Second half-day of work and the first thing I do when I walk in the door is go to bed.
Having a proper concussion is no fun. Broken bones heal in the prescribed time. You can work out muscle strains. Bruises go away. Cuts heal. It’s all very civilized. Nobody, not the least of which neurologists, know a thing about concussions except, “give it time”. I’m tired of giving it time.
I never thought about concussions before the wreck. I’d read about some athlete having concussion symptoms and being held out of practice or the big game. Seriously? A little dizziness and a headache and you’re hanging out in the TV room back in the dorm while the rest of the team is pounding each other to pieces on the gridiron!? Shows what I know.
Here’s what I know now: In the blink of the eye my head smashed into a two-by-four piece of wood traveling at least 16 mph. Gravity was not my friend. The impact was severe enough to open a nice sized cut above my left eye. The pain in my elbow overcame the pain in my head, for the moment.
In 5 minutes I became aware of the ache in my head. I became dizzy. Nauseous. I was on the verge of passing out. Not at the moment of impact mind you. But 5-10 minutes later. I saw the silly stars they show in cartoons. I could look directly at an object but not really see it. 30 minutes later I couldn’t remember words to have a conversation.
Of everything that happened to me on that ridiculous morning I might suggest that forgetting common words was the scariest. God protect all of us from the ravages of dementia and worse. It’s one thing to look down and see your arm in a state of bother realizing in a few weeks you’re probably back to normal if not a little more stiff. Quite another to look into your mind and not “find” the things you want to say or “see” the things you are thinking about.
I tried to explain once what was happening at the moment I was “losing words”. When we talk normally we don’t really think about the words we using. It’s almost a natural reflex to talk, right? For about a month when I had trouble thinking of the words things slowed down in my mind to the point where all the words that I had used and were about to use were on the sides of the cave in my mind. I could literally see all these words all around me. But the word that I was hunting for was down the hole, the blackness in the middle of the cave. Bizarre I know. But it’s the only way I know how to explain it.
My inclination when I have an injury is to “work it out.” There are always other exercises one can do to strengthen around the injury. If your elbow is broken you can certainly continue to walk. Even do machine assisted lower body exercises, etc. Heck, I’ve got a bicycle trainer that is perfect for just this problem. I can’t extend my arm to hold the handlebar which would make riding around a dicey situation, but with the trainer I don’t have to worry about balancing and can use the good arm to hold on and continue building my cardio.
Unfortunately the concussion has eliminated that option. In fact, until the wreck there was literally not a week in 25 years or so, probably longer, where I did not do some type of cardio or weight training or exercises sometime during that week. Running, hotel pushups, out of town gym visits. Something to stay fit and active.
I haven’t exercised in three months.
It’s not that I don’t want to. I sit and pedal on a recumbent bike at PT, honestly, the easiest piece of equipment in any gym, and get dizzy in 5 minutes. if I push much past that it increases my headache. Now, it has definitely gotten better over time. No question. But I cannot push past this. Pushing hard only makes my headache worse for my troubles. And like I mentioned before it makes therapy on all the other broken parts difficult.
So that brings me today. After three months of doctor recommended rest it was time to go back to work this week. Not that the doctor thought it was a great idea but when insurance runs out it’s either work or starve. The company really didn’t care that I was out. Once the paid sick leave is used up they simply dump me on the FMLA and I become short disability insurance’s problem. The company no longer has to pay my salary. But once the insurance ran out they made it quite clear what would happen if I didn’t show back up the next day. Which I understand. I’m not their charity case. There are plenty of folks that can do my job.
So I’ll end this where I began. I came home from work and went to sleep. Just like the doctor said I would. My headache is worse today than it has been in a couple weeks unfortunately. 1 step forward, 2 steps back so far this week. Pound tylenol is about all that’s left to do and get sleep when I can. Dealing with the minutiae of work, the mindless meetings, etc., will be my biggest challenge up to now I think.