So I don’t want to lament on this too much and hopefully this blog post will be the only woe ist me moment. I am just going to quickly document my symptoms following the accident so you have an idea of what I have struggled with, and what I focussed on for rehabilitation and recovery.
I was knocked down by a cyclist whilst crossing the road outside Kings College, London and smashed open my skull. I woke up in hospital some hours later having no memory of the accident and stayed on a neuro injuries ward for a week. I shattered my skull at the back, which damaged my occipital lobe. This is the area that deals primarily with vision. I had double vision, amongst other shitty visual disturbances for a good 10-15 weeks which made it hard to read, watch tv, or walk anywhere. I struggled with balance and spacial awareness and I had to wear a sexy prism in my glasses ala Hilary Clinton if I wanted to leave the house.
From the impact I also had frontal lobe damage, with bleeding and swelling in this area. The frontal lobe is responsible for sorting out your emotions, your ability to plan, concentrate and do short term memory tasks. It deals with your ‘executive functions’, and your ability to communicate. Damage to this area can seriously change your personality, increase your risk taking and can make you quite difficult to get along with.
It also manages your dopamine – dopamine disturbance = depression.
From my experience of frontal lobe damage, I can say that initially I was very irritable, easily confused, cried a lot, and got distracted easily. I found it very hard to follow a conversation, especially if more than 2 people were talking at the same time. I struggled to express myself, with words on the tip of my tongue, but not coming out. I felt like I was reaching into a bag of words and pulling out the wrong ones.
Related to my temporal lobe damage, I have total anosmia, aka I can’t smell ANYTHING! Based on brainline.org advice, if smell hasn’t returned after 7 months post injury, it isn’t likely to. So looks like I’m not going to be enjoying my new perfume any time soon!
I am now 7 months into my recovery and due to damaging my frontal lobe, I have been monitored almost monthly. I have always been an overly sensitive person and I have always struggled with concentration and focus, so these are my main issue at the moment because they have become exaggerated.
Additionally, I suffered with intense fatigue and slept for about 15-18 hours a day for the first month following the accident. I slowly built up my waking hours, and would say now I sleep for about 8 hours a night, but unfortunately this is disturbed sleep. I get especially tired trying to do mentally taxing tasks, such as accounts at work, or trying to organise meetings for lots of people with clashing schedules. Not that these tasks were a breeze before, but they didn’t upset me to the extent that they do now.
So besides the obvious mega pain, and living with what felt like the worst hang over of my life for a good few weeks, this is where I’m at. Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I can focus on what I want this blog to be about;
Recovery, rehabilitation, and taking care of yourself!