The Essence of Lace: My Concussion

We’ve all heard of someone getting a concussion. Typically, it’s just an unfortunate event that doesn’t take terribly long to recover from. However, this isn’t always the case. I didn’t know how life changing a concussion could be until I experienced it myself at the end of August 2016.

I randomly fainted one day. Knocked unconscious for about 10-15 seconds; it felt like several minutes when I came to. I had no idea what had happened. I went to urgent care where I was told that I had experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or a concussion. I returned a couple days later to check up on the injury. When I realized I couldn’t really read the forms I had to sign, I knew this wasn’t going to be a quick recovery.

After being essentially bed ridden for 3 weeks, I slowly started to introduce myself to the world again. I would go on very short walks at night, in order to be kind to my light sensitivity. I could walk about halfway around the smaller loop of the neighborhood before feeling dizzy and completely drained. Now, I can do several laps around the larger loop with ease and confidence.

Time alone can’t heal a concussion. Your brain and body has to heal and sometimes, re-learn how to act like it used to. For instance, I had never experienced with car sickness while riding in the car. After my concussion, I couldn’t open my eyes while riding in a car without feeling sick and like my head was going to explode. And focusing on anything, much less performing research online or browsing the Internet, was practically impossible. So, I started physical therapy as soon as I was able. Physical therapy has helped me with my balance and relieving that lingering sensation of constant pressure in my head.

Starting in December 2106, I was able to drive to and from work (20mins) a couple of days a week. Half-way through January 2017, I was worked my way up to driving to work daily and running short errands like shopping at the grocery store around the corner. Now, I can even drive at night and run errands to places a little further away (and even more than one errand in a day if I’m feeling adventurous). I can focus enough to read picture books and graphic novels (looking forward to being able to read a novel soon), as well as research online and browse the Internet comfortably. I can sit through and enjoy watching movies and binge watch some of my favorite TV shows. Physical therapy and rest have been essential to my healing.

My experience has shown me some things that I didn’t expect about having a concussion (aside form the ambiguous healing time frame), like feeling alienated or anti-social. I have had trouble connecting to people in the same way, including friends and family. Some days I wonder if I will ever feel “normal” again. I still have a bit of a way to go in my healing process, but I become more and more confident as each month passes. I think of that first month and how I convinced myself that I would never heal and see how far I’ve come- and it feels great!

Concussions are a serious matter regardless of the severity. Whether you find yourself in a clumsy moment, a freak accident, faint for unknown reasons, or attain a major sports injury– always go to a medical facility. Concussions can happen at any age and require proper care and attention.

I am lucky to have met an amazing concussion specialist and physical therapist who genuinely care about my well being. In addition, I’m lucky to have the support of my loved ones as this journey has been one of the most difficult things I have ever experienced. This was a very random and unexpected occurrence. I am thankful every single day that this injury wasn’t any worse. I am thankful to be here to share my experience with all of you.

Laci Radford is a Children’s Instructor & Research Specialist at Miller Branch. She is a music lover, writer, and an avid reader. She enjoys attending concerts, plays, and other forms of live entertainment. Her favorite activities include scoping out unique items at thrift stores, bonfires with friends, and having tie-dye parties. She is studying Psychology and plans to become a music and art therapist sooner rather than later.