So this is what recovering from a brain injury is like.
Looking from the outside it’s sitting in the sun with a coffee, a good book and an amazing vista from the cliff top over to Rangitoto Island.
From the inside, it’s totally different.
Recovery has to start somewhere. For me, although I didn’t realise it at the time, it started the moment I sat up in the middle of the road looking at a smashed up bike and the car that had come through a giveaway, surrounded by traffic, noise and worried looking people.
Recovery at the time was about what has to happen next. Get the bike off the road, get third party details, has someone called an ambulance, the police. I’ll have to ring Ann, she’s getting dinner ready for a quick meal before I have to get to the next meeting.
You think everything is under control until it isn’t.
Seven hours in A&E where you are at the mercy of very qualified Doctors, Nurses and Orderlies.
Your time with them is not dictated by your schedule or even theirs, it’s a process that’s determined by the severity of the incidents that came through the same door as you. It was well-managed chaos.
Yet although this did not feel like recovery it was the initial part of the journey. Somehow the staff managed to x-ray my damaged hand, then chest and back, followed CT scans of my head, neck and back. They were happy with my blood pressure at 138/75, which is higher than normal for me, but after seeing my heart rate at 49 and confirming I had no pacemaker or wasn’t on beta blockers, a quick ECG was ordered.
So after all the boxes were ticked and I was handed a piece of paper about head injuries we were shown the exit.
Great, I’m almost there. A good nights sleep and I’ll be back into it.
In the morning I was sore all over with a headache that was different from the occasional migraines I have had. It was there and seemed to cloud everything I tried to do. I kept falling asleep. I couldn’t concentrate on one thought without something else coming to mind and not completing the original thought. I was not feeling despondent, just frustrated. Frustrated that I couldn’t just get on and do what I wanted to do even if I had a headache. In the past, a couple of Panadol, a bit of a sleep and I’d be right.
After another day of this, I rung the doctor and got an appointment for later in the day. Diagnosis, concussion. The Doctor gave me a very in-depth synopsis of what concussion was and what I would experience in the weeks ahead.
So the realisation that this journey is not like a domestic flight, over and done with before you have time to think about it. It is a long haul flight, where you have to think about how you will fill in the time until you arrive at your destination.
So sitting in the sunshine with a coffee, a book and the great vista is like the first in-flight meal, something to take your mind off how far you still have to go before you land at your destination.
And I didn’t even get into the Koru lounge before the boarding call.