Today was exciting. My nephew was born. My parent’s first grandchild. My first nephew. You get the idea.
After dropping off mom to get her trigger point injections, Jacob and I called to see if we could come visit the baby. Tragedies of tragedies, it turned out (which we only discovered standing forlornly in the entryway) that Jacob couldn’t come inside the maternity ward. Because he was thirteen. An 18 year old adult with a cough could. But because it is flu and cold season, children were forbidden. Which pretty much led to a disappointing time. My brother, Scott (the new dad) was mad. I was about to burst into tears as I couldn’t imagine not seeing the baby, but how could I go in and leave Jacob out by himself.
Eventually, Scott went and talked to the nurses some more, and this was the special dispensation they made.
Scott could wheel the baby into the “closed during the flu season” patient lounge and Jacob and I could stand at the window and look into see the baby.
It was precious. And ridiculously sad at the same time. I felt like I was transported to the “dark ages” where babies could only be seen by lining up at the window in the hospital.
As Jacob and I trudged, somewhat despondently back to the car, I said, “That was crazy, it was like a tv show, or something. I can’t believe they wouldn’t let us in.” Jacob agreed and said “Yeah, just like The Middle.” And yup, he was right.
Well, I finally made it to an appointment with a naturapath. I’ve spent most of the last 3 months trying very hard not to self-diagnose myself to much with as many different dreaded auto-immune diseases as I can research, but it’s been hard. So, I’ve finally got myself to a doctor and we’re beginning the process of slowly testing stuff. First up, is the oh so dreaded food sensitivity test. Can’t wait to find out if I’ll never be able to eat okra again. Actually, I like okra, so bring it on.
I also spent time this evening reading more posts about SIBO, FODMAPS and SCD and, well, how many more shouting capitalized words can I come up with that look like they should be words but aren’t? I’m trying to make sense of the whole fermentable foods, resistant starch, colon vs ileum, fructose intolerance, etc. I feel like I find 5 more questions for every 1 answer. The good news is that I think I found confirmation that I’m not crazy and I probably don’t need to be following the whole FODMAPS diet. Which is actually really good, because if I had to do that, then yes, I think I would be officially Crazy with a capital C.
In other news, I managed to get a walk into day with a brother and mother. A triumph, my dear, a triumph.
Also, right now I’m watching To Catch A Smuggler on netflix. Whew, glad my career options never included being a drug mule. No sir!
Out to eat- I made it out to Portland to eat dinner with my friend Sharon even though I’ve been tired all day from the busy weekend. I did get a good nap in and that made it possible. We ate at Laughing planet which is very paleo friendly.
Took a walk – I got back into the habit of walking while staying in the suburbs and am hoping to keep it up again as I do seem to feel better if I do it consistently. I’m definitely looser in the evenings when I do yoga, so that’s motivation right there. Plus I think it helps get my energy flowing in the morning.
Church – Took the kids I was “babysitting” this weekend (the youngest is 10) to their church in the morning, which was basically the equivalent of going to a short rock concert, but without any strobing lights or mosh pits. We sat near the front (where they normally do) and yes, my earplugs came in quite handy! I also made it through a 30 minute sermon and stood up during all the songs.
Superbowl- Made it home in time to watch the kick off for the superbowl. I didn’t attempt to watch it on the large screen, but the small screen was fine. I didn’t collapse and fall asleep. And managed to sit up and hang out with friends until past 9 until my neck gave out and started hurting from the strain of holding up my head, which by that time was tired enough that it wanted to just “float” back.
Making it through all of Big Hero 6. I just closed my eyes during any intense scenes where the background was moving quickly. I also find that wearing earplugs is a necessity in movie theaters since they tend to be loud and heavy on the bass. The first time I saw a movie post concussion I solved it by sticking some tissue in my ears! Now I almost always have ear plugs with me, since I find random needs for them. However, if I’d had too, I think I could’ve gotten away without them during this movie as there wasn’t much music. But I did notice that when I took them out, I stopped relaxing. So in they went again!
Eye tracking skills in Monopoly – I’ve been playing Monopoly off and on today with Winston (age 10) and there’s one version of the game on the ipad where you have to play games as a result of landing on Community chest. They usually involve a lot of eye tracking and I was able to do it successfully both times. So, um yay? I would like to say it was crucial to winning, but it wasn’t. But still, I surprised myself!
