It’s been a long hard road to recovery made more difficult I suppose because I have never really understood how bad the accident had been or how serious my injury is. It comes down to the fact that I have no memory of any of it. When they sent me home from the hospital (after 24hours) they signed me off work for a week, so I just thought that’s how long it was going to take. I went back to work a week after the accident and ended up progressively getting sicker and back at the doctors. I was told to rest for 3 weeks and then for another 2 weeks and then I insisted I was ok and should go back to work. With hindsight I should have been signed off for months, but I can be pigheaded, stubborn and very determined to get my own way at times. My doctor didn’t really stand a chance! I do however, believe he should have referred me back to the hospital a lot earlier than he had. I probably would have listened to them more! He finally referred me to a neurologist in November and they recommended an MRI, which I had in December, four months after the accident. It was only in mid December that I woke up one day and felt the ‘fog’ disappear. For four months I had been living in a horrendous hangover state, not being able to speak properly, stringing very disjointed sentences together, not particular helpful when your job is a teacher! Nobody told me that it was normal to be like this after a moderate head injury. I thought I had had a concussion and my knowledge of that was two weeks and you’re back to normal. The MRI showed that I had had a small bleed deep in the brain. It was then that I did some research to what a contusion of the brain is and how that differs to a concussion. As it turned out I had had both.
In January I saw the senior neurologist and they diagnosed me with Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS). My continued intense fatigue and difficulty concentrating and speaking were a result of this. At this point I was back at work 50% and sleeping all afternoon due to the strain of concentrating all morning. My life was all about being well enough to be in work each day. I needed to be in by 0730 so I was able to catch up with the previous afternoons lessons. To make sure I was on top of leaving appropriate cover for that day’s lessons I had to work through my breaks. It meant I was working a full 5/6 hours straight with no rest, except a quick loo stop. That’s difficult for a well person to do every day let alone someone with my condition. It was the only way I could get all the work completed. No wonder I was going home exhausted.
This continued until the strain of it all, doing more than I should have been became too much and I had a breakdown just before Easter. My brain couldn’t cope with the stress I was under at work and basically said no more. I became an emotional wreck, crying non stop for three days, when I could actually stay awake. My doctor was angry my recovery had been hampered by everything that had happen and demanded that I rest. It was decided that I needed to go to a rehabilitation centre so that I could completely rest my mind and body.
Today I started this next leg of this journey. It’s been emotional. I feel like the new kid at school, at a school where noone speaks my language. I can completely relate to the children now that come to us with no English. They’ve told me that I must learn German so they are only speaking to me in it, which I know is good but it has added to the stresses of the day. My one-one therapy sessions will be in English, otherwise this would be pointless.
A few years ago I paid to go for a weeks detox retreat in Spain, and this is similar to that except there are more therapy sessions which are tailored to my needs. I’ve not had a plan for next week yet and I have been given a very light day tomorrow. Today was all about settling in and resting. I have a very pleasant room with a great view of the lake, and I can see my flat in the distance.
Outside there is a mini golf course, a giant chess set and wonderful woods to walk, run and meditate in. It’s great to not worry about feeding myself, another thing I have really struggled with over the last 10 months. The food here is ok, but no mitchelin star restaurant!
I can come and go as I please when I don’t have scheduled therapy, I just have to sign out so they know who is in the building and also where everyone is. I have to sleep here during the week and the doors are locked at 2130, so I can have evenings out down in Zug if I like. Now I’m not at work I’m hoping the fatigue with abate a little and I can stay awake for full days. I’ll go home every weekend, which will be nice, pick up clean clothes and be in my own space. Initially they say I should be here for four weeks to really get the full benefit. I think once I’ve settled into the routine and have my programme that will be fine, I may not want to leave 😂.
Tomorrow I have sensory group therapy in the morning and then Laughter yoga in the afternoon. I’m interested to see how that goes! I’m open to the whole experience and it can only help make me better.
Without the support of my amazing friends here in Switzerland, back home to the UK and across the world I’m not sure if I would have made it this far. My family have been great as well, helping me through some tough days when I was so confused about everything and enduring all the tears I’ve shed. It must have been hard for them being so far away and feeling helpless to help. Also my virtual friends on Twitter have been great. Sharing their stories with me and being a great support network. Social media can be a positive way to connect with people and get good advice.
So as part of the therapy they said I should keep a diary so I’m going to do that on here. I know lots of friends want to know how I’m doing, I’ve really appreciated the messages I’ve recieved. I’m as intrigued as everyone else about this process and if my journey can help someone else who is suffering with PCS that all the better. The thing I have learnt in the last 10 months is that it’s ok to ask for help, it’s not a sign of weakness. Saying yes when someone reaches out to you is the right thing to do. Get rid of that stiff upper lip, and do what’s right for you. Embrace mindfulness, live in the moment, let go of the past. They’re all cliches but people practice them for a very good reason.
Join me tomorrow when I explain all about sensory therapy and laughter yoga!