Friday, September 18, 2015

Flashback Friday: All the Damn Concussions

I have so many photos of this clown, it is ridiculous.
While I was waiting for my husband to come home last night, I got a phone call from him. With the rain we have been having, he took the opportunity to ride his dirt bike as much as possible. He called and told me he would be home on time, except his friend had gotten a concussion while riding last night. This is nothing new in motocross (or horses, for that matter) so I sighed and asked if he was ok so far and if they would be taking him to the hospital. Which got me reminiscing of all the times I had to take him to the hospital. Motorcycles, man, I tell ya.
I hated this gear. It was so ugly, but free.
This is better.
Every year that Blake raced, I had to take him to the hospital at least once. That was eight different occasions. One back injury, broken wrist, shoulder, and five concussions. Yep. Five. That is also not including the other concussion he got while playing rugby. Once he concussed himself twice in three months, he knew he had to give up the racing. It was a very extremely sad moment, it was wordless, but I saw it in his face. But we kind of want to keep him around, and every time he hit his head, things would get a little more difficult for him. It made him a bit dyslexic, so I am especially proud of him for graduating with a computer science degree.
The section where he had his first concussion.
Flowers at the track.
The first concussion he got was while I was telling someone else about my concussion on Booger. He was riding around, playing with some kids (he always helped the younger ones that looked up to him get better on the track) and messed up a double on the track. He got up right away, walked his bike over to us and looked really confused. The kids started to ask him questions, and he couldn't answer them. We went back to his truck, where the others helped me load up his bike and change him back to regular clothes. As this was happening, he started to get more confused. He would point to his right knee, but he would say left. And then he would be puzzled, because he knew it was the right knee, but he could only say left.
Sometimes the lighting was great.
I loved this brown gear. Don't know why. Racing in Washougal.
We got him in the truck and I started to drive him home. During the drive, everything kept getting worse. He was now mostly speaking jibberish. I knew he was asking me questions by the way he phrased and sounded out the nonsense, and I couldn't answer them. When we got to his house, I hurried in to tell his mom that he needed to go to the hospital (keep in mind I was 16 and he was 15 years old). On the way to the hospital, he tried to escape out of the van, vomited several times and got extremely angry and then sad. Some words were coming back. I told him I loved him and he turned and screamed at me that he didn't care. Three minutes later, he started to cry and grabbed my hand and said he was so sorry. It was so surreal.
Playing on the sand hill.
More racing in Washougal. Looks fun, right?
We got to the hospital and they brought him back immediately. At this point, his answer to every question was "November 22nd". He was quite uncooperative with everything and yelled at all of the doctors and nurses. They wanted him to pee in a container to check for blood and the male nurse asked if he needed help. He yelled "NO I'M NOT GAY" and the man laughed a bit as we apologized for Blake's behavior. After lots of testing, they finally let him sleep. I half think this is because he was so belligerent and wanted a break. He had to answer some questions to go home and one of them was "what major holiday is it this month?" and his answer was "my birthday." They then asked him what other major holiday, and he said "Thanksgiving". He was free to go home.
There was a 120ft jump in Washougal. It scared me.
He says he is afraid of heights. I don't buy it.
We got back in the van, and he was still angry and impatient. He plopped his head onto my lap and I tried not to move a muscle because nobody wanted to wake the beast. We got him home and settled on the couch. I slept on the floor next to him and woke him up every couple of hours to check on him. At some point in the night, he woke me up because he was situating himself on the floor with me. He was soft and kind and quiet and caring. It creeped me the hell out. It was like his mind rewound itself in his sleep and he was back to normal.
Oh look, a picture of me at the track. I was always there.
So, I had to do this whole ordeal four more times. Except all of the other times, I would take him straight to the hospital and his mom would meet me there. We would sit, embarrassed, as Blake became angry and loud and uncooperative every single time. The part I find interesting is comparing my two concussions to his. Mine were both horse related (Booger tripped and bucked at the same time while galloping through a pasture and somersaulted with me on him, and Vegas reared and fell on top of me. Both times without helmets. I am so dumb.) but I reacted in a different way. I didn't get angry. I was emotional and confused, almost goofy, but no anger.
It was a great place for photos though.
Blake always seemed to recover quite quickly from his concussions. It took me much longer. With the Vegas fall, it took me months for the head pain to go away and the weird falling feeling. I did not go to the hospital either of those times. I certainly should have, but I didn't. With the Vegas fall, I did go in to seem my doctor 5 days after. My head and leg killed me. I tried to work, but all I did was stare down at the counter. It was like I was under water and everything was in slow motion. Also, Vegas had crushed the muscles in my leg, so they were trying to recover as well. The doctor told me NO WORK for at least a week, but I still went to class. Let me tell you, organic chemistry sucks anyways, but it is especially hard after a concussion.
Washougal can get a little wet.
Yearling Vegas says she would never do such a thing...
Concussions are scary, and I do not like them. I am always worried about the lasting effects of all of the concussions that Blake has had, and I worry about him getting more, as he still rides. I worry about my friends' heads. Our other motocross friend who had his first concussion earlier this year was repeating himself every 30 seconds for hours until he snapped out of it. What are your guy's experiences with concussions?

