Pause… Stop… Rewind…
As you know by now, on February 28, 2011, I suffered a fairly decent “concussion.” It was identified as a subdural hematoma. Despite the injury, I did have fun getting it! My husband, two daughters and I were night skiing at a local, ski slope, trying to get one more ski in before our house projects dominated and the spring melt began (it was also an attempt for me to be done working for the day…10 hours on a Monday!?). It would glamorize my story if I told you that we were downhill skiing in the Swiss Alps or even the Rocky Mountains. But no, our ski hill is just a minor hiccup on the surface of the beautiful Minnesota terrain.
My husband, who could sell a single, dirty, sock to anyone… can truly make anything fun (as he edited this for me, he actually tried to think of how he would sell that sock!). So, with the snow on its last attempts of providing a decent ski-run, we dutifully ventured to the top of each slope. Not expecting the sophistication of light powder of the mountains on our frozen packed snow, my husband managed to create a sort of ‘follow the leader’ game to make it more fun on the icy runs. The challenge was for each of us to take turns trying to lead the others on a new, adventurous path to ski down the hill.
Eddie was the leader this time. We all followed him to a hidden path… or what we thought was a path. Lydia was in front of me and stopped to get her bearings and find the exit where Eddie and Lucie were heading. I took the opportunity to race ahead around them in an effort to up the challenge of the game. Instead, I went onto a direction of the path that truly didn’t exist. Because of poor eyesight, poor lighting and a broken down barrier, I unexpectedly flew forward off a 12 foot drop. In a nutshell, I did the coolest and craziest ski-stunt of my life with no one watching… not one part of my body touched the ground, until the back of my head did. No broken bones, no bruises, no helmet… just one nice brain-bleed.
Now we all grew up experiencing a concussion or two, right? As I laid there on the icy snow, I felt this sort of electrical zing travel from my head to my toes; from my head to my fingertips; from my head…
What seemed like long minutes later, I felt my girls standing near me… somewhere… I heard their voices. The first thing I saw was my husband’s face. He looked mad (which is how he looks when he’s concerned and he can’t fix things). That is also my internal cue to secretly smooth things over (remember my past?). So deep inside my snow gear, I quickly wiggled my extremities making sure they worked. I then tried to get up from a locked back-bend (my ski boots held me in a permanent position trapped in my ski bindings)… to show my family that I was alright.
Sweet, little arms helped me up as I began realizing what just happened. Normally, I would have fought the woozy sensations and incessant tingling and caught the next chair lift up to a new slope… just to prove to myself that I was fine. But something was different… my husband’s face told me that. We told the girls that I needed to be done for the night… that I probably had a little concussion… and it was almost closing time anyway. We had had a great time. We actually did something fun during the week… so let’s just go home.
Home. Bed… quickly. Family prayers. Lights out.
4:00a… our eldest, Lucie, was calling me from her bedroom downstairs. In a bit of a frantic shuffle, I jumped out of bed and started down the stairs… but they were moving… everywhere. I slinked to my belly and crawled down the remaining stairs and to her room. It was quiet. She was soundly sleeping… but her room was like being in a snow-globe. What was happening? “Lucie! Can you get your dad? I’m not sure I can walk.” Still no response. Was I not really saying anything? I thought for sure I was yelling that at the top of my lungs from the floor right by her bed?! Why couldn’t she hear me?
I began slithering back upstairs… calling for my husband. He woke and found me… and was again mad (24 years of marriage have taught me that this is his emotion for fear and/or lack of control). Again, I tried to smooth it over… “Well, now we know it truly was a concussion. Maybe I shouldn’t drive to school (work) today. Can you wake me in a couple hours … then drive me there?”
Sleep again. Lights out.
6:00a… I cannot wake up. Cannot. But I have to. Fine… I’ll write some substitute lesson plans if Eddie can just set me up at the computer. I start typing… everything is moving again… dang… I run to the bathroom… throw-up #1. Now what was I doing again? Eddie guides me back to bed… with a bucket this time instead of my computer. No work today. Ugh… there was so much to do in the next 4 days of work – teaching, testing, training, report cards, meeting planning/leading, parent/teacher conferences – I couldn’t miss today. I just couldn’t.
From the other room, I could hear Eddie rearranging the day’s events for the girls, Lydia (8) and Lucie (12). Throw-ups #2, 3, 4 and 5. Then back to sleep.
9:00a… I woke up ready to throw up again… but I couldn’t find the bucket? I could hear the girls giggling in the room next door and was mad that Eddie had left them home with me. I didn’t feel up to being a mom today… much less a mom who cared how they spent their day not attending school! “Lucie!” Three more shouts and finally she came to my room. “Please find the bucket… I think I am going to throw-up again.”
“Mom, it’s right there. Right by your bed.”
“Where?” I started throwing up and the bed started spinning, finding the bucket was hopeless because it too was spinning.
“I got it, Mom. Hold still.” She realized that something wasn’t right as I tried to move to the magical ‘moving’ bucket. Throw-up #6. Yuck! Poor kid… trying to understand the chaos that was gradually driving the course of our day.
10:00a… the phone was ringing. Had I fallen asleep? It was Eddie. He was checking in on me and trying to make sense of what Lucie had called and explained to him. “You really should call a doctor, Lisa. You should at least talk to a nurse at the clinic and see what you should do.” Seriously, what I should do…??? I am glued to my bed for fear of the swiftly moving carpet that lies below. “I’m not going anywhere!” I hung up on him.
“Lucie! Bucket!” Throw-ups #7 and 8… barely made it in the bucket… it’s constantly moving faster now. Without Lucie holding it and now Lydia holding my body still… it would have been a mess.
11:30a… woke up… kinda. The girls were in my room asking me something, but I couldn’t stay awake. “Mom…” Asleep again.
12:00 noon… Eddie’s call woke me up. “What did the doctor say?”
“Didn’t you call the clinic yet, Lisa?”
“Seriously, would you quit calling me? I am so tired. You keep waking me and I just need everyone to leave me…. (throw-up #9)… alone.” I hung up on him again. What an idiot, he makes me so mad!
12:30… Eddie woke me up again with a call!!! “Ed, can you just leave me alone!?! Why did you leave me home with the girls?”
“Lisa, did you call the clinic?? Some friends at work are telling me that this could be pretty serious. Someone just died from something like this… but it happened slowly over a couple days…” LIGHT BULB! He realized what he was saying… I continued to throw-up while he was on speaker phone. As the girls helped me with our new ‘team effort’ of regurgitation, they told their dad the gory details of our morning. They could also see that my belligerent attitude towards him was very unusual… in fact my entire personality was off. Together they decided to make plans to get me to the ER. “I’m calling an ambulance, girls, don’t worry, just stay with your mama. I’ll meet the ambulance at the house” I heard my husband saying.
“No ambulance!” I quickly joined the dreamy conversation they were all having around me. “I’m NOT riding at the mercy of some ambulance… it will make me sick. I don’t want to vomit anymore! Ed, if you want me to go so badly, why don’t you come take me yourself so I can tell you how to drive?!”
I snapped at him one more time and that was it. He was on his way home.
Throw-up #11? or 12? or 13? Whatever, I’m just going to sleep… everybody just leave me alone!
Fear… confusion… Just remember, Lisa, “It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8