Brain injury, Healing, Health

When the Lights Went Out

In Fall 2016, at the beginning of my sophomore year of high school, an accident resulted in my having a major concussion. How did it happen? I had leapt out of bed to the sound of my 6am morning alarm, got a head rush from getting up too fast, and fell sideways. My head landed with full body weight on the metal corner of the window air conditioner sitting on the floor, with the point lodged just above my left ear. Lights out. In an instant, a fluke accident resulted in a traumatic brain injury, and the lights stayed out for the next months. From that moment, I have no recollection of the following two months, and was on medical leave from school for the entire academic year. From the point where I have memories after I "woke up," I was without equilibrioception and proprioception, and confined to bed. I had near constant fire-like pain in my head. Due to how the brain interacts with light stimulation from the optic nerve, I was kept in a completely dark room for a month. The lights were still out, blocked by room darkening curtains. Eventually, natural light was permitted and gradually increased. After another month, the moratorium on “blue” light from electronics was finally lifted. Reunited with my phone and laptop, I felt joy and relief to express myself through typing and interacting with the world. My visual cortex was reawakened, and I experienced increased endorphins. Because I couldn't yet be mobile, I read books, books, and more books. This was the turning point: I could do something to help my healing process. I could use tech, reading and writing to heal and rehabilitate my brain. And when I had finally regained balance and spatial mobility, I took long, wonderful walks in the forest. I am learning as much as I can about TBI and brain healing. Challenges and setbacks make me all the more self-aware, stronger, and motivated to overcome any handicap or perceived failure.

Some Related Articles (there are many more):

+ Study reveals common products linked to most traumatic brain injuries in kids

+ How a high school concussion inspired a tech startup

+ The 8 Stages Of Having A Concussion: If you thought the worst part was the injury itself, you're sadly mistaken.

+ Traumatic Brain Injury; Explore the latest in traumatic brain injury, including the epidemiology, diagnosis, and management of concussion and traumatic encephalopathy.

= Types and Levels of Brain Injury

+ National Data and Statistical Center: Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems

+ MSKTC: Living with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Books (there are many more out there!):

+ Textbook of Traumatic Brain Injury (Silver)

+ Manual of Traumatic Brain Injury: Assessment and Management (Zollman)

+ Traumatic Brain Injury: Rehabilitation, Treatment, and Case Management (Ashley)

+ Brain Injury Medicine,: Principles and Practice (Zasler)

+ Lost in My Mind: Recovering From Traumatic Brain Injury (Bouldin Darmofal)

+ The Concussion Repair Manual: A Practical Guide to Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries (Engel)