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GUEST COLUMN: What you won't know about concussions unless you had one

Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Lucy Hazelwood
December 13, 2017 - 12:57 PM

 


OPINION


Concussions are weird.

You look "healthy," you want to feel healthy but then there's these roadblocks that come from nowhere.

I was just like you, I didn't really understand what a concussion was let alone what it meant to have one. I literally told my students "don't worry, I'll just be irritable for a couple of days and then I'll be fine".

Except it's now four months later and I'm not fine. I mean I'm doing ok, better than I was but I'm not "me" yet.

The hardest part of my journey has been stepping back from everything that I love and am passionate about. Not that things can define us, but dancing, performing, public speaking, being busy... these were all things that people associated with me and I loved every moment of it.

Only now... I can't.

That ugly word: Can't.

I'm trying, don't get me wrong. I want to be better, to be full of beans and endless energy but it's just not there yet.

I feel the number one issue with saying you have a concussion is that it doesn't account for the severity of the injury. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that affects your brain function. 

It affects us all so very differently and something I learned is that the magnitude of the impact doesn't necessarily correlate to the magnitude of the symptoms suffered.

Like any injury, there are variables of severity and symptoms. Although the impact that caused my injury didn't seem that big (yes it hurt a lot but I didn't think it was that bad) the extensiveness of my symptoms have been unfathomable.

It seems it's not always just about the impact of the hit to the head, but rather a combination of force and positioning. I managed to hit the "sweet spot" and because I had no idea what a concussion really entailed, continued to dance, work and perform full out 16 hours a day or more throughout my symptoms.

I had an excuse for everyone: I feel nausea because I must have eaten something that didn't agree. I have a headache, I must be dehydrated. I'm crying at loud noises and bright lights because my blood sugar level is crashing. I'm stumbling over words and can't figure out basic math because I have so much going on, my head is full, and on and on. I just kept pushing through because I had no idea what it meant to have a concussion.

My husband finally saw my symptoms first hand. We were at the bank and I couldn't make conversation with the teller, I simply repeated her words back to her. Those who know me know I'm a Chatty Cathy and pretty proud of my ability to make small talk. That, coupled with my panic at asking for fifty dollars in toonies and thinking that it wasn't possible because two doesn't go into five and he suggested I might be concussed.

Finally a reason for my odd behaviour and this surreal feeling of being underwater (not to mention the tears). I went to rehearsal and announced that I would probably just be a little grouchy for a couple of days but don't worry about it, it will pass.

It hasn't passed...

My recovery is still ongoing, I'm not healed yet, I'm not better but I'm not where I was and I have improved. This will take time but I am determined to stay positive and to get better sooner than later.

However, I also give myself permission to rest when I'm needed and to redefine my boundaries as to what I am capable of according to my symptoms on any given day.

That part I have struggled the most with but I'll get there.

As will you.

— Lucy Hazelwood is an entrepreneur originally from England with an extensive background in the performing arts and the woman behind Luki Dance. Her goal is to create a community of people who can be inspired and supportive of each other on this crazy journey we call life. For more about Lucy, visit her blog. 


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