Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I'm (almost) Back!

The word is in and the word is good. My doctor (and the resident doctor working with her) determined that with the reduction in symptoms since my last visit two weeks ago that I would be cleared to work "1/4 to 1/2 days for the next two weeks", at which point I will return for another evaluation. This pleases me. But what is different between the last visit and this one?

Well, about 10 days ago I noticed something strange. I didn't have a headache. Having been struggling with various post-concussion symptoms for more than a month it was a wonderful moment. It was such a relief that 'euphoric' is the only word I can find that comes close to describing the feeling. In the days after that moment I was afraid I'd ruin it - but I didn't - and here I am 10 days later and still no headache to speak of.

The headache was just one symptom though, and while I am really eager to get back to work my doctor cautioned against doing too much. I still have some symptoms, and it will be hard to tell if they are reminiscent of the concussion or if I'm back to my baseline.

For example: I've always been the guy who stands up quickly and gets a head rush. If I exert myself a little now and get the same feeling is that symptomatic of the concussion or just the way it was before?

Another example: I am still extremely tired, especially later in the day. It is a struggle for me to get through the afternoon without having to lie down. Now I wasn't the best sleeper before (chronic insomniac) and I'm off my sleep medication for the first time in 18 months, so am I tired because I'm off my meds and still used to sleeping 12 hours a day, or is the tiredness still a symptom of the concussion?

In both examples my doctor suggests it's still the concussion working its magic, and was reluctant to okay my return-to-work on a full time basis based on those examples and a few others like it. She explained that this would continue to be a long, slow, frustrating road back and that I should monitor myself for symptoms on a constant basis and listen to my body. Treat it like pain. If it hurts, stop, and for the love of all things great and small do not do anything that could result in another blow to the head.

So off I go tomorrow morning bright and early (and maybe driving with a helmet on), hopefully to work regularly without any further brain problems. I'm really looking forward to it, even if I am a bit nervous/anxious about the return, but I work with an amazing group of people and I'm certain the transition back will be just fine.

First, one last nap :)