Thoughts from Crow Cottage

(soon to be retired)

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And now for the REST of the story...

I know, I know... I should type this out in a file and save it, then pop it in here. But typical of stubborn me, I'm not going to do that. So here goes.. the story of The Concussion.

Last week it all began (I think?) - I'm losing track of time, to be honest.

One day last week, I know not which, I had had a rather bad day here at the cottage. Most days are pretty much the same for me but now and again something goes crazy and it saps me of energy and optimism. It makes me even more cranky and ornery than I normally am.

When Paul came home, I went into my rant about what a crappy day I'd had, and when I had finished with that, he sat down and went into HIS rant - about how he had had a hard time tying up to his mooring after a day lobstering. That's not really that new with him, but it was windy, and I could appreciate it. He told me the whole procedure with the ropes and cleats and mooring pennant, and mooring buoy, and boat rocking and rolling under him, all while perched on the side planks of the boat... it's quite a feat in coordination to do this, especially if you are less then 2 months shy of turning SEVENTY years old.

But that was all he told me about.

What he didn't tell me was that the wind and seas and boat combination threw him into the boat and his head hit something. It really could have been all over right then and there. So I am thankful he came up for air and came home to me.

But I didn't know that last part. So we took no special measures and didn't get any medical attention.

Then, within a day or two he started seeming "not right" to me. I told him something was wrong, he was not remembering things - really recent things, too - like 5 minutes ago, but as his dad died of Alzheimer's, as did his dad's mother, and as I am assuming Paul's forgetfulness is the precursor of that dreaded disease, I just started thinking that it's coming on all of a sudden! Sudden-Onset-Alzheimer's - if there IS such a thing! It all seemed to fit.

The next day he said he had a buzzing in his head, which he's had since he developed and was diagnosed with Orthostatic Hypotention (remember when he collapsed and fell and went to hospital this last fall or winter?) He was told he'd have the "buzzing" in his head for life (no, not tinnitus, but like static inside his brain somewhere - which, by the way, his dad had for his last few years!)

Then he'd forget things - like, right away! This bothered me and I kept saying he needed to get checked out... and he told me at one point it felt like he had the FLU.

I went with that because it's more benign sounding to me than the other alternatives. I never even considered "concussion" !!

By Tuesday morning he was feeling worse so he called his GP early in the morning and they could see him at 2:00. He went and got checked out. His GP said it sounded like concussion.

Paul came home from the office visit. I was sitting in my peaceful Reading Room listening to nice classical guitar music and he sat down in "his" chair and told me it might be concussion. I asked how that could be, and he then told me he'd fallen on the boat, etc. etc. etc. I was shocked he never told me this!

Anyway, his GP set up a CT scan of his brain for the next day, Wednesday of this week. He felt OK to drive so he took his truck (and his/my cellphone with him) and went up to the hospital to get the CT scan.

About an hour later I got a call from a doctor there. She said there is some blood in his brain on the CT scan and they didn't have the right kind of experts here at Salem so she was sending him directly from there into Boston, to Mass. General Hospital (this is big-time medicine!). I told her I could never get myself in there, so I was told to wait a few hours and call the Emergency Room to find out where he was.

Panic attack!

At around 4:30 I started calling MGH (Mass. Gen'l Hospital) and he was not there. Then Paul called me at 6:30 pm and said he hadn't left Salem yet! But the one thing he told me, in no uncertain terms, was to get someone to go up to the rear parking lot and bring his truck home... he did NOT want his truck staying there overnight to be vandalized and worse! He said this so severely and sternly that I knew I had to do it.

I went across the street and got Katie (God-bless-her-heart) and we went over there in her car (it's only about a mile or two from here) and there, sure enough, was his truck - way down at the last area of parking, very near the main street - far from the actual hospital complex. I had to bring my step-stool and, with Katie's help, we got me up into that big high truck - and tried to start it.

Nothing. Oh, lights came on, but it would not turn over or start at all. Finally Katie climbed up into it and tried... still nothing.

Oh, and BTW, it was so hot and humid that I was dying of the heat...soaked from head to toe.

So we came home again. Then I thought of getting AAA to tow it over here and leave it in the driveway so Paul could deal with it later. I was on the phone with them for hours, they wanted me to go back there and meet them there, but by then it was late and dark and I would have to drive myself, which I haven't done for 10 months, and I was so overwhelmed by this whole ordeal I finally just said forget it, it's staying there overnight.

I called Security at the hospital complex and told my tale to him, and he said he wouldn't have it towed and would pray for no vandalism. Oh great. I did take out Paul's wellies (lobstering rubber knee-high boots) and a couple of other things just in case...

Now where am I?

