Two weeks ago, on a fateful Friday night, I was at the office, quietly tending to my work. Carissa and her puppy Teddy were in the next room, and I split my time between actual productive work and repeatedly telling Teddy that he’s the most beautiful doggo in the world.
As I was packing bags for housekeeping and placing them on our metal racks for storage, a terrible yet unsurprising event took place. While placing a bag on the bottom shelf, I stood up straight into the shelf above it, bonking my head. No big deal…if I had a dollar for every time I accidentally walked into a wall or doorway or bruised some part of myself from daily activities i wouldn’t need to work anymore I’d be so rich.
But after exclaiming “ouch” and rubbing my skull for a minute, things began to go downhill fast. I got dizzy and had to sit down, and then a few minutes later in a bout of overconfidence I tried standing up and it felt as if a tsunami had just hit me in the face.
I was shaking, sweaty, dizzy, and panicking, when my speech started to struggle. My mind was active and I knew what I wanted to say, but the words stuck on my tongue, leaving me struggling to communicate anything at all.
Teddy thoroughly disapproved of my plight and decided licking my face and eating my tissues was the best approach to helping me. Carissa seemed to have a little more sense and took me to the ER instead.
By the time we got to the hospital, speaking was almost impossible, standing took immense effort, and I couldn’t stop shaking.
After a CT scan, a slightly insulting comment from a nurse asking if Carissa was my sister or my mom, and a lot of waiting, I was told I had “just a little brain injury” and was sent home. My concussion didn’t pose a permanent risk to my health, so I was instructed to rest and not use my brain for a few days.
Turns out, not using your brain is stupidly difficult. Know what uses brain power? Everything. Walking, talking, watching tv, reading, thinking. I was told I basically just had to zone out and not think. Obviously that did not go well.
Two weeks later, my speech has almost returned to normal, my headaches have subsided, and while I don’t have the stamina to stay on my feet all day, I can walk pretty much normally now.
This is the third time a brain injury has impeded my ability to function, the second time this year. And each time something like this happens, I try to imagine how this is making me a better person. Perhaps it makes me more empathetic, or maybe it causes me to slow down and examine the goodness in my life before taking it for granted. But sometimes, I think i just have ridiculously bad luck.
I think I’m a pretty empathetic person, I think I’ve gained enough character from my struggles by now. I think I’ve examined my life enough to appreciate what I have. I am grateful that this injury wasn’t worse, but I think I’ve had enough for a while. Three brain injuries is quite enough for me.
So here’s hoping that the rest of my life involves fewer injuries and no more brain damage. Here’s some photographic evidence that I’m still kickin, even with a defective brain: