Category Archives: Post Concussive

Where I’ve Been : Part 2

(Continued from Part 1 here.)

About ten days after the neurologist’s appointment, I had one more appointment to do in regards to my Post Concussive Syndrome.  I was to meet with a local TBI Clinic to do a assessment of my memory and executive functions.  Right after the incident in May  I gave them a call and we coordinated an appointment to follow the visit to the neurologist.

My appointment was the entire morning and it was, in essence, a stress test for my brain.  During it I had dizzy spells, some confusion and I fogged out at least once but I kept going.  I knew that the only way to know my limitations was to push them.  After the testing, we had a sit down chat regarding the levels of my different types of memory they had found from the test.  Key issues were pinpointed as well as strengths.  One of the positives that came out of the appointment was learning my executive functions were really not that bad.  This was a huge relief to me because I had been feeling for years that they were degrading.

However, the results were showing my executive functions were good but they were being drained by two other issues that had been spotted.  There was proof positive that yes, the PCS was real and it was definitely effecting my day to day life.  All in all, it was an exhausting and informative appointment.  The plus side being I start with them in September on therapy regarding those issues.  The plan will be to take the strengths to help shore up the minuses.  The down side?  I was so wiped out I couldn’t make it back into work, went home and fell over for several hours.  The rest of the day was out of the question.  A small price to pay, really, for knowing more about my issues.

The next day I found I was carrying around the results of that test in my head.  The weight of the findings, plus the neurologist appointment, were all adding up and I went through the next few days with that extra weight.  (Let’s not forget, I was still trying to quit caffeine as well!)  And this is where, I know, I should have been writing!  It’s how I process things.  However, somewhere I just wasn’t ready to start writing.

Last weekend, as I was finally coming out of the fog of caffeine withdrawal, I started having ideas again.  I started thinking about the blog, some new ideas with exercise, nature and  about how I could help present TBI and PCS issues, other ideas.  Unfortunately, nothing seemed to solidify and I went on about my weekend dealing with weekend-like things.

Then, on Monday, Fate intervened.  My phone pinged and I thought, “Oh, an email.”  It was not an email.  It was good news.  It was WordPress letting me know that this blog had received it’s 200th Like.  A funny thing happened when I looked at the notification.  The ideas which had been swimming around in my brain solidified and I knew what I wanted to do.

And, here we are.  We’re all caught up.

Hopefully, more to come as the year goes along.

 

rainbow2016

 

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Where I’ve Been : Part 1

I made a mistake.

I should have been writing about my last few months.  It’s only now, coming out on the other side that I realize this mistake.  I guess that’s how mistakes work, right?  Maybe that’s just called wisdom?

Shortly after putting out my RPG ruleset in the last post, I had a flare up concerning my Post Concussive Syndrome.  The key point being it did not involve any kind of physical impact.  Instead, it involved a nasty combination of lack of sleep, stress and a cognition exercise.  One minute I was taking a cognition test to help out a graduate student in my department and the next I’m headed home with a massive migraine and concussion symptoms.  Once home, I slept for ten hours and felt marginally better afterwards.  It took days to really come all the way out of it.

post-concussion-300x300Needless to say, there was concern and so after consulting my doctor I was referred to a neurologist for the first time in over 12 years.  The referral took a long time and in that time there was a lot of other stressors, a battle with depression and, it so happened, a lot of other medical visits.  (I’d not had a primary care physician in a LONG time.)  With those weeks and months behind me, I can say I know exactly where my personal health stands (and then some!)  On top of that there was the constant barrage of work and family and this constant concern and stress that cognitively, I was getting worse.

Why I didn’t set myself down to write about this as I was going through it, I have no idea.  Maybe I was worried I would sound too whiny?   It could have also been the depression.  The sense that no one really cares anyway so why right about it?  (More on this in future posts, I hope.)  I’m not really sure why.  I just didn’t “feel” it and I didn’t feel like forcing myself.  Looking back, I realize I should have forced myself.  Remember, it’s only called wisdom if you learn from your mistakes!

The neurologist visit came along in early July.  It was actually a pretty simple visit.  No imaging needed.  After hearing my story and my history my doctor looked at me for a quiet second and said, “Alright, we’re going to have a long talk about this.”

“First of all, you have Post Concussive Syndrome.  It’s chronic.  It’s not going away and it’s not going to get better.  The problem is you know all of this but you’re not taking steps to take care of it.”  He assured me that my event in May was normal for an individual with PCS, mainly due to the lack of sleep prior to the event.  He asked if I thought I had migraines.  I played it off, he called me on it and I had to admit, “Yeah, I guess I’m having migraines.”

We talked about depression, anxiety, feeling exhausted at the end of the day, concern over waning executive  functions.  In the end, he made me feel better.  He also helped me get focused on the fact that I need to, immediately, begin taking care of it.  I have to simply face the fact and the truth that I have this issue.  It was likened to someone having a chronically sprained ankle and saying, “Oh, I can keep running.  It’s fine…” We talked strategies and I walked out of the office in a turbulent mix of “Whew, not as bad as I thought,” and “Crap, I really DO have a disability.”

This took me weeks to process.  One of the first things he recommended was quitting caffeine.  More on this later but I did it.  Make no mistake, it was hell.  However, last Friday was the first time in over 25 years I had awoken, felt good and didn’t have a craving for coffee.  I’ve also been following the holy triad of PCS; sleep, hydration and moderate exercise.  It’s taken weeks but I’m actually starting to notice a significant difference.

With all of this has been a slow and steady building of the desire to write again.  But it wasn’t quite time yet.  I kept thinking it was time but my digital trashcan was being continually filled up with rough drafts and half-baked ideas.  It was close but not yet.

There were a few more things I had to do first.

(To be continued)