Yesterday, I did a really stupid thing. I got into someone’s car without looking, and she had wood piled up that stuck out between the driver and passenger seats. It banged into the space just under my occipital bone, and after four or five hours of all the symptoms of brain injury, I decided that to fall asleep before having a CT scan would have been the second stupid thing… and as Florence Capp said, “the next best thing to doing something smart is not doing something stupid.” However, I didn’t do the smartest thing- I drove myself to the ER. I made it both there and home by being extraordinarily careful, but I’m going to say for the record that I should have gotten someone to drive me. That’s because as my brain started to swell larger, I thought, “this is bad on so many levels.” I could have called said friend, but she lives in Fairfax, VA- not exactly conducive to getting to me and I didn’t want to put her out. On second thought, I should’ve.
When I Googled “Silver Spring ER,” the closest was 25 minutes away. I didn’t go to Urgent Care because I wasn’t sure they’d have a CT scanner and I’d have to be transferred, anyway, and I WAS intelligent enough to realize THAT.
It was not without certain… problems. They wanted to do a urine screen to make sure I wasn’t pregnant before they did the scan, and they seriously made me carry the locked container around until the sample was about to spoil. Then, three hours later, I realized that my semi-permanent earrings were a bitch to remove, and I got all of them out eventually save one, which my attendant taped. Why I didn’t just let him tape all of them, I do not know. What can I say? Not the sharpest knife in the drawer with my condition and the time of morning. Probably because the attendant was Muslim and I wanted to be respectful and not make him touch me more than he had to. Perhaps liberal Muslim men do not have a restriction on touching women they don’t know, but I didn’t think of that, either.
Speaking of my earrings, I gushed inside when a gaggle of teenage girls said they were cool at Chipotle, unprovoked. They specifically sought me out to compliment me. Being thought of as cool by teenagers is not a life goal, but traditionally them thinking any adults have something good going on seems rare. I mean, I passed 30 long ago, which generally renders me worthy of an eyeroll, or at the very least, invisibility.
I definitely felt uncool carrying around a cup of piss at three in the morning.
The only good part of the experience was finding a ton of change in my backpack, enough for all the Diet Cokes I could drink, which ended up being two, but I should have bought more, because they were cheaper than going to the store.😛
When I finally got the results, the doctor assured me that I did not have a bleed, but the headache and muscle stiffness was going to get a lot worse before it got better, which I have found to be true. She then handed me three prescriptions; one was for percocet, one was for robaxin, and one was for Motrin 600. I didn’t fill the Motrin because I had a thousand ibuprofen at home and I can count.
Even with all that, my head and neck still ache, the first time that even lying down hurts, because I’m putting pressure on my head. I should check whether the percocet naturally is a 12-hour dose, or whether it’s an extended release, because if it isn’t, I can at least cut them in half and get a fresh injection of relief every six.
It doesn’t specifically say “XR,” but the last thing I want is to accidentally kill myself, which would be a third stupid thing in less than that many days.
It feels like a cruel world when I have so much other emotional shit to deal with, but at least the medication makes it where I don’t care about anything, much less something specific.
With my mother falling and dying, I didn’t want to think that I was overreacting, so I waited about four hours to see if it was a thing before I went in. Perhaps that was a mistake, or perhaps it was common sense. I Googled brain injury first and took some Tylenol, but I made sure to tell the triage nurse I’d taken it. The acetaminophen wore off about the time I actually got the CT, but the sponge pillow on the table helped.
I also learned that I’ve gained weight, but not in a bad way. The last time I had it checked, I was 118. Now I’m a buck twenty and some change. I don’t want to go much higher than that because I’m so short, but at least I am getting to a healthy size instead of feeling scrawny. For people who are anxious and depressed, it is often just as hard to gain weight as it is to lose it. Where I really struggle is muscle mass, because I don’t have enough motivation to work out… therefore, I am constantly winded and feel like weak sauce.
There’s a great podcast called “Podrunner” that I want to start again because it’s cooler- a superior introduction to working out because it starts at “couch to 5k.” I have been a casual runner since I was 18, which I remember with clarity because I started to bulk up for skiing and nearly jumped out of my skin with pain the first time I locked in my boots because I didn’t know I had shin splints. If there’s anything that would get me motivated into running, it would be the promise of a ski trip at the end. I love to ski, mostly because I’m such a klutz that I was surprised at how good I am at it. The first time, I went from greens to blues in less than a week.
I still haven’t tried a black diamond, and it is not a goal, because I enjoy skiing without being afraid of it and I’d like to continue that trend. Coming down the mountain with speed is thrill enough. I don’t want to take the lift up to a black diamond and be utterly afraid to come down, like climbing the ladder to the highest diving board and looking down at the water before you jump. I always end up diving, though, because I am not good with ladders and coming up is less scary than trying to climb back down. It would probably be the same with skiing, because I’ve never noticed a lift that carries people downward. There is no going back, only through.
If that isn’t a metaphor for life, I’m really not sure what would be. My grief is acute because even though my mom couldn’t help with the medical part, she would be a superstar in terms of listening or coming up and driving me around. I can’t believe she just retired last school year and she didn’t even get a chance to really settle in and enjoy it. On the flip side, the last time we talked, she was extraordinarily bored… not that the solution to ennui is death (N is for Neville, who died of ennui), but it must be fascinating to “watch me on TV.” I am nothing if not a constant source of amusement. Last night, I forgot she was dead and told the doctor and the triage nurse that if I was pregnant, I’d have to call my mom with an “I’ve had an immaculate conception” speech, because I promise you, that is the only logical conclusion one could make from my monk-like existence.
You would think that I’d miss that kind of intimacy by now, and you would be wrong. Between the medication that I’m taking and my utter lack of drive to put myself out there as available, I have no need. I put myself out there to meet people in the area and have had good success in finding friends, but there’s been no one that has lit up my insides. The memory of it is enough. I simply have a fear of flying… but when I get over it, I want Diana Gabaldon hot, which is scorching in temperature even on the page, much less watching it on screen.
Because I take it back. Wanting sex, for me, has never come from the drive itself, but from the drive to know someone. There’s no one I want to know THAT WELL.
But there will be, eventually. It wouldn’t be fair to any potential anything to drag them into my freak show of a life right now. You’ll just have to wait for the blog entry. I know I do.