A couple of weeks ago, I got into an unintentional altercation with a pavement/wall.
As they were made of concrete and brick and my face is not, I unsurprisingly came off second best.
This led to couple of humorous trips to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel and a couple of less funny trips to the dentist in Canada Water.
Both sets of NHS staff were brilliant and able to restore my “dashing good looks” and “winning smile”.*
My face was duly repaired and I tried to get back to normality; happily running up hills or playing football and perhaps drinking more than my fair share of red wine.
But as I left the dentist chair last Monday, my world started to spin like I’d inadvertently walked into the middle of a carousel.
I’d been dizzy before so thought nothing of it.
The stress of having a stranger play around with syringes and shove his hands in your mouth whilst a nurse vacuums up stray pieces of enamel should be enough to make most people have a funny turn.
An hour later though, I was still struggling to walk and sat in the waiting room, now over an hour late to be back at work.
I shakily stepped outside and emailed my boss. I couldn’t face a trip down into the underground and a stop/start journey on a busy bus would be just as bad.
Having partially Northern heritage, I didn’t want to splash out on a cab (as well as not wanting to pay the excess in case of sickness), I was stuck in South London with no way of getting home or even back to work where I had left my keys.
After another hour, I managed to get myself onto a tube, into work and back home, still feeling for all the world like I’d decided to cross the Channel on a lilo during a hurricane.
Once back at home, I sunk into my sofa and didn’t move for nearly four hours.
Everytime I did, the room span the opposite way. This continued for…a week.
Even now, some movements will trigger the same vertiginous feeling.
During my second trip to A&E (following a call to 111), I was seen, tested and diagnosed: concussion.
While it was good to put a name to the distress, it didn’t really help me to fix the problem.
I was giving two cool Pantone-style leaflets on concussion/head injury and sent on my merry way and told to rest.
So I rested and it got a bit better but I got so, so bored.
The idea of sitting at home and watching all the films and television you want sounds brilliant until you realise that there are only so many movies that you want to watch whilst you can’t move you head.
Out go black and white, foreign and “tough” material. In comes action and comedy, essentially things that you don’t have to focus on.
Same goes for television shows: no documentaries or dramas, just rubbish trashy TV.
It is fun for a couple of hours but after that, I missed human interaction (the kids playing FIFA don’t count).
And I missed running, and walking, and playing football and basically doing any of things that I like doing.
Everything was off limits and still is.
The dizziness has subsided and I’m back at work but the fogginess remains.
The doctor has said that concussion can last between a couple of days and a couple of months so I may have to put up with this for some time to come.
Which means that I will have to watch what I eat (can’t burn off the excess calories), watch what I drink (sans alcohol) and nothing strenuous (which means the 46 mile race in December is looking unlikely).
Additionally, I look like nothing is wrong. Just my usual slightly tired and drawn facial expression.
I’ve been invited for a run and a game of football but have had to decline prompting the “but you look ok” response.
I might do but inside my brain is struggling to work out whether it’s coming or going.
Part of me wants to say “ah balls to concussion; I’m off to play sumo wrestle and jump off buildings”.
But I’ve been advised by enough medical professionals, let alone being told off in forums by fellow runners, to realise that concussion isn’t something to brush off.
The more I think about it, the more I realise I am being an idiot if I try to keep ploughing on.
My brain, the very thing that is keeping me alive every second of every day, got knocked about to enough of an extent that it has forgotten that horizons are not supposed to move on their own.
I may have lost the battle against the pavement, but I’m now happy to surrender to concussion, ready to fight another day.
*may have hit my head harder than expected!