels like my ears are burning. I'd love to stay out of bed more than ten min at a time. I'm pretty grumpy because my brain wants to do stuff but my body is saying no freaking way.

And I've probably said that more than once here, but bear with me, I have a head injury.

In short, I have no idea when I'm going to start feeling better. I'm not safe to drive so I can't work. I can't write because my brain is having serious concentration issues.

But I'm better than I was last night. Even though I'd love to wake up tomorrow feeling perfectly normal I don't think that's realistic. I just hope I recognize normal when it shows up.

Hush. I meant normal for me.

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