Friday, March 17, 2017

My Head vs The Ice (Spoiler: The Ice Won); My Concussion Story

5:30 am: I awoke to a text message saying schools were closed. Since I knew ice could be the problem, I got up to watch the news. Accidents and slide-offs all over.

6:45: I texted my son to be careful on his way from work. (Third shift)

7:30: I left for work after checking the ice situation on the driveway. Definitely a glaze, but didn’t worry too much. I even wore my flat shoes instead of boots. There was hardly any snow, so I never even thought of it.

Traffic moved slow, but people were smart on the ice. Mostly moved at 40-45mph in a typically 55mph zone.

8:15 Stopped at Starbucks. On my way back to the car I thought, “This might have been a good day to use the drive-thru,” as I navigated the glazed parking lot.

North of town the traffic moved a bit faster at 60mph on the highway.

8:45 I arrived at work. The parking lot was covered with snow and a layer of ice. I slightly slid sideways into my parking spot. Ah-hah. Be careful getting out.

I prayed, out loud even, “Lord, I’m afraid of falling. I know fear is not of You, but I have it. I also have faith that You will help me. Please just hold me up so I don’t fall.”

I made a trip into the building, taking small, careful steps with my purse and coffee. Made it in!

“Thank you, Jesus! Now I need to make one more trip to the car to get the rest of my things. Please just hold me up.”

Made it back to the car, grabbed my tote bag, laptop and bowl with my lunch in it.

“OK, Lord, now is when I need You, because when I close this door it might throw my weight and I don’t want to fall. Please just hold me up.”

Holding everything in my left arm, I closed the car door. Still standing.

“Thank you, Jesus. Just hold me up so I can get in the building.”

I took maybe three steps.


Before I even knew what was happening I was landing on the back of my head. No time to scream. No time to try to grab for balance. No time to put arms out to stop myself. Just landing on the back of my head.

“Owww…Owww… Owww… Owww… Owww…,” on the ice for about 20 or 30 seconds.

I sat up and said, “God, you didn’t hold me up.”

While still sitting on the ice I texted my pastor, “I fell on the ice. Please check on me.”

I was scared. I know it’s not a good idea to be alone after hitting your head and I had no idea when Pastor planned to be in that day, so I asked hime to check on me in case I passed out or anything.

I managed to get in the building, and long story short, I called 9-1-1 so they could check me. They wrapped my head to hold a bag of ice in place on the goose-egg that had immediately showed up.

Pastor came and took me to ER. I checked out neurologically, so they wrapped my head with more ice and sent me home.

Pastor took me back to work, put me in my car, got my things from inside the church, and sent me home. In retrospect, driving that day was a very bad idea, but I made it.

And that’s where I would be for the next 9 weeks (and counting) - home.

The next week my doctor diagnosed me with a concussion, post-traumatic vertigo and told me not to go back to work for a couple of weeks. (Which has turned into a couple of months now, but I’m almost there!)

I had friends bring meals the first few weeks since it was too hard to stand and cook, and I got tired of take-out.

Most of the first 6 weeks was spent in my chair in front of the tv, resting and doing nothing. There were days I didn’t even get out of my pajamas. Normally I hate being in pajamas all day, but I just didn’t care. (No makeup most days either. Gasp!)

Driving was out of the question. I only started back driving a couple of weeks ago, and then only small trips on quiet roads.

My parents have been more than fabulous about taking me to all of my doctor appointments. I’m so grateful they like road trips because it’s quite a hike for them and time-consuming in their day. But when you have the best parents on the planet, it works in your favor!

(“Thank you, Mom and Dad,” just isn’t enough. I love their sacrificial love for me so much.)

February 8: I woke up at 3:00 am with the worst vertigo! I had some at the beginning, but never this bad. I was sweaty, nauseous and could hardly sit up to roll over. Same at 4:30.

At 6:00 my husband was getting his lunch ready for work. I texted, “Come back up here.”

I could barely sit up. I needed him to help me to the bathroom. He ended up staying home with me that day. Thankfully, I saw my doctor the next day which helped enough for me to be on my own.

By Saturday I was still quite dizzy. I went back to ER for a re-check. They did a CT scan and blood work.

The CT scan came back normal. No bleeding, no bruising.

The blood work showed hypothyroid. Not surprising. Doc diagnosed me with adrenal fatigue the week before.

So I’ve had some work to do and additional diet changes to my already increasingly restricted menu. If you’ve read me for awhile, you know I’ve already had to pare back some things. Now even more! But ultimately I want to be healthy, so I do what Doc says.

Last Friday I saw a neurologist. He said I’m normal!

Verified by two separate medical professionals, people! Normal! Hello!

Yesterday was the 9-week mark. I’m finally starting to feel my normal self again. I have energy. I’m driving on the highways a little more. I’m cooking dinner again. Shopping at the grocery store doesn’t bother me anymore. (Oy, the lights, the people, the noise, all the things to look at. Painful in the beginning.)

I still have to be careful about how I sleep, staying propped up because I don’t want the vertigo to come back. I still feel a twinge of dizziness when I roll over, but that will go away with time.

Somedays I wonder and ask God what the purpose is in all of this. Why did I have to fall when I asked Him to hold me up? Why did I have to sit alone - bored - in my house for the past 2 months? Why did I have to be dependent on so many others to help me? Why is this recovery taking so long?

But here’s how I know He held me up, just not in the way I expected.

The first time I went to ER, there was a 77-year-old woman who broke her arm falling on the ice. Thank you, Jesus, I didn’t break any bones.

The first time I went to ER, as I was leaving there was a woman about my age wheeled in holding a cloth on the back of her head. She fell on the ice too. She asked how many stitches I got. None! Never thought about that. Thank you, Jesus, I didn’t need stitches.

The same day I fell, my neighbor’s friend fell too. He broke the temporal lobe, stayed in the hospital overnight with vertigo and nausea, and had hearing loss for quite awhile. (I’m not sure it’s even back yet.) Thank you, Jesus, I didn’t break bones in my head or have hearing loss.

I didn’t lose consciousness, I never had vision or balance problems, I don’t have memory loss, I haven’t had cognitive issues.

There are so many more things I could have to deal with.

So here’s my bottom line to you. God may not always answer your prayer (“God, hold me up.”) the way you think He will, but He WILL answer your prayer in ways you may not expect.

He showed me how many people love, and are willing to serve me. Some not even being super close friends, but that’s what makes it all the more special.

I learned a long time ago, you find out who your friends are in a crises. I was surprised by a few of my friends who I didn’t know loved me so much!

I know this is a long post. Thank you for sticking it out and reading.

If you’ve had experiences with concussion, vertigo (check out the Foster maneuver), being homebound, dependent, bored, lonely, please leave your comments below and tell me what helped you get through it.