I Can’t Remember: The Chronicles of the Concussed

It’s been a week and a day since I got my concussion after flying off of an ATV. I’ve actually been itching to write about it, not necessarily to gush about the details, but to just work through my own emotions and hopefully resonate with someone else who has had a similar experience. Only problem is, I haven’t been allowed to look at computer screens for the past week. Or watch movies. Or read. Or do anything really that makes me use my brain at all. Doc’s orders. But now I am free to type away–as long as I can, anyway.

Can I just say that it’s been so incredibly frustrating? Not only has it been frustrating, not being able to use my brain that is, but it has also been completely embarrassing. I’m three weeks away from my wedding (and four away from moving to JAPAN for goodness’ sake!) and now is the time to get all those pesky details cemented into place, yet I haven’t been able to concentrate for more than a few minutes each day. Even now, I’m having some trouble concentrating on writing out my experiences with this stupid concussion. *takes quick ten minute nap to recharge*

Let’s just say, my concussion and I are not friends. 

Beyond the physical discomfort of the whole ordeal (an incredibly bruised-up-banged-up body with plenty of road rash to share), the hardest part for me the past week has been with my memory. I pretty much remember nothing from Friday, the day of the accident, and the whole of last week is majorly fuzzy, with only the details that my family has reminded me of (such as our trip to the zoo and the aquarium) being the only events I can recall with ease. I find myself saying, “I can’t remember,” way too often, and it’s not a feeling I particularly enjoy–at all.

It has been so incredibly difficult living with injuries that I have no recollection of obtaining. Part of me wishes that I could recall what exactly happened that day, to try and piece together why I flew off my quad and banged my head so hard that I repeated the same questions to my family and over again for five hours because my brain couldn’t retain the information for more than a few seconds. The other part of me is extremely grateful that I don’t remember anything because it would have been terrifying, flying through the air and feeling my body connect with the ground, my skin being rubbed clean off my body as I dragged from the momentum, and my head smacking against the rocks (thankfully inside of a helmet, or I’d be a goner). The first three days were hell. I could barely move without feeling the extent of my injuries, not to mention, there was basically nothing I could do except sleep to keep my mind off of the pain since I wasn’t allowed to watch movies or write or even read. Even sleep caused me so much pain. I couldn’t change positions without feeling the burning road rash on my lower back screaming at me to stop squirming! It’s amazing that I don’t have any broken bones, to be honest. But the physical pain I have endured the past week is nothing compared to the pain of not being able to recall my memories.

I was amazed at just how much was still foggy the first two days after the accident.

Friday was a blur by any standard, naturally. I remember waking up in a hospital (and I don’t mean actually waking up, because I’d been awake the whole time, but I had no memory of the previous hours spent in the hospital or even going quading that day), my brand spanking new husband by my bedside and his mom beside him. (*Side note, I know I said I was getting married in three weeks, and I am, cause we’re having a family ceremony in three weeks, but we actually got married a couple weeks ago at the courthouse so we could get all our ducks in a row for leaving to Japan, marriage license papers and such. Can you say COMPLICATED? I know I can).

I apparently had been laying in the hospital bed for a few hours by the time I had gained any remembrance of waking up, and funnily enough, all I remember at the time was saying that my foot hurt (a part of me which wasn’t actually injured at all), and asking what happened. The rest of what I said is pretty hazy for me, but Daniel and my mother in law were pretty amused and had made a list of all the questions I asked non-stop for the past few hours after the accident, including:

Where am I? (at the hospital, you were in a quading accident)

We went quading? (yes, and you tried pulling an Evil Kenevil)

Oh. Thank you guys for taking care of me. (you’re so welcome)

Are we married? (yes, we’re married)

*whispers loudly* Do they know? (yes, they know– “they” being our parents)

What day is it? (March 31st)

Where do you work? (I don’t work right now, we’re going to Japan)

*freaks out and starts crying* We’re going to Japan?! And you don’t have a job???

*stops crying* Where am I?

