Lessons From My Concussion

Late at night on Nov 2nd, I hit the back right side of my head above my ear, hard enough to wake my sleeping wife. It hurt a lot and I felt dizzy but I didn’t think anything of it. My wife told me that I probably had a concussion but I thought she was probably overreacting in her concerns for my health. I took some Tylenol, or similar painkiller, along with some melatonin, and went to bed in pain shortly after.

I woke up feeling better but still had localized pain and went about my day. I had a long day of online teaching ahead of me. At first, I felt I was ok but by the end of it, I started feeling nauseated and in a lot of pain. I cancelled my last few students and decided to try to rest. The following day I also felt unwell so I cancelled my students. It took me some time to realize that this was more serious than I initially thought, which in retrospect is probably why I am still here now dealing with repercussions of this accident.

I never knew how serious concussions were and today on Dec 16, I’m still dealing with symptoms and have to force myself to rest on a regular basis, otherwise my symptoms get much worse and last for a prolonged period of time.

Here are some things that I’ve learned since then, that I wish I would have known before:

  • If you hit your head badly, go see your family doctor, as they deal with this kind of problem more frequently than most health professionals.
  • Get disability insurance
  • According to my athletic therapist, concussion symptoms that last for a month are often caused by one or more of the following things:
    • a problem with the eyes
    • a problem with the neck
    • a problem with the inner ear
  • Most regular activities we do on a daily basis can cause symptoms to worsen and setbacks in recovery

For myself, it seems like the only thing that helps is taking breaks at regular intervals. During these breaks, I wear a blindfold as visual stimulation causes my symptoms to worsen. I can now listen to a podcast while I rest but at first it felt like nothing would completely relieve the pain. If I don’t regularly take these breaks the pain becomes unbearable. Here is a chart I was given from a health professional as a guide to follow with regard to resting.


I’ve had at least one setback which was really discouraging as I started having prolonged periods where my head felt normal again. Unfortunately, I too rapidly tried to resume normal life and after a few days of using my phone and computer heavily, I was in a terrible condition and had to rest for a prolonged period of time.

I think the hardest thing for me is having to be idle and doing nothing for prolonged periods of time. I want to get back to gigging, teaching, practicing regularly, and being able to use my phone or computer whenever I want.

I suppose some of the positive things that have come from this are; realizing how much time I was wasting scrolling; and discovering an interesting podcast on history called The Fall of Civilizations. Do you have any recommendations for podcasts to check out?

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