Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Things That make You Go "HMMMM" - Post Concussion Syndrome?

Since I was continuing to experience some  head issues twenty five days after my fall I decided to do some research on Post Concussion Syndrome(PCS). My current symptoms that were not present before the Oct 8th crash are....

  - Dizziness upon waking and moving from prone to standing(mostly)first thing in the AM.
  - Disorientation when I extend my arms over my head and tilt my head to the right(while stretching).
  - Occasional blurred vison similar to looking through binoculars when the two lenses are not quite focused with each other.
   - Memory issues like remembering passwords or needing to concentrate longer/harder on routine tasks.
    - Dull ache in forehead. Not really a headache but more of a feeling closer akin to eye strain.

Most frustrating are that these are not consistent all day/everyday but seem to ebb and flow. Good days and bad days with no rhyme or reason. I can exercise with no issues but get dizzy getting out of bed...WTF?

So what is PCS?
(Author's comment -I capitalized those revelant to me)

"Post-concussion syndrome is a complex disorder in which a variable combination of post-concussion symptoms — such as headaches and dizziness — last for weeks and sometimes months after the injury that caused the concussion.Concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury, usually occurring after a blow to the head. LOSS OF CONSCIOUSNESS ISN'T REQUIRED for a diagnosis of concussion or post-concussion syndrome. In fact, the risk of post-concussion syndrome doesn't appear to be associated with the severity of the initial injury. In most people, post-concussion syndrome symptoms occur within the first seven to 10 days and go away within three months, though they can persist for a year or more."

(Author's comment - Swell!)

I find it reassuring that losing consciousness is not required to guarantee PCS. I certainly got the impression after my crash that since I remained "awake" that my brain was considered less injured. Probably true but it gave me a false sense of wellness and when I exhibited some concussive symptoms I chastised myself for being a complainer.So I'll happily accept some personal redemption. I did ring my bell hard enough to rattle some screws loose.

What are the symptoms of PCS?

"....HEADACHE isn't alone - it's accompanied by a complex set of other symptoms. Other common symptoms include:
•DIZZINESS
•irritability
•difficulty sleeping
•anxiety
•TROUBLE CONCENTRATING
•MEMORY PROBLEMS
•sensitivity to noise or light "

What a surprise. It goes well beyond the common symptoms as well......
"Sometimes family members may notice a change in behaviour or personality in someone with PCS. The person may become more moody, MAY LACK INTEREST IN FAVORITE ACTIVITIES, may become stubborn and opinionated, depressed, or even overly suspicious. Some of these less-known symptoms include:

•nausea
•VERTIGO
•fatigue
•ringing in the ears
•BLURRED VISON
•difficulty speaking/communicating
•difficulty understanding instructions
•GUILT AND FEAR
•changes in appetite
•decreased sex drive
•loss of hearing
•difficulty smelling and tasting
•aggression
•difficulty tolerating alcohol
•impaired judgement
•difficulty tolerating stress "

A couple symptoms I find very interesting. Despite the nice Fall weather I have been unable to get back on the bike. I`ve chaulked it up to post accident stress but is it really a case of FEAR and a LACK OF INTEREST to get back on the proverbial "horse"? Despite my dismay at taking Metro Transit to and from work I still have not motivated myself to refitting my Norco hardtail as a commuting bike. Of course I am feeling GUILTY for not summoning the get-up-and-go to ride and as a result have come up with several viable excuses. I  admit that my inability to get back on the bike is all mental at this point but maybe it is not just about me being "chicken" but related to my head trauma?

I terms of memory I have noticed some issues as well. Most of it involves having to concentrate more on routine things usually one takes for granite. Some recent occurances to illustrate my silly state of mind.....

 - Even though I spent hours over the past couple months working on a series of reports  I was unable to remember what they were named whem prompted by my manager. Felt like a moron.I quote...

" Um...er.....yeah I got six of them done.....um...er....you know the ones.Not the new box reports but the...um...er...which ones were they? Oh yeah....the OUTSTANDING BOX reports...yeah...that`s it....sorry."

 - Made myself a nice striploin steak with onions and mushrooms on the weekend and completely forgot I baked a potato to go with it until I opened the microwave oven door later in the day.

 - Left work early on Halloween and decided to purchase some wine so stopped at the bank machine for some cash. Needless to say I looked at my balance and realized I had neglected to transfer out the bill money to the chequing account.Totally forgot it was the last day of October despite it being Halloween. I am the domestic budget zealot and never forget about the household finances.

Now I question myself to the point of being neurotic. Got out of bed last night to make sure I turned off the oven after making pizza for the kids and now double check everything just to be sure I did what should have been done. That alone will drive one insane.

It`s a terrible thing to lose one's mind.
(sigh)

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