Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Schizophrenia and Concussion

I haven't got concussion, by the way.  I did fall over when I was walking the dog yesterday, but I didn't hit my head. 

I was being a Good Samaritan.  A lady was standing with her dog, both peering helplessly into the bushes so instead of walking past blankly I stopped to ask whether she was ok.  She had accidentally thrown the dog's ball into the hedge and couldn't reach it, mainly because the hedge was full of brambles.

'I've got gloves on,' I said.  'I can do it'. 

She trod on a bramble, I pulled some others out of the way, dived in (it wasn't easy) and picked up the ball.  I felt pleased with myself when I grasped it, but then for some reason I let it go.  It fell further forward, well within reach, but I remember being vauguely annoyed that I had dropped it.  My next thought was rather different - I was about to hit the ground.  I have no memory of why I fell.  I only noticed I was falling when I was very close to the ground - I remember reaching out with my hands to break my fall, pulling myself up to sitting quite quickly, then remaining still on the ground feeling the world spin around me. 

So much for being a Good Samaritan.  The other dog walker was very concerned - wanted to help me get up, but I said I would rather just sit there for a moment.  I felt so foolish.  When the spinning stopped I got up as quickly as I could, and limped off.

The main thing I thought was how old I suddenly felt.  It had all happened so quickly.  This must be how old people fall - unexpectedly, with no awareness.  Unable to figure out why, except that they must be getting old.  It was also a reminder of how unpredictable the world can be - one minute we are fine, the next we are all shaken up, and there is no way of knowing in advance.  I decided that my foot must have become tangled in the brambles as I tried to stand up - although there hadn't been a bramble around my foot when I looked.  I needed an explanation.

I brushed the thing off, but I must have been shaken, because I was out of sorts for the rest of the afternoon.  I went to my book group in the evening, and had a good time, but at the back of my mind something still felt not quite right.  By the time I got home and went to bed I felt dizzy and had a headache. 

I woke up fine.  I have some bruising on my arm and back, but I always bruise very easily.  I am a bit achey and stiff, but I knew that would soon wear off.  But then I dropped a magazine in the hallway, and had to bend down to retrieve it.  The dog rushed up delighted, sniffing and licking around my head.  I laughed at her, started to stand up - and felt dizzy again.  And I have been dizzy for the rest of the morning since. 

I tried to make an appointment with the GP, but the line was busy.  And actually I am quite glad I didn't rush down there.  I think I either have low blood pressure (I usually do) or an ear infection.  Or - I have psychosomatic symptoms.  This is something I always try to assess before I visit the GP.  Can they do something practical to help?  If it is low blood pressure, then no - if it is an ear infection then yes.   Fifty fifty each way.

 And - this is the big one - if it is just in my mind?  I have found over the years that a lot of stuff has been in my mind - that I am overly tuned in to the vagaries of my body and I tend to exaggerate the seriousness of what I am feeling.  The fact that I have been through the psychiatric system affects my attitude to medicine - I will explain this properly in another post, when I am feeling more compos mentis.

At this time of year the surgery waiting room is likely to be packed with people suffering from colds and coughs and other viral stuff.  Toddler and I would have to wait in there for an least an hour, putting him at risk of catching something (and then spreading it to the rest of the family, just in time for the half term holiday).  And the likelihood is that I have nothing seriously wrong with me at all.  Even if the dizziness is from the after effects of the fall, it will soon wear off.  If it is an ear infection making me dizzy, and that is why I fell in the first place, I will survive until tomorrow.

I won't go swimming though.  I had an infection in my inner ear (or was it middle ear?) once, called labyrinthitis.  The GP who gave me antibiotics said that the biggest danger of an infection like this was that you were likely to lose your sense of direction if you were swimming underwater - you would think you were heading to the surface to take a breath, but end up just going deeper and drowning.  I shuddered to think of this - I have always been a regular swimmer and even now I like to swim under the water sometimes, to see how far I can go without breathing.

Anyway.  I find that I keep in a lot better physical shape these days if I stay away from the doctor's surgery.  So I am going to have a nice quiet day at home with Toddler - lots of rest, plenty to eat, and I am sure that I will be fine.  If not, I will go the surgery tomorrow and get checked out. 

Apologies for the me, me, me tack of this post.  I always get like that when I feel under the weather.  Normal service will resume soon.


  1. I do want to hear about your medicine aversions, for I have them as well. I am curious to see how you put it.

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