This was the Thanksgiving that I have already forgotten. Literally.
The Monday night before Thanksgiving, while I was walking Little Dude (our precious little puppy), I bent down to pick up something that he had started chewing (he’s an expert at being naughty). When I stood up, I had inadvertently (read: like an idiot) smashed the top of my head against a vertical steel scaffolding pole. It was the hardest blow to my head that I have ever experienced, and it really knocked me off my feet.
I stumbled home and fell onto the couch in such pain and confusion. Suddenly my vision was blurry, my speech was slow and slurred, and I was having a hard time remembering things (like the name of my doctor!).
We took a trip to the emergency room, which was a one hour exercise in simultaneously feeling better for myself, and feeling badly for the poor souls walking into that place. As an aside, the emergency room has turned into the first line of care for underserved people – it’s very sad to see helpless young mothers bring their children there with a bad cough (something a primary care doctor should be seeing), or see a local woman I recognized who was clearly overdosed on drugs (something a clinic should be handling). Then there’s the random worker who walks in nonchalantly with three detached fingers being held by his other hand.
After waiting for hours, I was seen by a friendly ER doctor who looked at me, asked a few basic questions, and then said the chances of blood in my brain were very low. She said I could wait around for a CT scan, but then she opened the curtain and said “but you see what it’s like out there, and you’d have to wait for a while to get the scan”. Which is when I quickly gathered my belongings and got the heck out of there (avoiding any sight of limbs awaiting to be reattached).
The next day I was able to arrange for a CT scan in a more relaxed setting, and luckily I didn’t have any red flags. I took my results to a neurologist and had a real exam, where I learned all about a concussion and, as importantly, what goes into healing one. Time, rest, and no alcohol. Which, to be honest, was just what the doctor ordered!
My biggest regret about the whole situation was that it happened during Thanksgiving week, and I missed out on spending time with my awesome family. Instead I slept on the couch in the basement the entire day, unable to lift my head up or sustain a conversation with even a 7-year-old nephew.
Nearly two weeks later I feel 80% better, but still have a lingering headache. My memory seems to be coming back and my speech isn’t as slurred. It’s just a shame that I couldn’t see Jesus or John Lennon in my sleep. Isn’t that what happens from getting hit on the head? (I’d opt for Lennon…)
The take away from this scary experience is 1. We still love our dog so much! 2. Getting a concussion is not a joking matter, and we should all be protecting our heads as best we can. And 3. Avoid the emergency room at all costs!