With a Black Eye, I went home trusting the doctors. My head felt like it was going to explode. I was not too far off.

I have sporadic memory of the ambulance transfer. My first week in hospital, the room, my roommate, initial caregivers are all mythical to me. Once initial test results were analyzed I was assigned to the necessary intensive care of Neurosurgery Station 44.

Despite the memory loss, no trauma could hamper my recollection of repeated cranial MRI scans.  Obviously a completely safe medical procedure, there was nothing which could convince my traumatized brain that once shuttled into the narrow cylinder, I would not disappear into oblivion. Every click and buzz pulsating louder with each staggered movement which dragged the narrow stretcher into the terrifying tube was in fact the MRI monster biting, gnawing and then swallowing me; never to be seen again.

Imaging showed a cerebral trauma with acute subdural hematoma and cerebral contusions of the right frontal lobe and traumatic fractures of the orbital.  Essentially, my brain had been bleeding and swelling while I was home alone with a black eye. As the medical focus turned to my brain, little attention was given to my eyes. I was assured that the black eye would settle and my my vision would be back to normal within a few weeks when the blood cleared from in, around and behind my right eye. However, blood mysteriously crept across my face and into my left eye.

To monitor the bleeding and swelling of my brain, the MRI monster got to eat me up again and again until each subsided and doctors felt I was in the clear. My black eye however, has never cleared; never reopened and the movement of my left is hampered. The area of the brain that was damaged, not only  limited my vision, resulted in cognitive deficits (e.g. attention, concentration, processing information, communication, working memory and flexible thinking), and diminished my appetite.

Unable to comprehend how serious my injuries were and accept that brain injuries do not have timelines, I needed a schedule, an articulated timetable in precise chronological order that would direct me back to the trail of life as it was September 2. I pointed fingers at cultural differences and language barriers when simply needed support to accept that my TBI was as unique as every other. From the instant the fateful ball struck, my anxiety remained on high. Anxious, fearing others might consider me lazy, when all I felt I could do successfully was take up space on a hospital bed. I struggled with guilt knowing visitors had wholehearted intentions yet the thought of conversation was wearing.

Like a repetitive nightmare, the constant coming and going of emergency helicopters served as entertainment for visitors while the noise was piercing, penetrating to the point of tears. Medical monitors, hallway carts, cleaning carriages, television noise, the slightest sounds irritated; I just wanted silence.

I needed time to heal physically and emotionally. I never did feel at ease with my neurosurgical team. I was not a cut and dry case and felt an unwelcome challenge for them. I was a non-German speaking foreigner passed around like a cold in a kindergarten classroom, from one specialist to another; I felt misplaced and disheartened.  I have no problem being different though hearing that no one had ever come across such a unique case of medical complications was of no comfort. From these early weeks it felt a disjointed mess; so many pieces of a jigsaw yet none were fitting together.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Martin says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It was amazing to meet you, you do more with less than many fully abled people even attempt.
    Have you read JJ Virgin’s miracle mindset? it is available on audible ?
    Martin, Tarras

    • mountainsofmymind says:

      Thanks so much for your affirmations Martin. My time in the tranquility of Tarras certainly lent itself to quality time on trails and quiet reflection.
      I appreciate your recommendation; You Are Stronger Than You Think poses a simple yet powerful reminder which I too often need.
      Thanks for reading and following my trails and for making me feel so welcome in Otago 😉

    • Jill Wheatley says:

      Thanks for reading and connecting Ellie, Rudra and Deepika!

      I hope this finds you healthy and following a trail that inspires you in Germany.

      Thinking of you with gratitude from the Nepal Himalayas,