Concussion Tales

One of the cool things about having a blog hosted by WordPress is I can back date my blog posts. People see them on Facebook in real time but if you go back and look at the posts, I can date them so it looks like I keep up with my writing. I was on a blog writing kick for a while, unfortunately I had to stop for a while. Long story short, I walked into a pole and got a concussion.

To be fair, it was not a pole sticking out of the ground. There are awnings over the bleachers at the big pool and they have poles that come down and turn at a 90 degree angle to fix the awning to the bleacher. The turn is right at forehead level so if you are not paying attention then it is very easy to bump your head. Apparently they recognize this is a potential problem because there is a bit of foam around the edge.


You can see the offending pole is not really a pole

Tuesday March 7, I was walking behind the bleachers to throw away my apple core as my class was walking towards the pool. I was hurrying and not paying attention because they were arriving soon. Crack. Smashed my head into the corner of the pole, almost fell over but sorta just reeled away. My students were waiting for me at this time, so I went to class. Apparently I kept calling the kids by the wrong names.

After class, I went over to another swim teacher who was on the pool deck and asked her where the nurse was. I lifted my bangs up so she could see the bump on my head (I could feel it swelling up to a big lump during the class). Every teacher I showed my bump to said it looked nasty. The nurse gave me ice for it and seemed totally unconcerned about it so I was not too concerned as well. I had a headache, what do you expect, and I was feeling really tired. I figured I could just sleep it all away and take it easy on Wednesday.

Wednesday I woke up for my early morning swim, I was feeling better as the headache had gone. The teacher I usually swim with took one look at the lump on my head and sent me back to my room to rest before I had to assist with before school swim club. The teacher who runs the morning swim club is the same teacher I asked about the nurse the day before. I assured her I was feeling better and could work but I would just take it easy for the day.


Yes, I hit the pole with the bird nest, and the bird was fine

I had three classes in the morning, one pre-nursery and two nursery. By lunch time I was not feeling the best and decided I should nap before my last two classes of the day. My head was hurting again, I was feeling disoriented, I was having trouble concentrating, and everything felt like a dream, on top of being tired. I ran into another PE teacher who tried having a conversation with me before she realized something was not right. I showed her my bump and she made me go back to the nurse because I might have a concussion.

I had a difficult time trying to explain what “spacey” meant to the nurse because it described my feelings/symptoms very well. The nurse said I should go to the hospital to see a real doctor. I went to the head of boarding to ask him how to get to the hospital, he said my choices were taxi now or wait a couple hours for a school bus. I chose the school bus. He called HR for me to ask about insurance because I did not have an insurance card. The woman he talked with said I did not have insurance. The head of boarding sent me to my room to rest while he got the insurance mess sorted.

Sitting in the dark felt really good. The PA to the head of boarding stopped by to tell me I did have insurance and gave me a piece of paper with my insurance number on it. She told me to give that number to the hospital and I would only have to pay 500 baht for the visit. The school bus dropped me off outside the hospital. It was a fancy hospital, as in a woman greeted me at the door and took all my information then had me sit in a plushy waiting room with chandeliers and complimentary coffee. She then brought me down to the emergency room which was less nice and passed off my paperwork to the nurses there.

I was sitting in the emergency room, feeling miserable, watching the nurses trying to sort out my paperwork. I was the only one waiting. One nurse came and asked me about my symptoms. Another nurse came and asked me about my insurance, not that I could tell her much about it. Then another nurse told me they were having problems with my insurance and they called the school who said if I paid for this visit the insurance company would reimburse me.

While I was sitting and waiting, a woman and her daughter walked past, they looked awfully familiar yet I could not think where I had seen them before. As they were leaving I realized it was one of my students and her mother. I then realized I was probably in no state to see any students. And I hear “Miss Susan!” Turning around, there was another one of my students with his mother. He had fallen out of a tree and his legs were bruised. I was in no state to be talking with students.


Fancy hospital

The nurse finally led me in to see a doctor. She made me lay on a hospital bed while I waited for the doctor. Another nurse came to take my vital signs. And I waited for the doctor. One of the nurses from the front came to tell me they had sorted my insurance out and I would only have to pay the 500 baht. It took me a while to grasp what she was saying, she had to repeat herself about three times before I understood. Finally, the doctor showed up.

She introduced herself to me and said “so you fell down and hit your head and lost consciousness.”

“I didn’t lose consciousness,” I corrected her.

“It says you lost consciousness,” she has a piece of paper from one of the nurses out front.

“But I didn’t,” I insist.

“Okay, you fell down and hit your head…”

“I didn’t fall down.”

“So you were in an accident…”

“No, I hit my head.” The doctor gave me a blank stare and I was on the verge of tears. “I just hit my head. I hit my head on a pole.”

“Why would you hit yourself with a pole?” She asked incredulously.

“I didn’t do it on purpose!” Round and round we went in circles.

I was trying not to cry the entire time; I just wanted her to tell me I had a concussion and send me back to school to sleep. She then asked me if I wanted a brain scan. I kind of snapped at her that she was the doctor and I didn’t know what to do. She then listed all these awful symptoms I didn’t have which would indicate bleeding or bruising in the brain. Then told me I probably didn’t need a brain scan. She seemed disappointed I wasn’t projectile vomiting and my pupils were normal (both indications of potential bleeding in the brain).

She was about to leave when I asked her what I should do, if I could work. She looked surprised at the suggestion and told me I couldn’t work because I had a concussion. Thank you, about time. She then told me she was going to prescribe me medications for pain, dizziness, and the swelling bump on my head. And she left.

The nurse came with my medical certificate saying I was to rest for three days, an appointment slip to see a neurologist on Friday, and a fact sheet on concussions. She then led me to the pharmacy where I got a goody bag with medications. I went back to school by a motorcycle taxi which probably was not the best idea. I was feeling worse after being at the hospital and it took all my focus to stay balanced on the motorcycle.

I slept all day Thursday, getting out of bed only for food. I got out of bed on Friday to go back to the hospital to see the neurologist. He told me to rest over the weekend and I could go back to work on Monday. I slept the rest of the day on Friday. I also discovered the dizziness medication made me feel worse (probably because dizziness wasn’t one of my symptoms). By Saturday evening I was going a little stir crazy, I had been in bed too long. Going back to work on Monday was good and bad. By the end of the day I had a massive headache and went to bed at 8:30.

I am 100% recovered. I have dealt with all the smiles and laughs that come with me telling this story. Honestly, it is a little ridiculous. Going through it was not fun but looking back it was a comedy. A couple students told me they missed me while I was away. One teacher told me I should sue the school for negligence. And that’s the story of how I walked into a pole and got a concussion.


Update: there are now baby birds

1 thought on “Concussion Tales

  1. The old saying “Alls well that ends well” comes to mind. 2 yr ago at Christmas I did a face plant on cement porch steps. Went to Dr. for 2″ sq. skin loss off back of hand BUT gave me a brain scan for
    bump on head — I survived — Joyce upset cus of 3 hr wait to find a Dr to read the x ray. He son Mike & family coming for dinner and she in middle of preparations. 🙂


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