A gopro shot of him now. Still being dangerous.


  1. That is REALLY scary! Good thing both of y'all wear helmets. And Blake is amazing for the stuff he can do on a dirtbike!

    1. He really is amazing on one. But the faster he got, the harder he crashed. It is awesome and terrifying at the same time.

  2. Damn... that is a lot of concussions.

    I've had 2. Maybe 2.5.. but the first and the latest ones are the ones that I remember the most. The first because every morning I woke up I thought it was 2 years prior and I was confused because I didn't know why the ceiling was unrecognizable to me. It took about 2 weeks to get my mornings straightened out. Last year the only thing that marked anything that happened was a huge swath of time I lost. I have gchat records to prove that I was awake, and talking and doing stuff, but none of it I remember.

    We all need to be safe.

    1. Holy crap! That is no fun at all. I am glad you got your mornings straightened out. Now let's keep them that way.

  3. I've had one as a young child when ice skating without a helmet. And then I had neurosurgery once after a horse reared and struck me three times in the head, cracking my skull in three. Honestly, I would never ride without a helmet, I won't even work a horse on the ground without one. Lunging, loading, leading, all helmet activities to me. Don't even let the kids in the paddock without a helmet. It's obsessive, yes, but one split second can change your whole world. Concussions and head injuries are nasty things with long lasting damages. We should probably all just be couch surfers instead ;)

    1. Oh my, what a scary experience. I am glad that you came out of it ok! I think it is totally fair that you incorporate helmets in with more than just riding. We all probably should.

  4. ugh head injuries are no bueno :( i've had two minor concussions and would be quite happy to not repeat those experiences!

    1. I always wished Blake would just break an arm instead, but the poor kid always hit his damn head. I also think there is more research and technology that goes into motocross helmets. When Blake went to buy me a new equestrian helmet, he was so upset because of the lack of research he could find.

  5. I've never had one, but they're really scary. I'm glad you were there to take care of him all those times!

  6. Head trauma is scary - it can really alter your thought patterns and mess you up... thank goodness he's ok.

  7. Last November, Gracie got away from me while I was trying to remove her blanket in the field. It was still partially attached to her as she tore around the field at a mad gallop. I got in the way, trying to get her to stop, Ana she ran me over. Her hooves never touched me, but my head hit a rock and got split open. I was fully aware of what had happened but was seeing black spots and didn't understand where all the blood trickling down my shoulders was coming from.

    I was rushed to the hospital immediately by my BO. I vomited 5x on the way there because once seated the world started spinning so fast I couldn't see straight. CT was clear but I needed 13 stitches to fix the gash at the back of my head.

    They say you shouldn't return to normal activity until 7 days after your symptoms disappear. Well, it took 2 months before I was back to normal and I only get 2 sick days a year, so I worked. I never had the anger or confusion but I was dizzy ALL THE TIME, even in my sleep. And my brain was slow. It was incredibly frustrating. I couldn't restrain large fractious dogs bc getting shaken up would make my world spin even harder. I could drive fine but I couldn't walk straight lines without being a foot away from a wall to guide me. It felt for a really long time like I would never be back to normal. Even once I was 90% normal, if I got too tired or didn't sleep well, the dizziness would return. It was one of the toughest times of my life.

    I'm so glad you were there for Blake!

  8. Wow! I have had one bad concussion from riding. It was a few years ago. I fell and was seemingly fine. I was taking an advanced accounting class over the summer at school to get my minor and I drove to school but couldn't figure out why I was there. I called my mom and she freaked out because I was not making much sense. Needless to say someone came to pick me up and brought me to the hospital. I wasn't supposed to go to school but it was only a month long class so missing a week would make me fail. It was miserable and I left class multiple times to throw up that week. I missed the midterm that day because of my fall and had to retake it. I am terrified to know what would have happened if I didn't have a helmet on.

  9. I've only had one concussion and it wasn't too bad. I was in pain and pretty dizzy for a couple days and then got over it without much fuss. Hubby had a TBI several years ago that still gives him a ton of trouble--memory loss, bad headaches...memory loss. Honestly I want to smack him sometimes when he asks me the same thing ten times in the space of an hour, but he just does not remember asking. It's kind of scary sometimes.