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Recovering from my own concussion…

December 31, 2013

On November 10th 2013, I fell down a flight of stairs while moving into our new house.  In addition to shattering my wrist and causing some major damage to my body, I hit my head (I don’t know how many times), as I rolled down the stairs.  I have been told multiple times that I am lucky to be alive.

Of all people we, including myself, should know better, but we didn’t deal with my concussion early on.  I think we were in such shock from the physical injuries, the immediate surgery that resulted from my injuries, the pain medications, adjusting to a new home in a new state, and just the overall chaos, we didn’t really think about how my head was doing.  In the ER, I also insisted that my head was fine, and because of the obvious injuries that needed to be taken care of, no one pressed me about a possible concussion.  I slept most of the first 10 days and we assumed that was because I was on major painkillers.  I would wake up with terrible headaches, I couldn’t read, couldn’t remember words or trips or names, and all in all I couldn’t think clearly – but again we attributed it to everything else going on.

Three weeks after I fell, we realized I was suffering from Post Concussion Syndrome. I went to see a doctor to get confirmation, and although she saw signs of a concussion she basically said there was nothing she could do. She told me to come back in two weeks with somebody who could vouch for my sanity as for all she knew, I was making the entire story up, and just wanted more pain killers.  She did say to rest for three weeks, I when I told her I had, she said I should be ok with a little more rest.  After that wonderful experience, we took matters into our own hands.  We called our local Brain Injury Association and got referred to a Dr. who specialized in brain injuries from concussions.  I also decided to start acupuncture immediately, weaned myself off the pain killers, and began taking an intense regimen of high quality omega 3’s, homeopathic Arnica Montana, and other multi-vitamins.

I was already going to physical therapy three times a week for my wrist, arm, shoulder, and back, and mentioned to my PT what happened regarding the concussion.  It turns out that in the state of Kentucky you don’t need a prescription for physical therapy.  So I signed up for the concussion management therapy.  I must admit it has helped quite a bit, even though I still have vision and vestibular issues, my mood has not been the best, but my memory has been returning slowly.  Its one day at a time right now.

This is at least my 10th concussion in 44 years.  Not a statistic I’m proud of, but I too was a competitive athlete, was in major car accidents as early as my elementary school days, and seemed to be magnetically attracted to trees and buildings when skiing.

The one thing I would encourage everyone to remember is that after a head injury, symptoms may not show up for days.  For me it was about 10 days.  And don’t give up the fight for what you know is right.  Do what you need to do, even if the medical industry does not agree.  It wasn’t easy getting help for a concussion or post concussion syndrome.  The doctors knew what to do with broken bones and shattered wrist, they had no idea how to help a head injury even in the ER.  Find the right people, find an advocate, call your local Brain Injury Association http://www.biausa.org/ (even if you only suspect that a concussion is possible) and don’t give up!

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