Recently, a turn of events or maybe an event turn, resulted in me bonking my brain into concussion.The short version: I was full of piss and vinegar and ripped down an embankment like an idiot. A very happy light hearted idiot.
The gritty details? I honestly didn't realize how rocky it was till I started slamming against it. Once the slamming stopped, I tried to get up immediately to let everyone know I was ok. That's when I realized I couldn't breathe. I sat back down telling myself not to freak out.
Hold it together, figure this out. What hurts? Anything? Stay calm. Relax. Freaking out will make it worse. Why can't I breathe yet?? Stay calm. Did I break a rib? Puncture lung? Why can't I breathe yet??? I have to breathe. Blackness is closing in. I'm about to pass out. I have to breathe!!
That horrible noise of breath being pushed forcibly out. So embarrassing. But I was breathing. And elated by that fact. Truly, absolutely elated. Nothing else mattered. My first responder was an ex-official first responder so I had that going for me. Trying to stand was unsuccessful since blackness started to creep in again when I tried, even with help.
Totally fine. Just have to catch my wind.
First responder man (so sorry I can't recall your name) checked me over. I asked him to check my fresh chest tattoo. Damn I'd be pished if I snockered that. No worries though. No damage. Just some dirt. The only soreness was my left elbow and right hand. Holy hell did my hand hurt.
Stitches were the best choice. Being active, a dog owner and a mom of a tot means high risk of infection and/or perpetual opening. So I okayed the stitch work at the urgent care. Nothing broken so I felt pretty lucky.
Next few days I did light riding trying to work out the stiffness in my hand. My neck started hurting. Then I arrived home Tuesday night and almost passed out standing up just from driving home in traffic. It felt like something was squeezing the top of my head and my right toes were tingling as tunnel vision started to set in. Once it passed I figured I'd ride it off with a little trail therapy the next morning. Being that I have a vestibular condition I thought MAYBE this was just a really bad flare up.
I finished an easy, steady pace, solo lap at a local trail. When I came back to my truck I felt strange. Like I had over exerted myself. Weird. Hadn't hit it that hard at all. I got packed up and sat in my truck ready to go to work. Really felt off. I managed to shower and make it to my first morning meeting with the headmaster. I tried to shake it off, this weird feeling of insanity creeping in. During my meeting I was straining back tears. For no reason. I recall thinking to myself: holy shit. I'm about to cry. What's happening? I'm about to cry in a meeting with my boss?!?! Can this be over now? How do I get out? Can we stop this meeting? I'm so confused. Is this real? Oh shit. He's noticing. Should I be upset? I don't know. Damn I can't wait for this to end.
My next meeting didn't bring tears but I'll be damned if I recall half of it. I couldn't concentrate on what was being said. Steven (Treebeard) sent me a text later asking if I was okay because I was looking at him weird in the meeting. I don't remember looking at him. The one thing I remember is feeling like I was curling up into a ball for a brief moment. Walking out of that meeting I felt like I was in a fun house tunnel. I was working hard to stay calm and figure this out. Maybe I had the flu suddenly.
I got online and checked for openings to see a doc. This wasn't going away and I was feeling a bit crazy town. Might as well get checked.
Really glad I did. I found out that I had suffered a concussion during my tumble Saturday. My Wednesday ride, tame as it was, pushed blood to my brain and flipped my coo coo switch. I had aggravated my concussed brain.
Doc said no work, no activity, not even walking the dog. No screen time (limit it as much as possible), no stress, no reading. Sleep a lot. Best medicine is laying in a dark, quiet room and sleeping.
So I went back to work to catch the last meeting of the day since I'm an idiot. I don't recall much from that meeting but more than the second one. I got home and slept. Ate a little and slept. Repeated throughout the next day. Friday I went to work due to circumstances. Then I came home and slept. I made it till about 10am Saturday and then fell asleep pretty much till dinner. Then more sleep.
What a suck fest to be sleeping through, what at the time, was some primo Fall riding weather. But I needed it. I'm glad I did it. I was able to stay wake that Sunday all day if I recall correctly. Early to bed at night but at least it was night time and not all day. That weekend I also took the time to look at my helmet. I honestly didn't think I had hit my head at all. The deep dents in my well made and sturdy Lazer commuter helmet told me otherwise.
As I write this I am on week three of slow recovery. I am able to stay awake all day and sleep relatively well at night. I had a period of insane dreams that I am really glad has passed. Headaches are fewer and less intense. I feel emotionally stable which is nice too.
Taking it easy ain't easy. It's especially hard when no one can SEE your boo boo. My hand was mildly fecked and people understood that must hurt but the biggest issue was my noodle. There was only a small bruise on my right cheek. No marks to match the trauma playing out under my skull. The only people who really knew, really understood were those who had been there before. And guess what? There were a lot around me. Cyclists get hit, fall down, break, bonk and do it again. Some walk away without much issue. Others find themselves in various stages of repose. Everyone's concussion story was different. It was so good to hear though. I felt a little less crazy to know this was real. I'm not a fan of gossip or unnecessary drama so cutting myself slack for what amounted to a mental issue in my mind was hard. Family, friends and co-workers who don't know, can't empathize. My brain was clunky and paranoid. The doc said everyone's brain can react differently. Some people experience anger, some sadness, some are extremely talkative when usually quiet and vice versa. The list goes on and on. The brain is a precious and mysterious organ. You only have one. You can't get another. Don't stop living. Just take the time to heal when you need to. Focus on healing and getting back out there the right way at the right time. Just a bit of advice to take or leave from my almost healed brain.