First Hand: Tressa Stokes

Another installment of our first hand accounts series.  You won’t believe how this injury happened, sit down and have a read.

As written by Tressa Stokes

Rack em’ Up (or down)!

I like my routine.  My routine is good.   However, after this particular day, my routine would never be the same.

I like to begin my days like most of you, with a hot cup of coffee, a familiar couch or chair and maybe a few minutes of morning news before I begin getting ready for the work day.

On this particular day, the twenty-pound set of Elk antlers mounted on the wall directly above my couch, decided to dismount from the wall as I sat below them.

As the antlers fell from the wall, I felt them strike the top of my head.  The pain, though intense, didn’t cause me to black out.  I immediately felt an uncontrollable shaking from the left side of my body.  Shortly after the shaking began I felt a brilliant pain, that I would later realize, would last much longer than the temporary shaking.

Perhaps the best way to describe the pain would be for you to imagine a red-hot iron fire poker.  Now imagine this scalding poker lodged inside your skull.

With no other sign of serious trouble, other than a lump on my head, I decided to lie down for an hour and eventually begin to feel the excruciating pain in my head subsiding.  After the hour had passed, I still had some pain in my head, but who wouldn’t?  I chose to continue on about my day and go into work.    I know this decision might shock some of you, but my thoughts were “It’s similar to a broken toe, there’s not much I can do for it, except deal with it.”   Little did I know that this injury had effected my decision making ability, and this would be the first of many irrational thoughts that follow.

Driving to work seemed to be more of an experience than usual.  Reflecting back on that drive, everything about it seemed to appear to me in slow motion.  After I arrived at work, things didn’t get much better.  I sat at my desk for what seemed like hours, not knowing what to do or where to begin my work.

One thing I was certain of, was that as this work day came to a close, the upcoming vacation I had planned would begin!  I slowly begin to convince myself that my inability to concentrate and the fact that I was having difficulties being constructive was not only because of my rough morning, but also because I could have been subconsciously preoccupied with my upcoming vacation.  Perhaps this vacation is just what I need I thought.  I will spend the next few days golfing and relaxing, then return to work several days later “good as new!”

My husband and I left that afternoon for what would be a six hour drive.  I was trying to remain excited about this trip, but now I was unable to relax and couldn’t stop thinking about my inability to concentrate.  As my husband drove, I was able to take the opportunity to get some much needed sleep.

The next couple days, my sleeping habits seemed unusual.  I had difficulty sleeping at night, but I rationalized this by telling myself it was because I had began this vacation by sleeping and that was the reason for these awkward sleep patterns.

After returning from my vacation, things still didn’t seem completely back to normal and I decided it would be best to officially seek medical attention.

I was diagnosed with a concussion and was told to take it easy.  I did take it easier,  but not probably not “easy enough.”  Though I was taking it easy, I proceeded with my routine and continued to go to work.

A week had passed when a co-worker noticed that I appeared to be having trouble finishing sentences and remembering simple tasks.

I was urged to return to the doctor and from there referred to Melinda Roalstad MS,PAC.

I feel fortunate to have found Melinda!  After meeting with her and discussing certain symptoms, it seemed as if she knew exactly how I was feeling and the information she has been able to provide me is helping me on my way to recovery!

At times, this experience is the scariest thing I have ever had to go through.  If it wasn’t for my family and co-workers, I’m not sure what, if any progress I would have made.

I continue to make an appointment with her once a week to return for testing and follow ups.

My experience, or any head injury for that matter can be traumatic, but I feel fortunate to have been able to get the help I need. I know that these types of injuries cannot be healed overnight and I realize that it will take monitoring and tests, but it makes me happy to know that I’m on my way to a full recovery!

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