Anyone out there remember a post I did in September, 2007, where I described Ainsley's falling on the concrete parking lot her school uses as a playground and being diagnosed, much to our surprise, with a concussion at our local children's hospital? Remember? And then not too long ago I wrote about how much Natasha Richardson's death due to traumatic brain injury scared me because, like Ainsley, a long time passed between the injury and the first appearance that things weren't quite right?
Would you believe we went through all that crap again today?
I got a call late this morning from Ainsley's school.
"Ainsley had an accident..."
Words you never want to hear.
At first, I thought (and was hoping) the school secretary meant, like, wet-your-pants type of accident. Because as embarrassing as that would be for a second grader, that's an accident that's essentially no harm, no foul, after a change of clothes. Alas, I learned that Ainsley had hit the back of her head hard during a game in gym in which Ains was riding piggyback on another student (still trying to figure out why this was a sanctioned gym activity) and fell off backwards. She cried inconsolably, told the school nurse/secretary that she was afraid she was going to die, and then promptly threw up into her lap after being walked back to class.
Classic concussion symptoms for my kid. And it's sad that I knew these to be warning signs from past experience.
Given that Ainsley has the prior record of head trauma, and that a former paramedic who now works at her school as a teacher was concerned that she hit the back of her head so hard, an ambulance was called. Thank goodness I work only 10 minutes away and could get to school just as the ambulance was pulling in so I could ride with the kid to the hospital.
The doctor and nurses were great, and Ainsley passed the neurological exam with flying colors. Even so, with the vomiting and with the location of the hit, we were told to put Ains on "brain rest" for 24 hours. Anything that could be stimulating to the visual-processing parts of Ainsley's young brain is off limits until tomorrow; she can't watch TV, play video games, do work on the computer, or even read.
Try to entertain a homebound 7-year-old like Ainsley without TV, the computer, physical activity (also out) or reading. Tough, no?
There was actually a moment as we headed to the car that I felt stupid for allowing her to be taken to the ER via ambulance in the first place. Given how she seemed at that point, I questioned whether or not she really had hit her head hard enough to merit the copay and the burden.
But 15 minutes later, after the car went over a bump in the road, she turned white and threw up again just to remind us that concussions are serious business.
The doctor has assured us that, unlike the poor football players who have essentially turned their brains into mashed potatoes who we saw profiled on 60 Minutes a couple of weeks ago, Ainsley's concussions have occurred far enough apart that we really don't need to worry about permanent damage.
But just in case, I will be discouraging her from getting involved in contact sports or anything else with a high risk of causing a blow to the head. I am thinking competitive power walking may just be her future sport. Because two concussions before her 8th birthday is just not a good thing.
If she keeps this up, like Cousin Eddie, her hair just isn't going to part right.