Add Insult to Injury

About concussions…

Years ago, on a snowy winter day, Sarah and I went out for lunch. She drove to my house, parked in the driveway, and I used my car. After lunch, I dropped her back at the house, which is located in a cul-de-sac. I opened the garage door and made the turn into the court, so that the passenger door opened to the driveway. Sarah stepped out of the car, and walked toward the garage. Then, I started driving away slowly, as I had errands to run. As I drove away, I looked in the rearview mirror and noticed that she went in and forgot to close the garage door. I pressed the button to close it and then looked in my rearview mirror again, to make sure that the garage door was closing, and that’s when I saw it happening.

Apparently, Sarah had stopped at her car to grab something first and, while she was walking through the garage, was struck on the top of her head by the garage door coming down. She fell backward to the ground. I saw the whole thing as my eyes were glued to my rearview mirror. It seemed that with heavy snow falling, and her black coat, I did not see her next to her black car. OMG, what did I do? I turned my car around toward the house, and when I pulled up, she was on the ground crying in pain and in shock. She had no idea what had happened. I helped her up, and all I could do was hug her as she was crying. I helped her back into my car, and off we went to the ER. On the way, she was explaining how she did not know who closed the garage door, and why she did not see it.

I explained the whole thing to her about who closed the garage door, and why I decided to close it. I also explained to her that the coat hood she had over her head to cover from the falling snow was the reason why she did not see the garage door coming down. She then asked me if these garage doors have sensors. I explained to her that arching forward to protect her face from the falling snow was the reason why her head went in first, and before her feet could trip the sensor.

I could not help but cry along with her, all the way to the hospital. Not only did I hurt my child with this stupid mistake, but it was even worse. Her head has had bleeding and radiation, and now I am adding insult to injury. Once at the ER, and after a CAT Scan and a check up from the neurologist, it was determined that she had sustained a concussion.

The symptoms of concussions vary from person to person and case to case.

In Sarah’s case, her symptoms lasted for months, including feeling more dizzy, agitated, and difficulty focusing. As a result, her school work had suffered. Of course, I felt awful. Mind you, on the way to the hospital, she told me that she knew it was an accident, and I certainly did not mean it. To date, she always tells me that she is fine, it was an accident, and I should try to forget about it. But I can’t.

It is important to understand that concussions are all about brain matter colliding with the skull. This usually results from either the head moving and colliding with a stationary object, or a moving object striking the stationary head. In either case, the end result is the collision of brain matter and the skull. In most cases this happens twice. First as the brain collides with the skull in the direction of the impact, then again in the opposite direction at the other end of the skull. Obviously, hard concussion and repeated concussion both have longer lasting impacts which will vary from person to person, and case to case. Also, the severity of concussions is usually measured by how long one loses consciousness.