My Etsy shop has been in “vacation” mode as I heal from a head injury that started pretty simply. I smacked the back of my head, hard, on the underside of a truck, and saw black. I didn’t pass out, and definitely wasn’t hurt enough to prevent me from cursing until I caused myself to blush. The goose-egg grew, and the pain from the hit didn’t subside. The intensity eventually dulled a bit, but that throbbing with intermittent stabbing sharp pain continued. I finally saw my doctor two days later because Things Were Not Right. He did a quick follow-my-finger, look-over-here, squeeze-my-hands. I bombed those tests, and the next few ones too. I don’t remember much about that week, but I do remember my doc’s diagnosis: Concussion.
I’d thought that concussion was a serious injury caused by sports injuries. Could a whack on the back of my head really be that bad? I was right that it was a serious injury, but wrong that it is only caused by larger scale accidents.
A week after diagnosis, while getting up from a CT head scan, the world started falling and swirling in every direction. When the world stopped moving, I went back home, and I slept. Contrary to most old wives’ tales, concussion patients need sleep so that the brain can heal, and the accompanying exhaustion was something that I’d never known before. I would sleep for 14 hours, get up for breakfast, then go back down for a 3 hour nap. One morning, as I turned to get out of bed, the world shifted violently, spinning horizontally and vertically at the same time. My husband took me to urgent care and the doc diagnosed me with Benign Positional Paroxysmal Vertigo (BPPV). Calcium deposits in my inner ear had been knocked loose by the head impact, and the deposits had become free floating debris in my inner ear, confusing my brain by sending contradictory messages: while my body joints and eyes claim that I’m laying down, my inner ear is reporting that I’m spinning as the little bits of sand spiral about, so my brain ensured that I experience both. It’s a terrifying experience, yet very treatable with the Epley maneuver.
So that’s what I’ve been doing since April 2014. I was accepted into the brain injury program, and I’ve been working with occupational therapists, physiotherapists, recreation therapists, productivity specialists, and a psychologist to help me process and heal. The BPPV is gone. I’m “on track”. There is no magic pill or magic exercise, but I’m working my way back to normal. It’s taking so much longer than I expected, longer than I thought, longer than I want.
The worst part about concussion has been the absolutely denial that I’ve experienced. “I’m fine! I just need to sleep more for a few days!” I told everyone, and then “I’d better find something useful to do since I can’t read, write, knit, be on the computer, or do really anything that I normally do!”, without actually acknowledging the restrictions, the limitations that were overwhelming my life.
I’m now through the denial and into the serious planning and pacing to get back to my normal. I’m starting the work needed to re-open my Etsy shop in the spring as I slowly create inventory, and hoping to be ready to take custom orders as well however I need to take it slow to start. I’ve started back to my day job, which I greatly missed, for a few hours every other day. My goal setting is becoming more reasonable although still a tad optimistic.
So that, in a nutshell, is my latest (and current) adventure. Thanks for your patience if you’re a family member, friend, or customer, and I’ll be posting photos as I work on getting the studio back on track.