Many of you know that earlier this year I slipped in my kitchen, struck my head and suffered a pretty bad concussion. It?s the second bad concussion that I have suffered; my first was from a car accident ten years ago. What many people don?t know is how serious a concussion can be.
A concussion is a bruising of the brain from an impact. When you get a concussion, your brain has to try and rewire itself around the damaged tissue. Get another concussion and your brain has an even harder job moving on to rewire itself, hence the fact that it takes longer to heal.
Everyday can be a battle to accomplish small tasks. I started out having issues just opening my eyes, having major balance issues, not being able to deal with sounds above a low level and not being able to remember something you just told me.
My first month I spent most of my time in bed, eyes closed, dark room, sometimes I would listen to something on my tablet, sometimes I?d even try to watch it with one eye.
My second month I began therapy. I did intense occupational therapy and physical therapy each week. My physical therapy was because I had so many balance issues, and I wasn?t able to multi task at all. I could walk forward slowly, preferred to hug the wall when I could and if you asked me to stand still and close my eyes, the whole world spun. Occupational therapy was all about trying
to read numbers and letters in sequences. Timing myself to be able to recognize them and say them out loud. It was much harder than is sounds. During this time my headaches were still in migraine levels and when I left therapy I spent the next 24 hours in bed.
When I got into my third month, I was finally starting to come around. Life at home was much easier to deal with. I could cook and clean and I wanted to be doing things. I was better with light, didn?t need to wear sun glasses inside the house, only when I was outside or around florescent lights. I was able to drive short distances, a few miles at a time which was a huge step for me. Although I couldn?t listen to music while I was driving, or talk to anyone – I could only focus on one thing at a time. My therapy continued and I started playing a lot of games like find a word and deductibles, games that made my mind search and think. My migraines dropped down to once a week, but headaches were still a daily occurrence and I still spent a lot of time in bed resting. I could now watch my tablet pretty well, but I still couldn’t watch television. The colors were too bright and things moved to quickly in a larger space. I also shied away from stimulating environments like stores and the like, although I did start going as long as someone was with me.
My fourth month arrived, and I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I was physically feeling much better. I was no longer at risk for falling because of balance issues, and I was comfortable enough to start riding my stationary bicycle a few days a week. My biggest issue as I entered month four was still trying to read and write. I have an issue called convergence deficiency which means I can?t focus on things up close. Which means reading and doing detail oriented things are very difficult for me. Over time and with therapy this will continue to improve. When I first started therapy ? I couldn?t focus on anything closer than 15? away. Now I?m down to 8? ? but the average person can focus at 4-5? so I am still a ways out from where I need to be. I started going out on my own, doing a little bit of shopping and running errands. It is amazing how much of a difference it makes when you can start doing these little things on your own.
As I am now in my fifth month, I am finally going to start back to work ? but part time. I still have major issues reading and writing anything I need to think about. This post has taken me probably five times longer to write then it would have in April, but I?m able to do it. 4 ? months ago, I wasn?t sure if I ever would be able to do it at all.? I won’t be heading out to any emergency calls, in fact, I’m pretty much handcuffed to the station, but that’s good. There is a lot of stimulus in a police station and it’s going to be a real test the first few days dealing with it all.
I try not to get frustrated by the fact that writing is still hard for me, or that I haven?t been able to sit and write my 13K of words that I used to write on a daily basis. I keep reminding myself of how far I have come and that I will continue to get better. I just need to be patient and rest my head.
If you look at me, you?d never know what I am dealing with. You would have no idea of how many times I wanted to curl into a ball and give up. Or how many times I feared I would never get to where I am today. You?d never know that the words you speak so easily would sometimes get stuck in my mind and make me hesitate a second longer than normal, or that I have to write everything down because I get confused at times and don?t remember at others. You won?t see the pain I live with on a daily basis. While I no longer suffer from daily migraines, I still have daily headaches, some worse than others. I still get frustrated when I can?t do something that I use to find so easy, like sit and read a book in a few hours. Right now I?m lucky I can read for thirty minutes. You won?t see these things, because they are hidden from view.
Instead, you?ll see a woman who is holding her head up as high as she can, although sometimes she winces in pain. You?ll see a woman who is pushing herself cautiously to be who she once was. You?ll see a woman who hesitates before she speaks because she needs to make sure the words are correct, and you?ll see a woman with a pad of paper with her at all times to keep track of things. You?ll see me, fighting to get my life back. Fighting to get back to where I was 6 months ago, and I?ll be damned if I?m going to give up until I get there.
A huge thank you to every single one of you who have stood by me over the last several months. Your small words of encouragement have meant everything to me.
Wish me luck as I head back to work and hang in there ? when I can get back to writing ? I?ll be back with a vengeance ? I think I have 21 plots waiting to be written ? and one of them will be about a woman with a concussion, imagine that.