How I See Things

How I See Things
Cartoon-like drawing in shades of dark to medium purple. Eyes with beautiful eyelashes, looking through a pair of glasses.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Past Concussions

Since 2004, I have had 3 concussions. I am positive I had at least 1 as a baby, too, and there were probably others that I don't remember. But since 2004, I have had 3, well, now as of last week, I have had 4.

Concussion in 2004

In 2004, I was carrying my 1 year old son to the car. I slipped on horrible ice behind my car and fell and whacked my head on the ice over asphalt. I was able to hold my son in such a way that he was completely protected. He laughed; he had a good time falling. I was so grateful I had protected him.

I forgot my name, I forgot my phone number. I forgot a lot of things that day. I remember praying. I should have called an ambulance but I didn't know who would watch my son if I did that. Somehow, I got through that experience with no medical care. It was my religious beliefs at the time not to seek medical care about anything.

That concussion - my fall on the ice - was the worst concussion I have ever had.

Concussion in 2011

In 2011, I was on a caving expedition with a bunch of folks from the same church belief system I was in. We all carried flashlights and were on a guided tour of a cave named "The Creepy-Crawly Cave."

I had told the tour guide that I wasn't sure but I might have some claustrophobia issues. I had toured caves before and loved them. Muddy caves where you carry a flashlight in your mouth because you need your hands to help guide and pull you in to tight spaces. He said, "we will go in the Creepy-Crawly Cave; the walls are about 11 feet wide. You'll be fine." Indeed - the walls were about 11 feet wide, but the ceiling was about 3-4 feet off the ground for a lot of the cave.

Well, we got to a room in the cave somewhere, where we could all sit around and rest for a bit. I was near the end of the group and saw a bunch of people sitting on the rock, sort of in a U-shape. Plenty for all the people to sit and see each other.

I smacked my head - HARD - right as someone said to me, "watch your head." Seriously. They warned me AS I hit my head. Not BEFORE.

I hit my head so hard. I looked at the room full of people and fully HALF of them were sitting there in severe pain, holding their heads.

It appeared to me that the first person hit their head, the person behind them saw and didn't hit theirs, but failed to warn the person behind them. And so it repeated. Not one person was warned about hitting their head in time to keep them from hitting their head.

Later that day, I remember someone asking me, "how is your head?" In that religion, we tried not to talk about or mention any illness. It was called "a false belief," and if you talked about it, the idea was that it would "become more real." So illnesses and imperfections were to be ignored.

I told this kind, thoughtful person: "I am trying not to think about it." My head hurt, I assure you. It ached and hurt so badly. I had no pain killer. The religion "didn't believe in pain killer." So we didn't buy any (to buy pain killer would to admit that we might, at some future time, be in pain. So to not buy it, was to deny pain's existence), or take any: ever.

The man who asked me looked a little embarrassed. The poor man. He had tried to be kind and empathetic. And I had answered his kind question with "I am trying not to think about [my aching head]." He apologized and we moved on. I felt sad that he had expressed care and I had dismissed him due to the nature of the "religion's rules."

I never got medical care for that concussion, either. I think this was my 2nd worst concussion. I don't remember how long it hurt.

Concussion in 2014

We moved to a new home in 2014, and I was mowing the lawn. I walked straight into the underside of our deck. Ka-blam.

I cut my forehead. it was ugly and bleeding. I went inside the house and just sat on the stairway and cried and cried. I was so upset that I had had yet another "probable concussion."

I was still in the religious belief system where I didn't get medical care.

My partner came in the house, saw me, and went back outside to talk with a neighbor. I wish I was joking or exaggerating. Lovely religious belief, isn't it? I wanted care. I wanted to go to the doctor. I sat there, on the step, crying and alone, trying to ignore the fact that my head hurt like crazy.

I have an odd-shaped scar in the middle of my forehead from this concussion.

Concussion in 2019

It's been a hell of a year. My most recent concussion, I blog about in the next post. I would say it's the concussion that hurt the least.

It was also the first concussion I've had where I got medical care. It was oddly reassuring that this one was a concussion. It verified for me that I have had previous concussions. Worse than this one.

Going Forward ...

The doctor at the Emergency Room recently told me that over time, the symptoms (from this concussion) would abate. My worse double-vision, the pain, the nausea, and other things.

So, a medical nurse acquaintance told me: "don't get another one for the next 6 months." Good to know. Too bad I banged my head on my car door the next day. It was more of a "swipe," actually.

I took some Aleve to handle my pain that evening, and some more in the morning. I often forget that pain killer exists. I am starting to remember that it exists. So, that's good.

Going forward, I will try not to hit my head. I will try to navigate this world where I see everything in duplicate. Seeing double is no fun, I assure you. New things are confusing and take time for me to interpret. But that's a subject for another blog post.

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