This week’s Writing Challenge from the Daily Post is right up my alley. It is called “Fit To Write” and is about what health means to you in one context or another.
Well, gosh… This is a blog written by a resident, so gosh, health comes up a fair bit. So, it must work.
Today, I will tell you a bit of what happens when the resident becomes patient.
A week and a half ago now I got my first concussion. Well, the first concussion I know about for sure. I mean, I was pretty much an accident waiting to happen as a child, so I wore a helmet a lot (not just when I was on a bike… Yes, I was that cool.), but there were at least two times I hit my head hard enough to black out, albeit just for a second…. And I never told anyone until I was an adult (it is lucky I have gotten this far in life, come to think of it).
I cracked my head off of a cupboard standing up from emptying the dishwasher. Something I do all the time. Seriously. I hit my head daily.
This time, though, I felt an instant headache and saw stars and thought I might be bleeding. I got Patrick to check when he found me still half stunned. No blood. Win! I popped a couple Tylenol and went on with my night.
I blamed the persistent headache on too much sun. Then, on stress from the inlaws visiting. The, fatigue. Then, it hit me. I know these symptoms.
But, no. I was convinced I was a hypochondriac.
It was almost 24 hours later when I made the headache and dizziness and all around weird feeling worse by watching TV and I only really put the pieces together then. This, after, only narrowly changing my mind about going to the gym with the Child just hours before.
But, I mean, what does a concussion change? And how could it be a concussion? I hit my head like that all the time.
But it was. I woke up the next morning just as awful. The act of even walking down the hall and thinking about going to work made it worse. I called in sick. I called my doctor.
You know it is a big freaking deal when I actually call my doctor. I haven’t been to the doctor for a new health concern since the time Patrick made me go to emerg when I fell down the stairs on vacation.
I kept considering not going to the doctor. I tried to convince myself that I was a hypochondriac. I am pretty sure that is the epitomy of hypochondriasis.
The thing is, I know the treatment for concussions. I did two months of emerg. I watch hockey.
Rest. Mind numbing, boring total brain rest.
That includes no reading, no TV, no activity. Just lying on the couch trying to nap and trying not to think of all the ways you could gouge your eyes out.
So, on day one, I cheated. Patrick and I played a game . I tried to read a journal article for work. My head got worse. But, really, I was still in denial. And being a hypochondriac and telling myself I was a hypochondriac.
But then, I saw my doctor (well, the doctor on call at the clinic my doctor works at). She made me complete the SCAT2 form (aka a concussion score). I got a full neuro exam. My score was high but my exam was normal (minus some weird nystagmus my friend H pointed out to me in Med 2). Concussion.
I walked out with a note for an additional minimum 2 days off work and orders to make my husband empty the dishwasher now. And detailed instructions on doing nothing and gradual return to activity.
I remember giving patients the spiel about this. I felt for them. It sounded gosh awful. But getting the spiel when you feel that gosh awful already is even worse.
I have a new empathy for people on bed rest. I have an even bigger new empathy for people who are on concussion brand rest.
Patrick is a saint for not killing me. I think he could be a rich man for the number of times I exclaimed “I’m bored.”
That being said, he found some bright sides. He was less bored because he had company around the house. And he and several others pointed out that maybe this is God’s way of making sure I get the rest I need.
On day 3 of being home, I got to go to the grocery store and read a few pages of a book. I got dizzy. But it was good.
I finally went back to work that Friday. I was never so strangely pumped to get back to work. Even if I knew I couldn’t take a full patient load or stay the full day.
We went away for the weekend. I still couldn’t drive, or run, or read for prolonged periods. But, I got to see great friends. And yes, I definitely did too much (like decide I felt great all day and hopped on a roller coaster… Fact… That is an AWFUL idea.). But, I felt human again. I could concentrate.
I am back to work like normal people. I can do homework like normal people. I can drive again. And I went to the gym for a half workout and felt good. The only two things that have made my head hurt so far this week were intense grilling on rounds and trying to run the seven flights of stairs to the floor I work on. Both don’t make a person feel great at the best of times.
So yes, I survived a concussion. I was not the picture of the perfect patient. But I learned some valuable lessons. And I think I value my health a bit more. I have never missed 3 consecutive days of work for anything but vacation. I have never not cooked a meal for Patrick and I for almost a week.
Plus (brace yourselves for a follow-up post), I discovered how awesome audiobooks and podcasts truly are!
I am so behind in reading for work and working on my research it isn’t even funny (and yet, here I am blogging). But, feeling healthy again is worth it all!
Have you ever had a concussion? What about mind-numbing bedrest? I would love to hear about your misery since you had to read about mine.