October passed in a haze. Then November. At the Thanksgiving table the one thing I said I was thankful for was functional neurology. Then December happened. I started acupuncture. Which didn’t really help with the dizziness, but did help with my neck and back pain. Christmas. Progress was so, so slow. Then in January, I finally asked Dr Z (the functional neurologist) “if cost didn’t matter, what would you suggest I do?” And he said “An intensive”. And I said “Let’s do it.” So we found a week in February that would work, and I got put down to come in for 5 days in one week, 8 hours a day and they would work with me about 5 times each day.
Near the end of January, during an appointment with Dr Z, we decided to do a low sodium test to see if I could possibly have hydrops. For three days, I cut down to 1,000 mg of salt each day. By the end of the three days, my dizziness had decreased dramatically! It was such a great feeling. I then ended up getting a trial subscription of a diuretic from the nautrapath and was able to up my salt level to 1200-1500mg a day. I was told it could take up to a couple of weeks for my ear lymph fluid levels to go down and that it would need to finish “draining” before we could do an intensive. Since I started the medication just shy of two weeks before my intensive, we started praying! And my ear did drain. Well, somewhat. But enough that it was stable and I could start the intensive on time.
Over the next week, after several visits to the functional neurologist it became apparent that something was wrong. I laugh now as I think that, I think I naively hoped that after a few visits I would be back to my regular visits. But no, I was miserable. With dizziness. Vertigo. Land sickness. I never knew there could be so many varieties of dizziness. I’m pretty sure I explored them all. The only way I would feel stable is if I laid down flat on my bed and then propped my head up at a 90 degree angle for a while. Usually I would then feel stable enough to position my pillows in more of a reclining position that was more comfortable. I would spend my days alternating between slowly getting stuff done around the house (hardly anything), homeschooling my brother Jacob (13 yrs) and laying down. To make it worse, the reading capabilities I had slowly re-cultivated from my first concussion had gone backwards. I could read, but only for little increments. Which meant I had a lot of time for thinking, praying and every once in awhile, I would have energy to listen to an audiobook.
I also began visiting the functional neurologist two, if not three times a week.At first I would feel better for just an hour, then eventually I would feel better for two hours, then three… I lived for my appointments. They were a reminder of what was normal.
“Rabbit’s clever,” said Pooh thoughtfully.
“Yes,” said Piglet, “Rabbit’s clever.”
“And he has Brain.”
“Yes,” said Piglet, “Rabbit has Brain.”
There was a long silence.
“I suppose,” said Pooh, “that that’s why he never understands anything.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
My second concussions happened suddenly, as concussions are wont to do. At times, you may have a warning such as watching a ball come towards you and realizing you don’t have time to duck or perhaps you can see yourself falling, but in most cases they tend to sneak up on you. With the element of surprise in their favor. Often, for the average person, a concussion isn’t such a big deal, but when the combination of existing elements plus the force and direction are just right. They can be life changing, if not devastating.
This concussion happened on a Saturday afternoon. My family was having a Lord of the Rings marathon. And I had joined them in the fun. I sat down on the couch with another brother on it. I have noticed a tendency with long movies, at least in our family, is that no one ends up in the same position then when they started. At some point over the course of an hour at some point, my brother and I had both some how managed to semi-lie down on the couch and at an extremely inopportune moment, he chose to stretch out his leg. He popped it up and brought his knee toward him and WHAM it hit me in the side of the head, on my left ear. I still don’t think we can quite figure out how it happened and what exact positions we were in, but as odd as it is, it did. Now the other two factors that I haven’t mentioned yet but are important are the following: First, my brain still wasn’t fully recovered from a previous concussion 2 1/2 years ago. It was close, but not perfect. And, when you get one concussion on top of another, it’s bad. People die from it. Secondly, my brother is strong. Not just average teenager-ish strong. But really strong. He does gymnast/parkour/banquine as a hobby. In fact, he and two of my other brothers won the county and state fair last year for their performances.
So the combination of a brothers really strong knee-punch to the head and my already semi-fragile state was not a good combination. Let’s just say I burst into tears.