I’m often met with skeptical looks when I tell people I’m recovering from a concussion five months after being hit in the head with a softball. Before the accident I thought a concussion wasn’t that big a deal. It’s a term that’s thrown around a lot, especially with sports injuries. I assumed that it took a couple of weeks to recover. I didn’t realize that “concussion” encompasses everything from a bump on the head to serious brain trauma. Apparently there’s quite a debate in the medical community about the term “concussion” and the need to better define the varying degrees of injury.
I also didn’t know about the long term effects of a concussion. I’ve been diagnosed with Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS), which can last for days, weeks, months, or even years. The symptoms of PCS include:
1. Headaches – I haven’t had a day in 5 months without one.
2. Dizziness – Usually when I stand up too fast.
3. Fatigue – I’d love to tell you about this, but I need to go take a nap.
4. Irritability – I can’t think of an example, but I’m sure Boyfriend can (sorry, Boyfriend).
5. Insomnia – I rarely sleep and when I do, I have nightmares.
6. Loss of concentration and memory – I have trouble following the plot of CSI. ‘nuff said.
7. Noise and light sensitivity – Quiet, dark rooms are my haven right now.
My doctor recently added a second acronym to my list – PTSD. Yup, that’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Frankly, I was a bit taken aback by this. I felt uncomfy with this new diagnosis because, in my mind, PTSD is for survivors of car accidents, violent crimes, and war. I didn’t feel my accident was severe enough. My doctor quickly assured me that PTSD is quite common after any type of trauma. The symptoms of PTSD include:
1. Avoiding discussion about the event, especially feelings about the event – I hate talking about my feelings. I feel like I’m burdening people. This one is really tough for me. That said, the blog is helping; at least I’m writing about the accident.
2. Inability to remember aspects of the accident – I think I remember it, but there are some blurry bits and a few gaps in my memory.
3. Decreased feelings/emotions – I don’t laugh or smile as much.
4. Flashbacks to the incident – This usually comes in the form of nightmares for me.
5. Insomnia – Gah! This is a symptom of both PCS and PTSD. No wonder I’m so tired.
Okay, so this all sounds scary, but I’m making huge improvements. Concussions require time and lots of rest to heal. Since leaving my job to focus on my health, my recovery has been progressing very well. Yes, I still have headaches, but they’re less intense than they were. My speech is still slower than my usual gibber, but it is significantly faster than it was a few weeks ago. Slowly but surely, I’m getting back to me.
SOTS wonders…who do you talk to about your feelings?