Monday, October 25, 2010

The Concussion

So on Saturday, the 16th of this month, I fell backwards and smacked the back of my head against the wall. I laughed it off and went about my business. A little while later, though, I was finding it incredibly hard to focus on my homework. I felt slow. I had difficulty holding a pen, I couldn't type, and the front part of my head hurt like hell. I went to the bathroom and noticed some Halloween decorations I had hung in the window. I wondered if I should take them down and put them away - I couldn't remember if Halloween had already happened or not and I had to ask John. I went to bed to try and rest.
Soon I was nauseous. I couldn't stand up without getting a chill that would cause my teeth to chatter. The instructions on the box of a microwave meal were just too complicated. At some point I found myself attempting to articulate how to give a sheep walking lessons. (This involved a robotic arm-like contraption that the sheep had to slip its legs into before attempting to stand up.) Yeah. It was time to go to the hospital.

We got to the hospital at around noon and sat for a while in the parking lot while I debated whether or not I really wanted to go inside. My head was really hurting. We went in. When I was admitted, they couldn't tell us anything about costs. John asked if there was a standard fee for seeing the doctor and the receptionist couldn't tell us. We asked how much a CT would cost and the lady couldn't tell us. She said "it all depends, but believe me, you WILL receive a bill." But they couldn't even tell us when we would get a bill. "Could be as long as six months, could be next week." That frustrated me.
We spent most of our time waiting. I knew we would. In the triage station, the nurse asked me a whole bunch of questions. Answering was difficult. No I don't remember what time it happened (yesterday?), no I don't remember when my last menstrual cycle was, yes the light hurts my eyes. Huh? (It's a good thing John was there. I think he answered most of the questions.)

When we finally got to see the doctor, I was tired and hungry and my head hurt even worse. The doctor was a jerk. Some doctors have a way of doing things. That was his way. John got really upset and thought about taking us to the other hospital in town. The doctor bullied us into a CT. I started crying thinking about how much it was going to cost and John called my mom to update her on what was going on. She told him that we should do what we had to do to make sure everything was okay and to not freak out about the cost because if I couldn't handle it she was going to help.
I made myself feel a little better by convincing myself that this was a convenient course of action. After all, I'm 26 years old and have hit my head a LOT. Getting a CT now would catch any problems I might have already been living with...right? I could think of three instances in which I probably should have had a CT: one bad time when I was a kid and someone else made a hole in a wall by banging my head into it, another time when I was in a car accident and was knocked unconscious for a little bit, and another time when I was out with a friend of mine surfing at dusk. (Bad idea to begin with.) I didn't see him wipe out and I didn't see his board fly at me in time to avoid it. It hit me in the head HARD and I swear I went blind for a few seconds. I never 'hit the waves' ever again.

Because I was doing a brain scan they took an HCG test and I had to give them three vials of blood for it. When it finally came time for the scan, a nurse came in with a wheelchair to wheel me to the exam room. John asked, "I take this to mean she's not pregnant?" and the nurse rolled her eyes at him. It was nice not having to walk to the exam room. Everyone else seemed to be able to walk much faster than me.

When we got to the room, I had to stick my head into a giant doughnut. The tech asked where my head hurt and I told him. He asked if that meant it had already migrated. What does that mean? "Ummm...yes?" I was told to keep still. I had a hard time keeping myself from laughing for some reason. Probably because I was sticking my head into a giant powdered doughnut.I'm really jealous of John because he got to watch the scan while it was in progress. I bet my brain looked really cool. After the scan John wheeled me back to our room where we waited and waited and waited. We heard snippets of things the doctor was saying outside and couldn't figure out if he was talking about me. He said something about finding something else wrong and not knowing if "she" had ever been dialyzed. I thought it could be me because I've always been sort of borderline diabetic and I was convinced that I probably had a brain bleed, if not from this mishap then from another one of many in my life.

John got really worried when a nurse came in needing urine. John asked why they needed a urinalysis after the scan and the nurse said he didn't know - that the doctor just ordered one. So I peed into a cup without knowing why and we waited some more. (It would be easier for patients to ask questions if they ever actually got answers to any of them.) A long while later, the doctor poked his head in and said "Good news - just a minor concussion. Don't leave yet; they're gonna bring you in some paperwork in a few minutes." Half an hour later, a nurse brought some "Head Injury Follow Up" instructions and told us that we could go. We left after 6:30pm. John took me out to eat.

John spent the night waking me up every few hours and making sure I knew where I was. Once when he asked this I almost said "Grandma's house" but stopped myself because I knew that couldn't be the right answer. I spent the night having some of the most vivid dreams I've ever had. I remembered at least ten of them and told John about a few every time he woke me up. My head hurt all day the next day despite regularly medicating with Tylenol. I still have headaches every single day. Sometimes they're mild, sometimes they're more than that. I take at least one Tylenol per day. Yesterday I had four. This is the first time I've ever had headache problems in my life and I really hope this goes away soon!

In the mean time, I am trying my very best to be less accident-prone.


  1. Oh my goodness! How scary and frustrating! I'm glad you're okay and hope your headaches subside soon. And I loved your descriptions of everything - sticking your head in a powdered donut is pretty awesome!

  2. Scary! I hope your head has started feeling better.

  3. Yikes! SO do you feel better yet?

  4. @Stokat As of today, Nov. 4 - still daily headaches...but they're not as bad as they were.