March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. This made me think of my mom and how a simple fall almost killed her.
This week in 2009 I was working for the newspaper and we were working on quarter end close when my cell phone rang. It was my brother, as soon as I saw his name my heart sank, I knew something was very wrong. It is 6 am in California and my brothers don’t just call to chat.
I hear him say, “Mom is at the hospital and having brain surgery right now.” I immediately started crying and he handed the phone to his wife, Carol. She got my attention and calmed me down. My mom was 75 and had had 2 strokes by this time in her life. She relayed the details as she knew them.
My mom was an accountant for her church and when she was walking down a walkway she tripped and fell on her face. Her hands didn’t make it out to catch her and she hit face first. Being as stubborn as she is she didn’t want to go to the hospital, but her face and teeth were so badly damaged she finally agreed to go. She was going to need stitches and dental surgery. While she was there they did a CT scan and found that she had a subdural hematoma and they needed to do emergency surgery.
My boss at the paper let me take the week off and a friend used his miles to fly me to California to be with my mom. She is one tough lady and she does not like to be unable to take care of herself. The CCU nurses had their hands full with this one. She was sick of people asking how she felt and does she need anything. I generally deal with this kind of stuff with humor. My brothers were having a tough time with all of this, I was too, but I guess I never actually saw them this worried. Carol and I took our turn in visiting mom and when we came in she smiled. I didn’t realize that at this point the incision was exposed and it looked like a zipper in a big C around her head. Carol and I said together that had we known that the staples were visible we would have brought refrigerator magnets. My mom and the nurses started laughing. We all needed a light moment.
She recovered remarkably from this surgery, but if she hadn’t gone to the hospital and had the CT Scan she would have died. Most people don’t want to go to the hospital, but when you hit your head or have been in an accident where your head was whipped around in some way it is wise to get it checked out.
Symptoms of subdural hematoma can include:
- Change in behavior
- Nausea and vomiting
- Lethargy or excessive drowsiness
I have found that especially now, we need to educate ourselves and take part in our medical treatment.
Tell me what you think.
Brenda the Brave