Saturday, March 12, 2011

In Which the Author Relates How He Got a Mild Concussion

I know. I'm milking this for all it's worth. But here is the story:

So we have this pep rally at Vista del Blanco High School, where I teach, and I have been asked to participate in the balloon Popping competition. There are five members to a team. Each team member has a balloon tied to his or her leg. When the whistle sounds the teams attack one another, trying to pop all of the other team's balloons.

I lead the charge, thinking my team will follow me. There I am, in enemy territory, when I hear behind me "Pop! Pop! Pop! POP! Run Mr. O! RUN!"

I turn around and see my team has been decimated.

A smarter man would have surrendered, but I am filled with tiger blood and I attack the other team single-handedly. The desperate battle ensues. I take a step and notice there's nothing to step on.

As I go down, I think that I'm correcting myself, but I keep going down. I fall on my knee, then my arm, then my shoulder, then my upper back, and finally, the back of my head, which hits the cement.

Apparently, I stepped off the stage and into the surrounding gutter.

I didn't lose consciousness. I thought that I might be bleeding, so I felt the back of my head before I got up. It was moist, but that turned out to be sweat.

I got up as many students rushed to help me. I was a little dazed and had to catch my breath. Then I told everyone that I was alright.

I walked back to my room, clear at the other end of the campus, and went to my desk and sat down.

As I sat there, I realized that, if I were brain-injured, I probably wouldn't feel it. So I walked back to the front of the school and into the health office and asked the aide there to look at the back of my head. She told me that it was very red and that a welt was forming and that I should see a doctor.

She called in the Assistant Principal who agreed.

This is where the "system" really broke down. My only excuse for what I did was that I had just hit my head on concrete.

What should have happened was that the Admin on duty should have taken me into the health office after I fell. They should have sat me down, given me an ice pack to minimize the swelling of my brain, asked me some simple questions like what day it was and where I was to see if my brain was functioning properly, taken a statement about what happened and taken me to their Workman's Comp doctor.

None of this happened.

I asked if they meant that I should go to urgent care. They told me that I should. So, I went to my car and drove myself to MY urgent care doctor.

Half-way there, I realized what a stupid idea that was--but I was almost there, so I drove on.

When I got there, I felt pretty steady. I checked in. A doctor put me through a series of balance and coordination tests and said that I had suffered a minor concussion. He prescribed a pain-killer for the headaches that were coming my way.

The headaches and other pains have been pretty minor, but I have been taking the meds about once a day. I didn't see the Workman's Comp doctor until Friday.

She performed the same tests as the other doctor and had me x-rayed. Said that everything looked good. Gave me a prescription for inflammation. I have a follow-up on Tuesday.