I was a school counselor for 12 years and a classroom teacher for 12 before that. I received my 9th concussion while skiing up in Duluth back in 2015.
My first 8 were:
- Falling off of 1 level roof when I was around 6 years
- Again a short while later
- Fell off the roof of the family van headfirst on concrete
- Fell off a 40' wall at Estes Park Welcome Center the next summer
- Family car accident when I was in 7th gr
- Football, age 16-first one not knocked out-remember all of play
- Football, 2 days later-I was out but consciously talking. The team left me on the field and moved practice over. I 'came to' in the process of walking back to the locker rm when one of my buddies asked me, "how ya doin'? I replied, "good, why?" "Well, you were down on the field for 45 min." "I was?" He left me and went to get the coach. He asked me, "you don't remember anything?" I said "no." He called my mom and told her about it...that was my last day of football. She had called the hospital and they said "no more contact sports. We can't guarantee another blow to the head."
- Water skiing with in-laws, not knocked out
I just started to lose track of things
I had started to forget some things at work--class lesson times or mixing times up, repeating lessons, repeating things said, not remembering to say certain things, etc. I had been seeing a neurologist since the last concussion. They did tests, brain scans, MRIs and short-term memory/cognition tests. The neurologist said I qualified for disability, so I left work on our youngest son's 20th birthday to go see him up at college. I've always been interested in brain research. Can you guess why?
I just can't function (all the time)
It's somewhat frustrating to my wife of 35 years because I just can't function, remember things or forget things often. I couldn't follow the storylines on tv shows. I could drive, but did screw up and get lost a few times on my own. People wouldn't know by talking with me or my interactions. So, when my wife would bring up things later to them the got the, "oh my, I'm so sorry to hear that. That must be tough on you." My kids can deal with my stuff with humor. I'm able to laugh with them. I don't exercise at all. I tried a drug from neurologist for a few months, but side effects were too much for me...diarrhea and trouble sleeping due to wild dreams.
Concussion number 9
The last concussion with my wife and kids snow skiing up at Duluth for our daughter's bday we had rented one of the cabins up at the top of the hill. My older son asked me if I wanted to do 1 more run and I said, "sure." Well, you guessed it, I wiped out and I was out--functioning, but out. My son came back up to me when he saw that I was struggling getting my ski on. He held my arm to balance. "C'mon dad?!" We skied the rest of that run, chair lifted to another run, did that one and chair lifted up to the top. He skied down to our cabin ahead of me. He went into the cabin crying, so his mom thought he was hurt. He replied, "No, it's not me, it's dad. He wiped out and he's been talking gibberish and repeating himself on the chairlifts." She came out to get me and asked "are you ok?" I said I just wanted to lie down and rest. She said, "no, you can't do that, you might go into a coma." I told her "no, that's now how it works. I need to rest my brain. You can come in and check on me from time to time if you want."
I made appt with family Dr. the next day and he referred me to neurologist and the rest is history. Well, sort of....
This is our story.
Help others feel a little less alone
Which, if any, of the following most often trigger agitation in your loved one living with Alzheimer's disease?