Second Concussion Syndrome – a Sudden Wrench thrown into the Workings of Life

(This post was written last year)

I had a slew of plans for this October. A big VJ gig, launching a ton of new articles for this website, band rehearsals and songwriting… then a metal stand smashed into my head in the exact same place I was bashed late last January, so I have a second concussion, and therefore, second concussion syndrome.

How does one treat a concussion? Physical and cognitive rest, and no computer screens. Um, yeah. Working on computers is what I do. But the white-blue light really hurts, and this fragile land of headaches won’t ever stop if I don’t do this healing thing right.

Second Concussion Syndrome - Symptoms and Treatment

Light is now an extreme sport

I saw a light outside the window yesterday evening, and couldn’t help but glance right into a blinding white LED flashlight. Wow, I saw stars for several minutes. Earlier in the afternoon, I was taking a photo and aimed sort of near the sun… darn. Saw trailers for a moment. Fun times. I had to go to work last week, and even with as little computer time and shortest hours possible, it was painful doing little things like scrolling on the screen, or really focussing, or basically being near the screen for more than 5 minutes.

So here I am, typing without looking at a small screen which has the brightness turned down to the lowest setting, but still only in 5 minutes shifts every hour.

Weird concussion symptoms that I might not have thought of until I’ve been experiencing them:

Complete lack of memory. Even worse than usual
Trailing off, blanking mid-thought
Writing the second letter of a word first, then having to go back. Usually I only do this when sick or incredibly exhausted, but now it happens several times per page
I’m paranoid on stairs, feeling like I’m going to fall, because my balance is very slightly off
Random and extreme headaches
Slight and persistent headaches
Cringing away from light, sometimes even tiny green LEDs. White and blue lights (computer screens above 1% brightness) are the worst. (I’ve been putting masking tape over indicator lights.)
Attention span is completely sporadic
The sudden bouts of unprovoked exhaustion are fascinating
In short, this healing cycle is weird, disturbing, and throwing me completely off. I can happily take a day off, but several weeks? Barely use a computer, and watch almost no TV? Ridiculous. What on earth am I supposed to do?

I’ve actually been handwriting lyrics and poetry. Taking photos. Staring at trees.

I miss singing. Belting my voice full blast shakes out stress, feels good,stretches my lungs. But no, it rattles the little bones in your skull, so none of that for the next month.

Luckily, I did the same Halloween VJ gig last year, so have 97% of the content already prepared, yet have learned some new tricks and filters this year, so I can update most things to look new. I’ve been working on the files for about ten minutes a day, and am planning to set a lot of things up on auto-shuffle, so that I don’t have to look into the lights very much. Overplanning is helping me avoid most screen time.  I’m also going to have others on hand to help me check the focus, and keep an eye on the quality. For once, I’m not going to be afraid to ask for help. I’m really going to need it. I’m also not going to even attempt to be a perfectionist. It will look good, that is going to be good enough.

This has been a very odd adjustment period, and I cannot play Plants vs. Zombies to destress from it. Annoying. All I can do is keep at it, and hope my brain heals quickly and completely.

This post has taken me much longer than usual to write, and I’m about to ask someone else to proofread it, since I cannot focus right into the laptop. (Thanks, Mike!) Again, annoying. But being kind to my brain will eventually stop the pain, and that really must be my only goal this month.

Have you suffered from Second Concussion Syndrome? What weird wrench has been thrown into your life lately? Comment!

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