There is a day, a moment, when summer really feels like ‘summer’. You’ve experienced that too, right? It’s the perfect temperature and you’re in the perfect place and all seems right with the world.
Well, this was that day. We were at the pool with friends, the kids were happily playing in the water and we moms were happily chatting and soaking up the sun. I was religiously applying sunscreen, staying hydrated, wearing my sun hat and going for the occasional dip in the water to cool off. But, it was hot. And getting hotter by the minute.
After a couple of hours, it was time for us to leave so that we could get ready for my son’s basketball game that evening. I loaded up all of our gear into my giant TJ Maxx reusable shopping bag (those are the BEST for the pool/beach/lake!) and we went into the lobby and up to the front desk so that I could pay to renew our membership. I bent all the way down to get my wallet out of my purse and stood straight back up and instantly knew something was wrong.
I managed to get my debit card out of my wallet and as I tried to hand it to the sweet gal behind the counter the room began to spin, the noises around me became dim and I had the thought that I probably needed to sit down.
That’s the last thing I remember.
The next thing I knew, I was waking up. I was pretty sure I was in my own bed and it was morning but I couldn’t understand why there were all of these people standing over me. As the voices became clearer and the fog surrounding my brain began to lift a bit, I realized that I was on the hard, slate tile floor of the lobby and, unfortunately, not at home in my nice soft bed. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see my daughter nervously standing a little bit away, clutching her towel and fighting back tears.
I don’t really remember much about those first few minutes but apparently this is how it all went and if anyone would every like to experience a re-enactment, my daughter will happily oblige as she has relished being the only one who can give people a blow-by-blow of the entire event.
- After falling straight back from a standing position, I landed on the floor and my head promptly smacked the tile. Supposedly I screamed/shouted as it happened but I have no memory of that.
- A whole bunch of really nice people ran over to help.
- An ambulance was called.
- My daughter ran out to tell our friends what had happened and, thankfully, one of them is a nurse.
- I opened my eyes, took a look at everyone around me and said in a very cheerful voice, “Hi!”
- After they explained what had happened, they asked me if they could call my husband and I was able to rattle off his phone number which was a good sign that my brain was functioning.
- I looked up again and said, “Oh I’m so embarrassed.”
- I put my hand on the back of my head and when I pulled it away it was covered in blood.
- I told everyone I couldn’t go in an ambulance to the hospital because I was supposed to work the concession stand at my son’s basketball game.
- I repeatedly asked my terrified daughter if she was ok and tried to reassure her that everything was going to be fine.
- I tried to sit up to prove to everyone that I was just fine and when the room began spinning again I realized I was not going to be walking out of there on my own.
- My friend (who is a nurse) came rushing in and began checking me over and I turned to her and said, “I can’t believe this happened while I’m wearing a bathing suit and coverup. Well, at least I shaved!”
- The paramedics arrived with my husband right behind and after they asked me a bunch of questions, I was loaded onto the stretcher and wheeled out of the facility and into the ambulance.
- I told the paramedics, “This is my first ride in one of these!”
After arriving at the emergency room, I was wheeled in and parked in a hallway where I remained for the entire 3 hours that we were at the hospital. The only time I was moved into a ‘room’ (it was more like a glorified storage closet) was when they had to do an EEG and I flat out refused to have them stick the things on my chest out in the open because it would have involved pulling down my bathing suit right there in front of everyone. I was determined to hold onto any last shred of dignity I could muster up in that moment.
I was moved back into the hallway for all of the remaining tests which eventually revealed that my blood pressure, sugar levels and hydration levels were all normal. Apparently the combination of overheating and then bending down to get my wallet and standing straight up again is what caused me to pass out.
While my levels might have all been normal, what wasn’t normal was the almost 1 inch gash in the back of my head which required six (SIX) staples. Yep.
I felt a little bit like a DIY project as I heard the staples going in and was very grateful that they had numbed the area, even though it hurt like the dickens when they used the numbing needle.
After what seemed like forever, I was put through a battery of ‘tests’ prior to being released to make sure I wasn’t going to pass out again and gratefully leaned on my husband as he led us out of the hospital. They warned me about the side effects I might experience and I asked them if I had a concussion to which they replied, “No.”
In the days that followed, I experienced severe dizziness. There were times at night when it felt like our bedroom had been picked up by a tornado and I was so sure that I was falling out of our bed that I would be grasping for my husband. I had to have help getting up and down our stairs and just the slightest turn of my head would result in the room beginning to spin. When I would wake up in the morning, I would have to sit very still on the edge of the bed before I could attempt to stand up. It was all very scary and frustrating.
After a week had passed, I went to see my personal physician to have the staples removed and she was none too happy to hear that they ER staff had informed me that I didn’t have a concussion because I, in fact, had a level 2 concussion with whiplash thrown in for good measure. This explained SO much and even though I was fairly angry with the hospital for not properly diagnosing me, I was relieved to have some answers and help. It was about as fun having the staples removed as it was having them put in but I was just grateful to get those stupid things out of my head.
Weeks later, I still experience a little bit of dizziness here and there but every day is better. The injured area on the back of my head has been slower to fully heal and is still pretty tender but it too is getting better each day and I can finally run a brush through my hair without having to be super careful.
Throughout all of this ordeal, I’ve had many reminders of an overarching theme in my life. Namely, my desire to control all the things, all the time.
For example, as my husband was carefully escorting me into the house after arriving home from the hospital I pointed at the trash cans in the garage and said, “Don’t forget to put those out on the curb tonight.” Completely dizzy, barely can walk, blood caked on the back of head and I’m making sure we don’t miss trash day. Good grief. Controlling much?
It was very, very hard for me to be still. To not answer emails. To not write blog posts. Granted, it hurt my head to even look at a screen but my nature is to just push through the pain so that I can keep all of those balls in the air.
Taking the time to allow my body to properly heal has not been easy and yet it’s allowed me the opportunity to have reminders of just how loved and cared for I really am. To have my children express their worry and concern for me and rise to the occasion by being extra helpful. To hear my sweet husband a couple of weeks after the ‘incident’ finally, as he choked back tears, be able to tell me how scared he really was and how helpless he felt when he was following the ambulance knowing I was inside. To have parents and in-laws and friends offering to help and showing such care.
And I’ve just been so overwhelmed with gratefulness.
Gratefulness that it wasn’t any worse than it was.
Gratefulness that I fell backward instead of forward potentially avoiding damage to my face and knocked out teeth.
Gratefulness that at the exact moment I hit the floor my precious daughter was actually facing the other direction and didn’t have the added trauma of actually seeing me fall.
Gratefulness that if I was going to go to the emergency room in my bathing suit at least I had a coverup on and had shaved my legs.
I know I’ve been more quiet here this summer. I’ve been able to get a few things written here and there but mostly I’ve been just relishing time with family and friends and getting back to normal (whatever that is!). But you guys are my community and I felt like it was important to keep you in the loop and let you know what’s been going on behind the scenes here.
Thank you for being people with whom I can share my crazy life. My home, my kids, my faith and yes, even my first ride in an ambulance! 😉
Love to you all,