Sunday, December 3, 2006

"You know what they say about concussions: Just go with it."

Last night, while the lovely Christina was over for a night of carousing and Firefly, I stopped at the top of the stairs (on my way back down) to look at Lancelot, to see if he was about to do his usual, delightful mad dash down the stairs by me. He likes to race us down, you see.

Well, imagine my surprise when, as I turned, my extremely soft (slippery, you might say), red and white striped socks lost purchase at the edge of the step, and I fell down the stairs.

I fell down the fucking stairs.

Not too far, at least. I caught myself less than halfway down, and had the good fortune (I think) to maintain a roughly upright, seated position, as my feet had gone forward out from under me. You could call it a violent, painful slide, if you wanted. With screaming. And banging. And narrowly catching the banister--which I had been holding, at the top, I swear. Christina, who had been further down the stairs, and bless all ninety pounds of her, had been ready to break my fall. I imagine it would have broken her worse than me. Luckily, the brakes caught before I could barrel through her. But I feel very, very loved.

But now, imagine my almost-as-great surprise when, though my tailbone--and hips, and, frankly, ass--were also very sore, from taking the brunt of my collisions, there was pounding pain radiating through my neck and skull. I hadn't even hit my neck or skull. My tail is fine, now, it's my neck that's bitching.

My first impression was that the force with which the bottom of my spine had hit the steps had just gone ahead and pushed it up into my head. Not through my brain, but I figured there was some really unpleasant compression happening in there, anyway. That it had squeezed the vertebrae in my neck together. That it had banged up my skull on the way up. That I'd maybe knocked my brain into the top of my skull.

Brain. Knocked. Skull.

By the time I had let go of the cat I was clutching (he must have wandered close enough for me to get him--Christina said he was checking on me), and had assured the (worried!) Chris and Christina that I was sort of okay-just-hurting-a-lot-in-the-top-parts, and had sort of inched my way to the bottom of the stairs, the word "whiplash" had been thrown out there. My shoulders and back hurt, but most especially my neck. I didn't think that fit, though, since I didn't think I had done the classic back-forward whip--I was going down, suddenly, not back--and it didn't feel quite muscular. It felt too central. Too radiant. I have since learned, of course, that whiplash can come about from any good jarring, and concerns all of the delicate little soft tissues in there.

We made it down into the kitchen. I was shaken to no end, but I was walking and remaining upright. Somewhere in between sitting for a while and standing for a while, and sitting again, and standing, and sitting and, I was sitting on the floor eating crackers in a particularly urgent way, but I'm not sure what order it went in. I went for the crackers twice, though. Comfort food, and all.

Now, there's something that happens to me, sometimes, when I'm in the supermarket or similarly loud, crowded, bright places. I get dazed and a little panicked, and I latch onto Chris, who gets the task of piloting me through the rest of the trip, because I cease to have any very meaningful sense of what's going on around me. I see everything, sort of, but without it making an impression, if that makes any sense. Everything's a little blurred, surreal, and I can't actually look at anything. There's noise, but I can't really identify it. I don't usually walk into anything or anyone, because Chris looks out for me, but it's often a pretty narrow shave. My impulse is something like wanting to just stop where I'm standing and sink into the ground. Getting me to keep up is probably something of a chore. I slow down and can't keep pace. I'm not afraid, but I'm not really functioning, either.

But this has never happened in my own kitchen, before. And has never been coupled with the nigh unto overwhelming want to droop into the table and sleep. Or with a good jarring to my brain.

The word "concussion" came along, at some point. I'm not sure whether Chris or I posed it. I figured, maybe, spine jamming at my brain, or maybe my sudden downward momentum (more likely) had my grey matter floating in its cushion of fluid to be banged against the top of my skull. Christina doubted this, I think on account of there not being the old blow to the head. (I have since had confirmed that while concussions are mostly from direct hits, they can result from--tada--whiplash. I believe we have a winner.)

I wanted so badly to curl up and make sleep with the table. With the word "concussion" in my head, I did manage to avoid it. Chris and Christina kept talking, and that helped, but I don't have any particular recollection of the conversation, except for Chris asking if I was okay, and telling me that my body language was very strange, which I knew. I remember somewhere along the way there was the comforting assertion that even if there was a small concussion, the issue was just not clocking out right away, and not hitting my head again any time soon, and I should be fine. I really was mostly fine.

My neck stopped hurting, for a while, while I felt the most disoriented, and hurt more when I was clearer, and this pattern has been holding. I slept like a stone, last night, and it took a hell of a lot of effort to get out of bed this morning, but I got up and functioned. I've gone back and forth between being in pain and being a little out of it, but the latter is definitely improving. The former is fluxing, but more towards increase. My next order of business is a good hot shower, after which My Love is going to rub my shoulders. They need it. Because, radiating out from the base of my skull, the ache has spread through my neck, and down into my shoulders. And back. And as it ebbs, I notice the Piddly Shit™. I get the feeling I bruised side pretty good, my ankles are angry with me, my legs banged around a lot, the small of my back is achey. . . my wrists. . . a lot of things, really, but the worst of the pain is decidedly hanging out at the foramen magnum.

But. I have a full range of movement. Nothing is numb. My circulation is no worse than normal. No movement hurts so badly that I can't do it. Decidedly, slouching over my laptop is an aggrevator. But most of the time I've been okay. And I get to say, "I fell down the fucking stairs. And I was concussed." And I love the word "concussed."

Anyway, I'm'onna' go shower. But some tidbits from on the phone with Raechel, as a parting gift. After I told her I'd stayed home--"We figured I just shouldn't clonk out, and should avoid, you know, banging my head, not much to do with a concussion 'cept just go with it" she came out with, "You know what they say about concussions: Just go with it."

It turned into One Of Those kinds of conversations. Thank you, Raechel:

"You know what they say: cats'll kill ya'."

"Well, you know what they say: perverts are the fruit of life."

"You know what they say about that?"

"They know all. You should ask Them."


Doc Nagel said...

They don't know nothing! Hah! Let 'em stick that in their pipes and smoke it! Hah! If they smoke pipes, that is! Hah! (Which, really, they should cut down on a bit if they do. hah.)

I'm happy to report to many and sundry that my love's body language returned to normal, and that the Modesto Symphony Christmas concert was delightful and concussion-free. We are both being very careful on the stairs.

(The above would've been funnier, I believe, if Blogger allowed the small tag in comments.)

Bobo the Wandering Pallbearer said...

So you claim that BOTH "Chris" and "Christina" were there at the time, eh? How do we know that you aren't just making up a persona so that we won't think . . .

Ah, forget it. I was gonna do a whole Glen or Glenda riff, but my heart's not in it.

Lulu--Back in Town said...

That's okay!

I got a couple kinky thoughts when I wrote "Chris and Christina." I admit it. Probably along those lines.