Losing My Mind


You’ll have to excuse me if my typing on this particular blog isn’t up to my usual standard. I am writing this on a computer that isn’t really meant for this stuff, and it will be tomorrow or the next day before I can access my laptop, which is in my office. The doctors have told me I can’t drive until then, so here I am, stuck at home.

Those of you connected with me on Facebook will see that my last status posting had me celebrating a business-related Mexican dinner and a baseball game last night with Shelly, the Mendenhalls and others from my department. We had a great dinner, then headed off to watch the Fort Worth Cats play.

It was hot, but not unbearably so. About two innings in, my back began to cramp up on me, and Shelly’s legs were bothering her, so we got up to walk around a bit. What I usually do when my back hurts is to lean against something–a railing, a car, or a bed–and stretch out my lower back. I did so a couple of time while we were walking around, and I started feeling better. We stopped and each bought a snow cone to help us cool off and went to sit down again.

At the end of the fourth inning, I felt like I needed to stretch my back again, so I left Shelly sitting and walked up to the top of the stairs to the mezzanine and once again stood facing the baseball diamond, leaning on a small concrete wall while I stretched my back. I felt lightheaded, so I leaned against the wall, waiting for the dizziness to pass. It didn’t, but I did.

The next thing I knew, there were strange faces around me asking me questions. I was lying on the ground, and I had a dull ache in the back of my head. Someone told me that I had passed out and fallen and hit my head hard on the concrete floor. I remember them asking me if I knew where I was, what day it was, and what I was doing. Some of the questions I could answer with some difficulty, but most of them ended with me drawing a blank. The next hour was a blur as I was driven via ambulance to the Harris Methodist downtown Trauma Center. I tried to talk to the EMTs in the ambulance, thinking that if I kept talking I would begin remembering details of the night. They strapped an EKG to my chest on the way, then when I got to the trauma center, they took those wires off and added new wires. Then they took me in for a CAT scan.

In the end, they said that the two EKGs were consistent, and that the CAT scan was normal. We were in the hospital until 1 a.m. Their final, official diagnosis was that I had fainted, and my own theory is that I was dehydrated. I say that because the last thing they had me do–or try to do–was try to pee, but it took a long while for me to be able to get anything out.

I was determined that they wouldn’t keep me overnight: too many bad memories there. And so I was glad when we were able to go home. This morning when I got up I felt like I had been hit by a truck, a great deal of it hitting the back of my head, which had a raised lump on it about half the size of my palm. Today I had a hard time focusing my eyes, and struggled with dizziness and nausea all morning. But by the time evening came around–right about now–I was feeling a lot closer to normal.

As a writer, I always look at experiences–bad or good–as fodder for writing. Beyond the sore back and neck, the bruised elbow and swollen, lumpy head, I am amazed at the experience of losing my ability to remember anything. My son Matt went through a Traumatic Brain Injury 11 years ago, many of the results of which he is still suffering. One of his symptoms is that he has lost his memory for a six-month period, including the time when he graduated from Southwestern. It’s one thing to logically hear what someone is going through; it’s another to experience it, even if it is fleeting and only a small part of it.

I am getting better by the minute. I have a doctor’s appointment with me regular doctor for next week. I hope that at that time we can figure out what happened. But it could have been worse, much worse. I am glad I am not still at the Trauma Center or elsewhere in the hospital.

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