What it’s REALLY like to have a concussion! 10-28-14

One afternoon in August, I was swinging one of my grandchildren in the back yard. It was a beautiful day, even though the mosquitoes were thick due to all the rain we had. I got the swing going really high when a mosquito bit me on the leg. When I leaned over to swat it, the corner of the big, wooden swing hit me on the head. All at the same time, I thought about what a loud, terrible sound it made, it was my head, and that oh no, this is not good! After making it into the house, calling my hubby, and using an ice pack, I decided not to go to the doctor. It did not break the skin, but I had 2 large knots and a gushy area in between (a hematoma under the scalp). My pupils looked normal, I had a headache, but everything was ok!

Symptoms, except for a big bruise on my forehead, didn’t show up until 4 days later. I woke up with the bed spins, nauseated, and a splitting headache. Ok, it was time to go to the doctor. After a CT scan, I learned I had a moderate concussion. I was told it could take up to 6 months to heal. A concussion is what happens when trauma causes your brain to slam against your skull which causes bruising and swelling of the brain. Luckily I had no fractures or bleeds. My instructions were to rest my brain so that it could heal. No studying, concentrating, computer work, video games, physical activity. This is a hard thing to do! When we got home, I settled onto the couch to watch television. Pretty soon the TV felt like the volume was turned all the way up and it was screaming in my head! Noise, even soft noise was not a good thing. Then my emotions started to be affected and all I could do was cry about nothing! The headaches got worse. I was in the throngs of a “moderate” concussion.

After a few days the nausea, intolerance to noise, and emotional distress got much better, although I still had headaches 24/7. I had a headache everyday all day. Then I started noticing extreme forgetfulness. Like I couldn’t remember something I had done the day before. I couldn’t think of names. I would go into another room to do something and had no clue what it was. The things I couldn’t remember we’re things you would never forget.

It was time to do get my hair done which is 30 miles away on a divided highway. I had driven very short distances close to home and had no troubles. But when I took off for the hairdresser, it felt like I had never driven before! I had to consciously think about every single maneuver, those that you do that are automatic, that you never, ever think about. Needless to say, when I got home, I was a nervous wreck! It is absolutely unbelievable what happens when your brain is injured, even if only “moderately”. I really can’t imagine what severe head trauma is like.

When I got knocked in the head, it also messed up my neck and back. Since I have arthritis in both my neck and back and a herniated disc in my back, I try not to do anything crazy to mess it up. Well, the swing thing messed that up too! It was off to my chiropractor to get straightened up.

Dr. Jeff Williams has been my chiropractor for several years. His office, Amarillo Pain & Accident Chiropractic Clinic, is in Amarillo, Texas. Being a Dental Hygienist, I have been going to Chiropractors for over 30 years. I can honestly and wholeheartedly say that he is absolutely the BEST! He is always attending seminars and training to stay up to date with the latest in Chiropractic care. His staff is well trained and friendly. Dr. Williams is caring and honest, and on top of that, a very talented musician and artist!  If you get the chance, go see his band, The Flying Elbows.  They are awesome!

A little over 2 months after I got my concussion, I still have some headaches. I feel like my brain is not completely healed because I still have a few of the above mentioned side affects, although they are so much improved. I am getting better every day. My neck and back are so much better, thanks to the awesome and amazing Dr. Williams.

One important thing I learned from my retina specialist, Dr. Edward Ysasaga, in Amarillo, is to take B Complex vitamins. He said that the B vitamins help the brain to heal. I’ve been taking them for over a month and truly know that it is helping. I’ll blog about Dr. Eddie Ysasaga another time.

As a stem cell transplant survivor, the survivor mode comes out in me when I experience these blips along the way. It is because of the awesome doctors who care for me and the road I’ve already been down that I know everything is going to be OK!