Head Games: My Post Concussion story (Part 1)
6 years ago I ran into a wall.
Not figuratively. Quite literally... I ran into a wall.
My then 1 ½ year old was playing on the bed as we were packing up on the last day of our cottage vacation. He was just being typical 1 ½ year old when he started to fall off the bed.
My mama bear instincts kicked in fast and I stepped up onto the bed to save him in the knick of time. Yup, I caught the kid. The only problem was that I had also run into the slanted ceiling of the cottage at full force while doing so.
There was some bleeding and I felt a little off. But I didn’t realize that something was really wrong until a few days later. I was dizzy and I basically felt like I was underwater.
Everyone sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher and was standing way too close (or at least it felt that way) If my boys so much as ran up to me to give me a hug, it knocked me off my feet.
Something was very wrong.
So I did what you do which is go to the doc to get checked out. I spent 8 hours in the ER only to be told “yup you have a concussion. Now go home and rest.”
I was told there was no need for an MRI or scan of any type. This type of thing will just go away on its own. Just try to rest Mrs Holmes.
Ummmm I have a 3 ½ year old and a 1 ½ year old….I’ll see what I can do.
I took a whopping 2 weeks off of teaching fitness and Personal training clients thinking that would be all I needed. I remember being back at work thinking “I should not be doing this I should not be doing this” but ignoring my gut and doing it anyway.
Looking back on it now, I know I should have taken way more time off. But I was and still am a bit of a go getter. I value hard work and productivity...to a fault. Plus I was self employed so there was that...
If I could go back in time I would tell that tired mama to just go to bed and rest. Call a sitter. Ask for help. It will all be ok. But that is why hindsight is 20/20.
But little did I know that I’d get a chance to have a do over...more than once.
3 years Later...I got dizzy
Like really dizzy….
The best way to describe it is like someone put me on a tire swing, spun me around and then told me to go “do life”.
I started to notice some of the same symptoms I’d had post concussion had returned. My depth perception was way off. Everyone started to sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher again. And I was massively sensitive to light and sound. I wore hoodies and hats and watched TV through a tiny hole of a blanket if I watched at all.
Only thing was...nothing had happened to me. There was no injury or hit to the head. I just magically woke up one day and everything felt sideways.
My family doctor diagnosed me with vertigo. I was given a prescription to calm down my central nervous system but was told there wasn’t a whole lot else they could do for me.
I didn’t fill the prescription at first. I was convinced I could handle this with some natural remedy. One week later, I filled that prescription.
A light at the end of the tunnel
I was lamenting about my ailments to a co-worker one day (yup I was still working) He had told me about some magical physiotherapist who had healed his wife’s vertigo in a single treatment.
So obviously I got the number and headed to my first appointment asap.
The physiotherapist ran all sorts of tests. I had to look at a lot of pens close to my face, then far away. Then to the right and the left.. Rate my dizziness on a scale of 1-10 while she moved me around in different positions. It was actually quite a fascinating process to say the least.
An injury to my vestibular system that stemmed from a viral infection.
The treatment was vestibular physiotherapy. It involved me looking at an X on the wall and turning my head side to side to the beat of a metronome. First side to side, then up and down. Then on one foot, then with one eye closed.
The exercises got progressively harder as my treatment went on, but I never really seemed to get better.
After 6 months of dizziness and frustration and using up all my benefits... I gave up.
Not long after I got my eyes checked and scored a sweet new pair of glasses. Within a month or so, my symptoms started to subside.
I’m still not sure if they just went away on their own or if the glasses made all the difference. Either way...I didn’t care. I was just happy to be free from the dizziness after a really crappy run.
Things were on the up and up for a few years. And then we went to Disney...
One more time with feeling
As I write this today, I'm working through a now 3 month bout of dizziness and Concussion type symptoms after a ride at Disney World. Not blaming Disney...the ride was awesome but man my head did not love it as much as my kids did.
I'm working through Physiotherapy, Accupuncture and reducing my screen time and giving myself a whole lot of compassion.
I'll cover more of these details in Part 2 coming soon.
But until then...
If you know someone who is dealing with a Concussion, TBI or vertigo, please share.
Not to be overly dramatic but it's an incredibly frustrating injury to have. You can’t see dizzy. You can’t tell from looking at someone if they’re head is splitting in two or if the room around them is spinning.
Which makes it so much harder to recover from. It’s a silent injury.
It’s my hope that someone going through the same thing today would receive far more information about concussion recovery than I did. Not playing a blame game here. It is what it is. We have more info now than we did 6 years ago. We just need to share it.
This is the reason I chose to write this today. I had no idea what I was in for 6 years and I was given little to no resources. I share today because it’s my hope that I can shed some light on a very misunderstood injury and perhaps help them down a quicker road to recovery.
Guys... I am NOT a medical professional. The content of this blog is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice under any circumstances. This is simply an account of my personal experience dealing with all things concussion. Please go see your doctor first...got it?! Ok cool!
Kim Holmes is an Online Fitness Coach and Founder of My Fit Coach. She helps busy working Moms care for their bodies (and minds) through Online Fitness, Nutrition and Mindset Coaching. As a Mom of two young sons, Kim understands that you don’t have hours to spend at the gym or meal prepping. Her “Real Life” coaching approach helps Moms achieve amazing results without adding a ton onto their already full plates.