Saturday, October 17, 2009
Did It Leave a Mark?
When I was 16, I was in a drama class. We wrote a play and were in rehearsals one afternoon after school, when I was kicked in the head. It was completely accidental, during a fight scene, but it was a pretty hard foot to my noggin. I brushed myself off while the kicker kept apologizing and we carried on with the rehearsal. 20 minutes later, I was feeling not so good, seeing those black spots before my eyes getting larger and larger until I was momentarily blind. I thought I was on the verge of passing out so sat down and my vision quickly returned.
I really didn't give it a second thought as there was no headache and my vision stayed fine for the rest of the day. The next morning, after getting up I went in to see my mother. I started to faint and the next thing I knew, she and Dad were helping me into my bed. My stomach was beginning to display unpleasant behaviour at that point and my folks determined I was to stay home from school for the day. I hadn't told them about the kick to the head; either it didn't occur to me to tell them or I forgot. And I didn't put the kick together with the fainting, vision loss, or sick stomach. We chalked it up to the fact that I was burning the candle at both ends.
In fact, until this week, I simply remembered the events as they occurred. Then I was watching a report on TV about football players, concussions, and the higher incidence of certain neurologic conditions in players with many concussions. The light went on over my head and I suddenly realized I had probably suffered a concussion myself, albeit 30 years ago.
There's a piece of my medical history I had completely ignored (of course, I han't realized it was part of my medical history) but one that I will talk to the clinic about next week. Any injury to our brain forever alters it to a degree. That's not to say that any brain injury cannot be overcome. Everything we eat, breathe, or do to and with our bodies affects the brain and can alter it. So can even simple concussions.
There is some evidence to suggest that a traumatic brain injury may partly contribute to the development of MS, but the current information isn't sufficient to say one causes the other. And most recently, dysfunctional brain blood flow and/or drainage may also contribute to MS. Maybe my apparent concussion 30 years ago did permanent damage to my brain, opening the door to those dreaded viruses we hear about that may be linked to MS. It was almost a year after the kick to the head that I came down with mono - caused by the Epstein Barr Virus. Sadly, I got the kissing disease, but not from kissing someone.
I called my mom last night to tell her about the kick to the head; it was news to her, of course. I also wonder, from time to time, about my classmate and fellow actor, JT. Does he remember kicking me in the head?