Dealing with Concussion

Concussion - a temporary injury to the brain caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head.

NHS

Dealing with Concussion - A Pretty Place to Play, London running and fitness blog

Disclaimer, I wrote this while recovering. There are probably grammatical errors. #keepingitreal.

It’s funny how one trip can affect you. On Monday I was out walking the dog and took a tumble. Actually it wasn’t really a tumble, it was more like I went from vertical to horizontal in one swoop landing squarely on my chin. Adrenaline kicked in and when kind passersby asked if I was ok I assured them I was, and that the dog and I would be fine walking the 5 miles (!) home. It was only after the people dispersed and Hugo and I were gearing up to carry on our walk that I realised that all was not well. Luckily I was just around the corner from Mike’s office and was able to call him to come rescue us. As I took up residence on the couch in his office, drinking tea and holding ice to my sore chin (thank goodness for Christmas party season!) it was pretty clear things were getting worse. I was struggling to put sentences together. I was vague (more vague than normal). My head hurt. I was dizzy and felt sick. Concussion is always a topic of conversation in sport, trying to prevent it, trying to manage it, so I’ve learnt what it looks like. I knew I had a concussion.

Of course, me being me I didn’t go to hospital. I left the dog with Mike and called an Uber home, where I sat in a dark room and tried not to fall asleep, drifting between wooziness and acute awareness of how much my head hurt. I wasn’t so out of it I couldn’t check on the guidance for handling a concussion - it wasn’t like I was in a position to remember it off the top of my head - and was reminded not to take anything that could thin my blood. I was also reminded I needed to check where I should be concerned about taking my meds. Which led me to call 111, who told me to get myself to hospital. Probably something I should’ve done from the off, but at least I made it there eventually. A night in A & E and a doctor confirmed a concussion and sent me home to rest.

Dealing with Concussion - A Pretty Place to Play, London running and fitness blog

Concussion is really weird. For the first few days I felt so sick, dizzy and tired. It might’ve been the night in hospital (it’s never fun spending a night under bright lights when you’ve had a bang on the head) or the concussion or both. The whole of Tuesday was spent in bed in a dark room. On Wednesday I ventured out. I still felt pretty terrible but staying indoors wasn’t going to help that. The tube made me feel sick, so did escalators, but being outside and wearing something that wasn’t PJs. The distraction of a work meeting helped, although I’m not sure how much I contributed! Day by day my head has become less cloudy and the headache has eased up gradually. Slowly my sentences have formed and I’ve been able to communicate more clearly, which is a relief because working in customer service and not being able to speak clearly or think on your feet are pretty major impediments to doing your job.

One of my biggest questions for the doctor was when could I train again. I’d already had a couple of weeks off because of my workload at uni and I didn’t really want to miss any more. What really surprised me was how enthusiastic she was about me getting moving again! Running and swimming (with supervision) were more than ok as long as I didn’t do anything stupid and stopped if my symptoms got worse. Weights were out because I couldn’t be trusted not to drop them on myself. Yoga wasn’t really discussed, but I figured a hot room probably wouldn’t help things.

Dealing with Concussion - A Pretty Place to Play, London running and fitness blog

Falling really rocks your body. Turns out I’m relatively ok at it, I avoided putting my arms out and didn’t do too much damage beyond my head, but I had the worst DOMS. Like I’d run a marathon. The mixture of everything tensing up with the shot of adrenaline you get after a fall had sent everything into a tail spin. A very achy tail spin. I needed to move, and thankfully one of the yoga teachers at work was happy for me to slip into the back of her class and do what I could. My balance was so off and my muscles so tight, but moving through a gentle flow got me, well, moving. And that felt good. It was the gentle introduction back to my body I needed to brave going on my first run. Run Namaste Eat are training me for The Speed Project and have been awesome at dealing with this curveball, switching up my training and making sure I’m not getting too carried away! 30 minutes easy was a tough challenge. My head hurt the whole way though and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a great idea to eat two cheese scones right beforehand, but it was still nice to get out, and it was an even nicer surprise to see my easy pace creeping up! Little wins!

By Saturday my head was feeling so much lighter. I could focus. Nothing hurt and the only angst I felt was about jumping in Brockwell Lido when it was 2 degrees out. But that’s another story for another time.

The doctor thinks it’ll take 4-6 weeks for me to fulling recover from this little blow. I am so glad I’m making progress and feeling more like myself, it is no fun feeling really out of odds.

*images: Anna Rachel Photography