As many of you know, I suffered my second concussion back on October 6th. It was over two months before my days started becoming more bearable and I began to feel “normal.” I took an additional month off from going to the gym, just to be certain.
In late January, I resumed light work outs, just 15-20 minutes on the elliptical. I managed only two work outs without a headache. I stopped, waited a few days to be headache free, resumed workouts. More headaches, ceased my trips to the gym once again. But this time was different. It wasn’t just the headache. Everything spun out of control after a low impact, 20 minute work out last Monday. It has been 12 days of feeling like I am at square one. The headaches and pressure at the base of my head are horrendous.
I left work last Monday morning and went home to sleep. Sleep never came. I laid in bed literally all day. For hours on end, willing myself to drift into slumber that would ease my pain but would never be realized. The pain was that intolerable. I tried Motrine and Aleve, but nothing made the headache and pressure dull. It only made me want to throw up.
After three straight days of headaches I called my PCP to make an appointment. Everything feels like that very first week when I got the concussion. I hate lights. Driving is disorienting. The pain is too much for me to concentrate on much of anything. I feel like I constantly just need to sleep but sleep is hard to come by. My doctor immediately said it’s time to see a neurologist. I have an appointment for next week.
In the mean time, a good friend suggested that I have my neck checked out, just in case. Most of my pain is concentrated at the base of my skull near my neck, so didn’t hurt to try. I called my chiropractor and got an appointment for this past Tuesday. Guess what I learned? No, not soft tissue damage. But I did suffer from some serious whiplash from the force when I hit my head and my neck was jacked and out of place in all different directions. This is going to cause pain and swelling on top of my other concussion symptoms.
My chiropractor did some adjustments, made some recommendations for home therapy and said I definitely still need to see the neurologist as my PCP said that at my age, a concussion can lead to a life time of migrane headaches. My second adjustment with the chiropractor will be tomorrow morning. All I want at this point is to feel normal.
For some people in the NHL and some fans, concussions aren’t a problem. They’re a joke. I can tell you first hand that this is no joke.
Last night a friend stayed on the phone with me and just listened to me cry and complain while I laid in bed icing my neck to ease some of the tension just so that I could sleep. What many people fail to understand is that it isn’t just headaches. It’s fatigue, disorientation, pain that shoots down through your neck and spine, discomfort, persistent nausea, anxiety, breathlessness, vertigo… it isn’t just one thing. And it hits you suddenly.
This afternoon I was sitting at my desk at work and felt fine. Suddenly I was in tears as a sharp pain surged through my head. It felt like someone attacked me with an ice pick out of nowhere. Yesterday, I was in the elevator at work and suddenly felt like everything was dropping out from under me.
It affects you, it affects your day. It affects your life and your quality of life. I’m pretty good at pushing through the pain and going about my day, but I can’t do this forever. It is wearing on me physically and emotionally.
The next time you are making fun of an athlete for sitting because he has a “headache” rethink your judgement. Living with post concussion syndrome doesn’t make you less of a person for sitting on the sidelines while you heal.