Feb 17

Things to Avoid

Posted: under Life beyond writing.
Tags:  February 17th, 2019

People who have already had three concussions should not get rear-ended at the end of a long day that also included dental excavations.  Not sure the dental stuff actually made the jarring of the rear-ending worse, but it *felt* like I’d not only had my brain shaken but been socked in the right cheekbone as well.  Useless as that is, I’m annoyed that my brain isn’t proof against all such blows and shakings.   I need it; it should just go right on zipping its little chemo-electric signals from neuron to neuron with undiminished speed and strength and accuracy.  And…because it’s not impervious to damage…it doesn’t.

Last Tuesday, I was stopped at an intersection and the car behind me ran into me.   It wasn’t a high-speed rear-ending and the car wasn’t totalled or anything.  I didn’t lose consciousness or break any bones or even get an outward scratch.  But I did get my brain shook, and as is typical with such injuries, when not too severe, I didn’t realize the size of the effect.   I was 27 miles from home, about…a little over a half hour drive, what with traffic lights, much of it in open country, and as once before I wanted badly to get home and in this case could remember the entire route…so I drove it.  Carefully, but (in hindsight) unwisely…by the time I got home, all I could think of was getting inside and flat on a bed.   When you’ve had a brain shake, you don’t (if you have a brain cell still functioning) take any NSAID pain medication for the headache…it risks making a tiny bleed worse, if the tiny bleed is the source of the headache.  Tuesday through Tuesday night was spent lying flat and wishing my head would quit hurting…dozing and waking, over and over.

Wednesday last week was a lost day.   I had intended to drive to the city to choir practice, and work on a Mozart mass with the choir.  Didn’t make it.  Knew I wouldn’t be safe to drive 50 miles in, on the Interstate, navigate rush hour afternoon traffic downtown, and drive back home after 9 pm.   (The restident retired doctor had something to say about that, too.)   I slept off and on most of the day.  Thursday was better, which is good, because I had a boatload of stuff that needed doing.  None of it involved driving, and I could rest between phone calls.  Friday also had an important business appointment I could not miss…but involved driving to the county seat and around town to do other errands than the main one.  That reactivated the headache; I came home and went to bed.  Slept between horse chores.  Saturday was mixed.   Felt pretty good early, but just driving to the local feed store (shavings, one sack of feed)  and the headache was back, though weaker.   I’m not in church singing Mozart, which bites, but I’m still not 100%.   And church is still a 50 mile drive away (and I don’t know the music well enough because I can’t learn the difficult stuff without actual rehearsals with the choir.  You Tube is not enough for me.)   Could be a lot worse.   I’m steady enough on my feet to muck out a horse stall, and hope later to do some ground work with the horse.   No driving today.

I have an online friend who endured two much harder rear-endings in close succession…full on concussion both times, and the two that close together gave her a much worse brain injury that affected her for years.   Mine was not as severe, and I think bothered me this much only because it was less than a year after the bucked-off-whacked-head-on-ground concussion last year.  But a definite reminder that getting your brain shook, with or without a direct blow, is never good for said brain, and you should avoid such things to the extent you can.  Wear the helmet if there’s a chance of it.  Know that the first thing a whack to the brain does is make the brain unable to recognize whether it’s functioning OK or not.  If you are conscious, it will be pushing its RESTART button over and over, and some things WILL work, and it will tell you everything’s fine now.  The brain thinks pushing the RESTART button makes everything perfect…but just as rebooting a computer can, at times, restore only part of its functionality and it needs rebooting again (and again) to bring up *all* the software with the current settings, the brain can reboot in segments, not as a fully functioning whole. (That’s my excuse for any remaining typos I didn’t see in this and correct already.)   I rehearsed the basic LOC protocol (are you oriented to person, place, calendar day, clock time?  Can you remember certain common facts and calculate some simple math?) and considered myself just fine, thanks.  That’s a good start, but it’s not everything.

So: take care of your brain.   You’ll want it, from time to time.  Can’t write without it.

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