The fear of falling after brain injury…
I’ve hit my head a couple of times since my brain injury: On a television attached to the wall after bending over to pick something up, underneath the stairs and I’m sure a few other times that I can’t remember. Nothing as bad as what happened last week.
My partner Stephen and I were on holiday in Spain enjoying a day at a water park. Whilst walking to queue for the next slide I slipped on a smooth concrete surface that had a little bit of water on. I fell on my back first and my head followed. It felt like such a powerful painful hit, a slam, a thud and dull all at the same time. I’ve been thinking for a few minutes on how to describe the pain, it’s so hard to write about and writing about it makes it feel less painful. The memory I have doesn’t seem to be matching up with the words although I think you know how painful it must have been…the thought of smashing your head on concrete is hopefully enough to make you understand.
I got up and immediately grabbed the left lower part of my head, trying hard not to cry. It was so painful. Stephen helped me up. A lifeguard saw and came over and asked if I was ok, I was speechless. He went to get ice, he came back without it and said someone was on the way with it. He seemed quite upset by what had happened, he put his hands together like how you would if you were to pray and said “please wait, sorry it’s on it’s way” I sat down on a step nearby and waited.
When the ice came they walked me over to the first aid hut. I haven’t mentioned this yet, but from the moment I hit my head I had a constant fear that I would have to have brain surgery again. I think this was a natural thought given my previous circumstances.
My fear was not eased by the doctor who spoke no English at all apart from when she went to feel the back of my head and said “wow”, I had a bump. She took my blood pressure, which was high and my pupils were quite big but they went down after a while. She kept trying to talk to us but we couldn’t understand a word, it was stressful and I couldn’t stop thinking about how hard I hit my head and how I would need brain surgery again. I think I’m honestly traumatised by the whole experience.
She gave me some ibuprofen to help with the swelling and an ice pack that is activated when you push on it. We sat by the pool for half an hour until it melted then went back onto the slides.
Stephen asked me why I didn’t put my hands out to stop my head while I was falling but it all happened too fast for me to react.
I had an ibuprofen to take before I went to sleep, but after a few hours I thought I wouldn’t need it. I did need it, the pain came back out of nowhere.
The next day the pain would come and go but it wasn’t so bad. On the way home I couldn’t put my head on the seat properly because of the pain and the past couple of days it’s been hurting none stop so I’m going to see the doctor.
Oh! Another thing about my poor head that’s already been though enough already…I sunburnt my brain surgery scar. Every minute I would get a stabbing pain that would make me say “ah” out loud or make me clench my teeth. I didn’t think that would be possible because of my hair, that was the worst way to realise that I could still burn it!