11 years into this parenting gig and somedays I feel like a legit pro. Then there’s times like this weekend when we dealt with our first concussion in one of our children and I was just lost.
Sprained ankles I can handle. Strep throat is just another lazy day at home. Throw up? I have a whole post on tips for what to do when your child is throwing up.
Scarlet Fever? Been there. Stitches in forehead? Done that.
The local ER? 5 minutes from my house. I have a huge supply of tiny bottles of sanitizer with their logo on them.
It’s all been worrisome at times but you learn how to deal with it and go on. By the time the youngest child comes up to you throwing up and with a high fever you go ahead and call the doctor to inform them you’re bringing in a child with strep throat.
But then something new entered our world this weekend and it’s been somewhat scary.
During a swim meet this weekend our 10 year old was racing in the 25 yard backstroke and went into the pool wall full force, hitting her head pretty hard. Just seconds prior to that we had been sitting in the stands, cheering her on as she took the lead for her heat and was dominating the pool.
It seemed like we were wrapping up the last swim meet on the season with a huge victory for her. And then we saw her getting close to the wall and not slowing or putting her hand back to touch the wall.
The next thing I knew Mr. Byrd was up and moving toward her while another swim mom helped her out of the pool. She was bawling and holding her head and my heart broke a little bit.
We knew she hit hard but we never thought for a moment that she would have a concussion. One of the officials got her a bag of ice for her head and I headed back to the area where we had been camping out for the day with her as Mr. Byrd watched our oldest child’s last swim, also the backstroke.
As I packed up our belongings, she sat in a chair with a bag of ice on her head, wrapped up in every blanket and towel we had with us. I didn’t question her being cold. She had a bag of ice on her head!
Then I noticed that she was just staring and her pupils were huge.
Mr. Byrd showed up and observed her kinda weird behavior. We talked in hushed tones about it, trying not to worry her or get the 20 questions game started by her sisters.
We loaded up the car and headed towards a restaurant to get some food. In the car she kept trying to fall asleep and each time we would talk to her and tell her that she had to stay away. This is our child who can and will sleep anywhere at anytime so the sleepiness wasn’t raising huge red flags but it did concern us.
The day went on and she continued to complain of a headache, which we expected, but the huge staring eyes and continued coldness worried us.
It didn’t matter if we were outside in the almost 100 degree heat or inside the house with the AC on 72, she was freezing and wore layers of jackets and blankets.
Later in the evening she seemed to perk up a little bit and shed some of the layers so we just wrote off the weird behavior to shock or adrenaline from the accident and sent her off to bed.
The next morning she complained of a headache but we thought that heading to church to see her friends might cheer her up. After her Sunday School class ended we caught up with her to check on her and it was obvious that she wasn’t better. Everything about her looked a little off and she was still cold with a bad headache.
So instead of going into the big service as a family, we headed home and her and I got in the car and headed to the ER.
One CAT scan later and she was diagnosed with a concussion. I’ve always heard that concussions are serious and can take awhile to heal but once the doctor said no sports for a month, I knew it was more than just serious. We had a talk before we left the ER about protecting her head and not letting it get bumped again.
Somehow the doctor forgot to tell us that the headaches would remain for a few more days.
Little by little worry has lingered this week. Everyday I wake up thinking that today is going to be the day when she’s no longer tired and her headache is gone but it’s been a very slow progression.
In fact, it’s kind of a shocking slow pace to me.
I know it’s your brain and that you only get one (some people if that much) but the healing time has been much longer than I first anticipated.
She’s getting frustrated with it and that is understandable.
She is healing, no worries, but it’s very slow.
The headaches are getting less and less and the coldness is slowly going away.
So what can you learn from this?
Better safe than sorry. I don’t feel bad about going to the ER when we did. They couldn’t do anything for her but they did refer us on to a sports medicine doctor to follow up with.
The symptoms might present themselves different. I googled concussion symptoms after she started acting strange and staring into space or coldness were not listed. The coldness even baffled the ER doctor as it’s not a normal symptom of a concussion but she really was freezing. When you’re freezing during a Texas heat wave, something is wrong.
Recovery is really slow. We are trying to find a healthy line between getting her back out of the house and not going to far too fast. Wednesday night we let her go to something at church and she came home with a really bad headache. It was too busy and our church has some pretty bright lights. It’s kind of a guessing game as to what activities they can handle.
Electronic devices are not your friend when you have a concussion. To our daughter, relaxing means she gets to lie around and play on her ipod. But the little screen with all the bright colors brought on a headache every single time.
Hydrate, rest and treat the headaches with Tylenol.
Hopefully you or your loved ones will never deal with a concussion but if you do, hopefully this post will help!