I guess it has been just over thirteen years since my life changed. It was a cold, grey, and wintry morning in December 1996 when Sam and I were on our way to do some errands. As I was walking towards the car to put him in his car seat, I slipped on a patch of black ice on our concrete driveway and smashed the back of my head, hard. The next thing I knew, Sam was sitting on my lap crying, everything was very fuzzy, and my head and neck really, really hurt. This is how my mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) occurred. Natasha Richardson suffered an MTBI and her outcome was quite different than mine. I will take my post-concussed life, rather than the alternative.
Somehow I managed to get to the phone and call my dear friend and neighbor, Gisele. I think I was able to remember her number because I dialed it everyday. Frank her husband answered and said Gisele wasn't around. He later said I "didn't sound right" and the next thing I remember was being in the car with him driving to the hospital. Sam had finally calmed down in the car, but Frank said he couldn't walk very well. It turned out he had a sprained ankle. From what we can piece together, I must have held Sam so he wouldn't get hurt and took the brunt of the fall. I protected his head, but my "ample" hips landed on his ankle - hence his sprain. In retrospect it was a good thing, because we lived on a fairly busy road at that time, and if he were able to walk away from me... well the outcome could have been very different. It gets even more sketchy here, because when we arrived at the hospital, I wasn't sure who Frank was. He later told me I asked him if he was my husband!
At the hospital I have no recollection of being examined, changing into a hospital gown, or having my vitals taken. The next thing I do remembered was having a doctor ask me to touch my finger to my nose. My CT was negative. With those results in hand, but loads of head and neck pain, nausea and amnesia, plus Sam's sprained ankle, we were sent home. What was offered was rest for the next 48 hours and a referral to see a neurologist in two weeks.
The next few months is, to this day, pretty blurry to me. Gisele and my ex-husband Michael kept our household running. I was pretty much out of it from what I've been told. My head and neck hurt all the time, I was so very tired I slept most of the time Gisele said, and I had a hard time concentrating on basic daily tasks. Packing lunches, getting Sarah ready for school was too much to handle, so Michael made sure Sarah had everything she needed in the morning. In the afternoons, Gisele would be there to help get Sarah off the bus, tend to her homework, dinner and basic tasks that any mom should be able to do. Thank goodness for their help!! My poor kids, Sarah was in Kindergarten and I missed most of her year. Sam, well, he had lots of cranky issues at that time anyway, so we just added this one to the pile!! (But he is turning out just fine, thank you.)