Writing about your own concussion is challenging. It’s been two weeks since the accident and I still have no memory of what happened, what lead up to it and what followed the hours after. The fuzzy start of my memory began in the emergency room, being asked what I could recall.
“I just wanted to start a new squatting program.”
I had been riding my bike towards The Spot to start it. I sat up in my bed, took a selfie with Antoine and then went right back to sleep. My first “waking memory”, quoted because this was the start of what I can recall after the accident, was of being slightly reclined in a hospital bed. I was looking into a bucket I had probably spat in:
Antoine, who was at my side, had given me this so I would remember it was okay to sleep if he left me alone. Apparently I was having short term memory… for hours now which meant I already asked that many, many times. After coming out of having goldfish memory and understanding my brain had no internal bleeding, I checked my motor abilities. They were fine as well so I excitedly checked for fluency in French which I am currently studying. Non.
I recall wanting to know details of my condition, what happened, and feeling great compassion towards the other ER patients. Although I can’t recall the memories, I definitely felt a relapse of intense emotions, perhaps from the adrenaline.
With only a sore back and fractures in my skull that will heal on its own, I feel pretty lucky. I called someone that was very effective in getting me to where I needed to be and had great people around me to help me through it all. The headaches have forced me to slow down, something I should have done from the beginning anyway. I mediate more, a fact I have known for years would help with everything I want to do.
Post-concussion, there was no impediment in my ability to think, under the condition I focus on one thing at a time. It’s a very cool and enjoyable mindstate, to only think single strings of thoughts, with the white noise in our mind like shame, thinking of the past or future, dulled out in the background. It helps distill what matters.
Along with Antoine’s briefing and my cell phone log, this is what happened:
7:02pm- I’m confused, and there’s goo running down my face. *Takes selfie*
There’s a lot of blood runing down my nose.
7:08pm- calls Antoine.
This is my first human contact after flipping off my bike (we assume). Since I have no recollection of even getting on my bike, Antoine is my main informer of what happened during my blackout.
….I received a call for you that my phone refused to answer to, so I called you back. I can’t recall the exact words but I was mostly trying to figure out why you were calling me. Very quickly you started crying and demonstrating signs of great confusion, so I got out of the bus in ordrer to hear you more clearly. I got quite scared that something more major had happenned, so I basically asked you if you were whole, which lead to you doing full body check-ups in a loop.
“There’s blood on my face.”
“Yes, and your arms?”
“They’re fine. There’s also blood on my face.”
Your head being as it was, this emotional distress you were feeling didn’t last, which was a very good thing in retrospect. 3-4 minutes into this conversation I knew you had a very severe concussion, that your face was bleeding, that Tamila wasn’t with you and that the confusion was real. At this point I was still thinking the repetitions were because of the adrenaline, I realized how bad in shape you were when you started looping while being quite calm, in the following minutes. 2 minutes later I had failed to extract from you any localisation more precise than “Old Port”, but you realized you were cold and I told you to go look for shelter, which you found at that Bella Vita restaurant. You kept telling me “I’m sorry, I’m so concussed right now”, to which I responded with various forms of “Don’t worry, I’m coming to get you, just tell me if you decide to go elsewhere, ok?”. At some point I finaly had your precise location (with the restaurant’s name), so I had a formal tone of “everything will be alright”. I realized this was a bad idea when you simply considered it a good excuse to hang up. I obviously called you back instantly.
Once I got pretty sure that you were indeed at the Old Port and not somewhere else, I figured out that to get to you quickly the best solution would be to get to Dim – for he has a car. So me and Maxime walked toward the gym, continuously answering your looping questions or remarks, which came in two kind: 1 – “I am so concussed” that you said with a very energetic tone, as if it was the best thing that had happenned to you in a while. 2 – “Did I tell you where I am?”. I ended up at the gym, gave the phone to Tamila so I could explain to Dim what was wrong and why he should get up from his fat lazy ass quickly for once. I must have looked serious enough since we were in your direction with Tam in less than 2 minutes. Maxime stayed at the gym. The car trip toward you was quite fun, with us making jokes with your looping, especially with that “Did I tell you where I am?” question, and you would always answer with “I am so concussed”, which could have been your name at that point. The first occurence of “Ok, this is the most aware that I’ve been so far” that I remember was just before we got in the car, and it would become quite frequent in the following hours.
…. I entered Bella Vita alone. Except the blood on your face and a small bump, you were looking quite fine. You were standing very straight, and recognized me in an instant. You didn’t look surprised to see me, and thanked me for coming. Yet, when I asked you how I had found you, your best guess was that I had followed the trail of blood. I checked your balance, to which you responded by those dancy-flowy-no-resistance reactions, as usual. Fine motricity was still up for you were manipulating the business card of the restaurant without problem. I had asked for ice at the desk while entering, and they finaly brought it, so we left. As we were going I tried to see just how badly in shape your memory was. You knew you were in Montreal but couldn’t tell why. You had no recollection of Joel, not even the name, nor any memories about you living and studying in Montreal. At that point though, you could already recall Bunny. I propose you change your phone background for your boyfriend, by the way, it apparently works wonder.
I must say that, except the very first minutes of the call which were very stressful because we both had no idea what was up while knowing something was wrong, the whole thing had so far been pretty jovial. Once you got with the 3 of us, it started to go downhill a bit, like it was just too much to process. We struggled a long time to find your keys (uselessly?), Tamila went looking for your bike, while me and Dim were getting you to the hospital. You became very quiet, confused in a “darker” way. The car ride really triggered the nausea. We stopped maybe 3-4 times to let you breath and vomit, but that wasn’t very successful. Dim handed you a bag, in which you finaly vomited and spat blood many times. I tried speaking to you in French but you didn’t have any reaction at all.
When we arrived at the hospital, Dim went looking for parking again while you and I went through the triage. The confusion and looping were real and you still had your plastic bag with you. I think they assumed you had vomitted blood, explaining how quickly we were dismissed from there. You were in that bed 5 minutes after we entered that hospital, and a doctor came to see you around 20 minutes later I’d say. At that point loops were getting longer and longer. It was no longer discussions of 15 seconds, you could follow for a minute or so, and it gradually got better. Eventually Joel texted me and asked me if you could discuss, so I called him and gave you the phone. This conversation was legendary: “I do not really know who you are are and why, but I somehow miss you and tu n’es pas un poisson” kind of sentences, in loops, almost crying. Much cute.
Dim stayed a while, and eventualy left. You started going uphill again, and we had a lot of fun repeating the same conversation over and over. You were down again coming out of that first head scan, and it lasted until you slept a bit and saw Joel. You seemingly couldn’t sleep for the following hours, doing bits of mobility and breakdance on the floor and wanting to go around and talk to people. Looping was almost inexistant a that point, but you would still frequently be very happy to declare that “Now I’m aware”. You also seemed very important to tell Dim’s name and mine to everyone, even after Dim left. Interestingly enough, you seem to have no idea what my full name is.
Myself not able to sleep, with Antoine who is trying to sleep.
I think… I’ll be taking it slower for awhile.