And so on and so forth. Again, I’m thankful I don’t remember much. But Daniel remembers it all, and although we joke about it now, I know that day was so emotionally exhausting and scary for him. If the situation had been flipped, I would have been freaking out constantly, especially since the doctor apparently didn’t tell him much information at all until they were about to release me. Not only was I asking the same questions over and over again, but it appears that while I was at the hospital, my memory was kind of set all the way back to around October/November of 2016 because I thought Obama was still president and that I had just started working as a nanny. Like I said, if the roles had been flipped, I would have totally freaked out–more than a few times. But he took the whole thing like a champ and stayed so strong for me (not that I would have remembered if he’d freaked out, but he was my steady rock, keeping such a strong face for me so that I wouldn’t freak out).

Saturday I woke up and felt a whole lot better as far as memory goes, but I still couldn’t recall much of what had happened that week. After talking with the family about going to the zoo and the aquarium (and they showed me a few pictures, even though I shouldn’t have been looking at screens…but hey, if you were desperate to remember a whole missing week, you would have done the same thing), I remembered a few details, mostly about the aquarium, where I got to see jellies and pet manta rays and sharks, which I had loved. But the finite details I just can’t recall, which is so sad because that week was suppose to be the fun week of spending time with Daniel’s side of the family and I can’t even remember most of it.

Thankfully, as the week progressed, I only showed minor signs of lingering memory problems, but those little signs had so much more of an impact on me than I could have ever imagined.

Aside from having to have things explained to me like three or four times before I fully understood them, one of the most traumatizing realizations about my memory was when I was talking to Daniel a couple days ago about our courthouse wedding, and he softly asked me if I remembered that day. I enthusiastically nodded my head yes and started to tell him about the day, but I could only recall the actual event of standing in the room, saying our vows. Everything else was fuzzy until he described it to me, and at one point, I got excited because I remembered having breakfast at Denny’s before we went in to say our vows, but then I watched as Daniel’s face fell into sorrow and he shook his head as he said, “No, we didn’t have breakfast at Denny’s, we went to Farmer Boy’s.” I automatically argued back at him, because typically, I remember things better than he does, and I was so sure that we had eaten at Denny’s until he told me that we had eaten at Denny’s the day we took our trip to LA (probably two months prior to us getting hitched at the courthouse). When I realized that I couldn’t even remember where we had eaten breakfast the day we “legally” got married, I burst into tears.

How could I have forgotten such an important day? Such a life-changing event that you’re suppose to hold onto for the rest of your life?

In that moment, I hated my condition more than I had the previous days. My concussion hadn’t just stolen insignificant details from my memories, it had stolen something precious and sacred, and I hated it for having stolen something so dear. I hated it with a burning passion and the full force of my emotions.

Now that it’s been a full week, I am much more recovered thankfully, but I still hate the embarrassing moments I have when someone says something to me that I’d normally understand the first time, but it just soars above my head–more than once, usually. I fight back bitter tears every time I realize that my body is so tired that if I don’t sleep, I will only get more sluggish and languid, unable to comprehend what’s going on around me. Unable to recall the simplest of memories. It’s exhausting.

I know that so far, this post has been mostly about the terrible experience I’ve had with this concussion, but I want it to be far more than that.  If you have suffered from a traumatic brain injury and lost parts of your memory, I would love to hear from you and let this be a page for support. Even if you haven’t had a brain injury, but have felt similar feelings about some sort of injury you’ve acquired, please feel free to leave a comment and I would love to talk with you and support you in your journey to recovery. I am beyond thankful to have such a support group who was there for me and taking care of me the whole time, and I know that not everyone has that.

As the weeks draw closer and closer to our departure for Japan, Daniel and I couldn’t be more excited to move into this next phase, and I apologize if writing is sparse for the next few weeks, but we will try to stay in touch as much as possible. Thank you all for your support and prayers, and once again, if you’ve struggled with something similar, I would love to hear your story! Share this post if it resonated with you, and thank you for taking the time to step into my world for a moment.

Much love,

Ryan 🙂

 

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