Finally Paul called me from Boston. He didn't have a room yet but he was scheduled to have an MRI scan of his head that night, within the hour. After 9 p.m.

I finally had to go to bed after caring for the dogs etc. I had a piece of bread for supper.

I got NO sleep whatsoever.

By morning I'm a total zombie. I walk around the empty house here like a lost soul. Even though Paul is usually gone to work by 5:30 or 6 on a normal day and I am not up for hours after that, it still felt eerily lonely and empty. Even the dogs were questioning me. I can tell these things.

After 8 o'clock I called and got his room # and I called the nurses' station there. She said he was sleeping still. He finally called me and said that was a preliminary MRI scan and they were going to do another one that day (this was yesterday - it feels like a year ago!!). So we chatted on the phone as if we'd been apart for years... and I finally hung up. Around noon he called again and he knew nothing more yet. Then, around 2-ish, he called to say they were probably kicking him out of there back home.

All that pressure in me released out my ears and eyeballs and mouth in a huge sigh....

Home? He must be fine! Right?

Of course, me going to pick him up was out of the question so the hospital staff did their due diligence and found him a ride with a hired van of some type... Paul said it was like riding a rollercoaster the whole way home - 18 miles of pot holes from Boston to Salem. When the driver let him off here, poor Paul was just sitting on the bottom step outside holding his head in his hands, moaning and groaning.

Which is just what he's been doing ever since. He feels horrible. He had a handful of instructional sheets... oh, and a prescription for the dreaded "Keppra" - which is an anti-epileptic drug - I guess the blood in the brain CAN cause seizure sometimes so that drug is to thwart that from happening.

He was a wreck, and now, as happy as I was to have him home, I was a wreck all over again. Plus, I was so sleep-deprived from almost 3 days of NO SLEEP whatsoever, that I could hardly even see let alone keep it together to care for him. I read over the instructions and it said he was to have somebody here with him who would "wake him up every 2 hours all night long to make sure he's ok." That would be me... every 2 hours wake him up? All he wanted to do was sleep... all I needed to do was sleep.

I did that until 11 p.m. and then fell asleep myself til around 4 a.m. I went into his room and put the hall light on and just watched him... he was breathing so slightly I almost thought he'd left me. I didn't have the heart to wake him up, he actually looked very peaceful for a change.

Now, all this time I have left out all the emails, FB notes, phone calls I was doing and receiving... trying to organize stuff. He was supposed to drop his truck off at the garage in Marblehead on Thursday so I had to call and cancel that. I didn't know he had a lobster customer who was to meet him in Marblehead for lobsters, and she called the next day and he felt so bad... he's missed her.

When I pleaded on FB for your prayers, you all came thru big time for us. Thank You So Very Much!

It's not back to normal here, and I don't know when he will be back to his old self. He's been in bed all this time - just coming down for food... he has had breakfast and lunch today, but he is adamant that I not bug him, or nag him, or wait on him... and after reading the side effects of the Keppra they've put him on (for 7 days only thankfully!) I thought he'd turn into a raving monster here. It's only been a day and he is rather depressed and still moaning a lot,

He made the follow-up appointment with his GP for next Thursday. I think I'll drive him up to that and go in with him. This is a big step for me as I haven't been in a doctor's office for way too many years now.


So there you have it. The story, so far. I know I've forgotten something.

Oh, right! When he got home, he had to fill the prescription for Keppra, so we took my car and I DROVE us up to the store to fill it... it would take 15 minutes... so I drove us down to where his truck was stuck in the hospital parking lot. He used his key and he got in and it started right up! I kid you not.

He tried the spare key I was using and it would NOT start. So after all that grief about his truck which nearly drove me over the edge, it was all down to a faulty spare key. So he drove it home, got the prescription, and he's not been in the truck since then.

Oh, and one last thing while I'm doing this, because I don't know when I'll be back again here, once he was home I looked around for the mobile phone he took with him and it was not here. After a search all over, it seemed like it was gone.

So today I email the company to cancel the phone and get a replacement. Then I went out one more time to his truck, which had been searched already, and when I stuck my arm way under his driver's side seat, I found it! I quickly emailed the company again to cancel the cancellation of the phone! I hope they got that 2nd email! I'm still just shaking my head over all of this rotten stuff.

Thanks for reading this far, if you are still awake and here. I'll keep you updated, in briefer form, in the future.

Love to you all,
Bex & Co.

I think I could turn and live awhile with the animals...
They are so placid and self-contained,
I stand and look at them sometimes half the day long.

They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied... not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or industrious over the whole earth.

~ [Walt Whitman, from "Leaves of Grass, No. 32"] ~


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