April 30, 2016

Concussion

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My bedroom walls were my view for a whole week while I recovered from a concussion. At least my walls have pretty things?

A few weeks ago, I was in a car accident. No blood, nothing broken, but I did have to relinquish my car for two weeks to get it fixed, and I had what turned out to be a concussion.

To be honest, post-car accident, my back was sore, and I was shaky, mostly from shock. When my car was hit, my head hit the driver's side window (it was just me in the car). My cell phone had been resting in a holster on the dash, and it went flying when I got hit. I'm ashamed to admit that my first thought after the impact was, "Nooooo! Not my phone!" Never mind my head or my CAR... (I am pleased to announce my phone survived!)

After we took care of the police report, paperwork, etc. (the other driver was incredibly kind!), I felt too shaken up to go home, so I took refuge at Steven, Miles, and Coby's house. Miles was the only one home, and he let me wash my face (I'd cried off most of my makeup anyway) and fed me ice cream to help me feel better while I dealt with my insurance on the phone. :( I briefly considered popping in to Instacare, but I figured I was probably fine. I mean, my back hurt, and I had a headache but NBD, right? (wrong.)

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After getting advice from my mom and a few others, I decided I should probably pop over to the Instacare the next morning, juuust in case. Instacare is just a few blocks from my house, so it didn't matter that my car was out of commission.

I was still hesitant the next morning, in spite of having woken up with a headache + back and neck pain. Honestly, I figured I just hadn't gotten enough sleep and the sleep I had gotten had occurred in a weird sleeping position. And it's normal to have a headache after crying, right? I was fine! I decided to play it by ear, and I worked from home that morning. Unfortunately... I had left my laptop charger at the office and didn't have a way to get it since my car was out of commission. My boss and co-workers had a walk-through scheduled at the Salt Palace that morning in preparation for our State Convention, and they were kind enough to drop off my laptop charger and a few other necessities from my office on their way to the walk-through. When they got here, my boss asked me to look her in the eyes. I was surprised to find out my eyes were dilated (a sign of concussion). She insisted I go to Instacare ASAP, as did my mother, so I went.

And it's a good thing I did! I was referred to the emergency room for a CT scan. I was, indeed, concussed, and they wanted to make sure it wasn't anything worse. My dear friend Camille had the day off and was kind enough to drive me to the IHC hospital in Murray. But first, we made a pitstop at Even Stevens for lunch! #priorities

Even Stevens pitstop

The scan turned out fine, and I was sent home with prescriptions for pain and nausea and told to rest my brain. By which they meant... DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. No TV, no movies, no Netflix, no computer, no Internet, no social media, no reading, no books. They even told me to limit my socializing!

I had zero experience and very little knowledge about concussions before this experience, but here is the first important lesson I learned:

If you experience any sort of sharp blow to the head, go to the doctor! I didn't realize I had a concussion, but I did. They say the symptoms are worse on Day 2, and oh man, were they right! The headache did NOT go away, and my nausea got worse. It was so bad, even texting or looking at my cell phone made me feel nauseated, so even texting was a dilemma. Camille helped me get my prescriptions, then she took me home, and I slept the rest of the evening.

The next day was THE WORST. The nausea was at its most intense, my headache hadn't gone away, even with Lortab, and I kept making cognitive errors. Things that, if they'd happened once, might have been funny. But when there were so many of them, it just became frustrating. I got so, so bored of just lying in my bed at one point, I decided to check my work email. (Bad.) We had a big court case on Monday, and I had planned to attend. But since I was going to be in bed for several days, per the doctor, I couldn't make it, and no one else could either! I sort of freaked out a bit, because I'd gotten an email giving me a heads up that a certain reporter would be present. Who would talk to the reporter if none of us was there?? At this point, the nausea and headache got really bad, so I figured I'd deal with the issue later.

I went back to bed and tried to listen to the Saturday morning session of conference. That seemed to make my headache worse, so I decided to just... sleep. When I woke up, I was still concerned about the reporter. I was also already bored of being in bed, and I needed to figure out some things with my car. So I texted my brother for help. I told him I was bored. I asked him if he would come over to my house. And I asked him to help me with my car. Only... I didn't text my brother. I had texted the reporter who would be at the trial on Monday! 😱  I think the signals just got crossed in my brain somehow. I also put away a kitchen appliance in the fridge at one point, I sent Uber to the wrong address to pick up my brother despite three phone calls to make sure he had it right, etc etc etc. I felt so frustrated! I was tired, and exerting brain power only made me feel worse. So I went back to bed again and slept. :(

That night, my dad and my brother Spencer came by to pick up Jason for the Priesthood Session of conference. They brought me these pretty flowers:

concussed

and my dad brought me pupusas and gave me a priesthood blessing. I was grateful and can honestly say I started to get better from the moment I got that blessing.

Spending the next week in bed was SO. freaking. hard! I don't do well being still, and I struggle to have quiet time in my life. I always feel like I should be doing something, but I learned some very important things:

  1. Because there was basically nothing else I could do, I had a lot of time to think and to reflect on my life. I came to the conclusion that I NEED to make space for quiet time, and I was grateful for this forced pause in my life that helped me remember that. (I had actually reinstated my 2014-15 DC goal of weekly temple attendance, and this experience only served to reconfirm how much I need that! I know it's kind of a crazy goal to set during an election year, but I'm committed to making it happen.
  2. The world did not fall apart because I wasn't at work. I get stressed about work so easily. When you work in politics, time is the most precious resource, and being bed-ridden felt like the worst thing that could happen to me. (At least it wasn't in the fall, right?) And sure, I got behind on some projects, and our social media was mostly dead that week, but the world survived, and so did I. I need to remember this moving forward, especially as I work on creating boundaries between my work life and my personal life.
  3. Disconnecting from technology is wonderful, and I should do it more often! I was forced to limit my screen time, and while it was INSANELY hard (it's really embarrassing to admit that... I actually still checked Snapchat every day while I was concussed. 🙈), it was lovely to actually have time with my thoughts. I've realized technology is my BIGGEST distraction, whether it's the temptation to look at non-work social media or blogs at work, or wasting time looking at Snapchat stories or watching something on Hulu or Netflix at night. Think of how much more productive I would be and how much sooner I could reach my goals if I didn't waste so much time on technology!
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I spent a loooot of time staring out my bedroom window. At least the view was pretty. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

So even though being concussed was very much a less than ideal scenario, I'm grateful A- that the accident wasn't worse for either the other driver or me, and B- that I was forced to have the quiet time I needed to learn some basic ways to make my life better.

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