Concussive Terror

Very early Wednesday morning, I had what I believe is commonly termed an ‘in-home accident.’

Makes it sound very stale and flat. Like I pissed myself, or something. Or slipped on a bar of soap.

In fact, it was a perfect storm of medicational side-effects, and it ended with me lying on the bedroom floor, my head a mass of contusions and shredded skin. And I was slightly concussed.

Once we got me back on the bed and the lights on to see what was happening, that’s when it hit me: nausea, vertigo, headache. The telltale signs of concussion.

I’ve never had a situation like this before. For almost all of my life, I’ve been in very good health. Never even had a broken bone. I have many, many scars from the stupid things people do in their daily lives: knife slippings, falls, dives into the shallow end of a pool, even a motorcycle accident.

But I’d never had anything that affected my brain.

So here I was, sitting on my bed at 2am and panicking, because I could swear I’d always heard that, if you have a concussion, you shouldn’t go to sleep, for fear of entering a coma. But it’s 2am. I was awakened from deep sleep by pain, and all I want to do is sleep again.

Obviously, I’m still here, so I didn’t go comatose. But it was a terrifying experience. One moment, I’m upright, dealing with the pain in my leg, the next, my partner is standing over me, begging me to wake up. My head felt full of wool and sludge. And I’ve injured my brain.

Let me put this in some perspective: by now, you should be aware of my affinity for heavy metal music. I’m a headbanger in the truest sense of the term. I’ve been a headbanger since round about 1985. In all of that time, through concerts, new albums, mosh pits, and ear-blistering screaming sessions, I’ve never injured my brain itself (had a CAT scan at some point and confirmed it). Nor have I injured my neck. I forget which member of Slayer has had their neck fused a few times from all of the headbanging they’ve done. None of that for me.

Now, in the span of less than a minute, I’d done both.

The good news is that the concussion was mild; it passed before I’d even fallen back to sleep. The bad news is that it’s taken close to a week for me to be able to turn my head enough to back out of the driveway. And there’s very definitely ramifications: my sleep schedule is shot to hell, my mood has been affected toward the depressive, and my coordination is off. They don’t feel like permanent things, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

I feel badly for people like football players who have had multiple, major concussions. Especially since we now have so much medical evidence that it destroys later lives. All things considered, I got off light. I’ll sure as hell take it over the alternatives.


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