The First Week of School

toni.miil69 Blog

Friday September 6, 2013, was my first day back to school, after a long summer filled with various treatments for my concussion. I was so happy to be back at school and seeing my friends. Β We had class orientation day and we got our pictures taken and received our schedules, so it was a fun day and I was feeling well (for me). That night, however, I started getting a sore throat, so I thought I was coming down with a cold. I ignored it, but when I woke up the next morning, it was much worse. I started getting nervous because I knew my first day of classes was Monday, and I was going to have a busy week. I rested all weekend, took medicine for my throat, and did all I could so that I would be able to make it to school Monday – my first day of senior year.

Monday morning came and I was feeling much worse. Not only was I feeling really sick, but being sick also exacerbates concussion symptoms, so in addition to my incredibly sore throat, I had awful headaches, and general fogginess. I was so upset that I could not go to school. I went to the doctor first thing in the morning, and I was diagnosed with a bacterial infection in my throat. I was happy to know what was wrong so that I could start getting better. I was looking forward to going to school the next day, however, the anti-biotic did not help on Monday, so I missed Tuesday as well. I could only eat ice cream and soup, and I was back to lying down on the couch in the dark, wearing my sunglasses. This was not how I pictured my first week of senior year. Tuesday night I did feel a lot better, so I was able to go to school for my first day on Wednesday, September 11.

My first day back went well. I attended all of my classes, lunch, and I only had to go to the nurse once. I was feeling much better, and was really glad to be doing well during those first days back. Unfortunately, that all changed on Friday during my morning physics class, when the fire alarm went off.

Experiencing an unexpected noise like that is probably one of the worst things for to hear for anyone who has suffered a brain injury. My first thought when it went off was, β€œhow am I going to survive outside without my sunglasses in the next ten minutes?” I never go outside without my sunglasses for even a second, because since my concussion, my pupils no longer dilate. I became nervous, anxious, and scared, and I knew that this was not going to end well for me. As I was walking down the hall, the alarm was going on and off, and, to me that was worse on my head than if the alarm were to be a continuous sound. I quickly walked outside so I would not have to hear the alarm for too long, and I waited for my teacher to give us the OK to go back inside. While walking to my homeroom spot on the grass outside, my friend asked me how my head was, and another friend asked if I was ok to walk on my own, and if I needed help. I know that I am lucky to have such great friends who really understand my condition, and who care about me. When we were allowed to go back to class, I walked as fast as I could to the nurse, and had a friend tell the teacher that I was going to be there for a while. When I got to the nurse, she knew right away that I was not feeling well, and that next time, there needs to be a way for me to know ahead of time so that I can go outside before the alarm goes off.

I sat in the nurse’s with an ice pack on my head, lying down, and drinking water. Although I was upset that I would miss my two tests that afternoon, I was more upset that I was having a setback. My head was in more pain that it had been in quite awhile. My light sensitivity was unbearable, and I was so dizzy that I was swaying, and could not stand up. The colors on the carpet in the room were moving, and I could not walk straight. At one point, when I was lying down on my side, my head started involuntarily shaking, and I was scared that I might be having a seizure. Eventually, that stopped, but the pain did not. My brother came in to check on me during his lunch, and agreed to explain to my teachers what happened, and to get my homework for me. My mom came to pick me up, and she helped me get my books because I was unable to walk on my own.

When I got home, I immediately got into my bed. I could not tolerate any light or noise at that point, and I certainly could not watch TV or use my phone. But, being all too familiar with how my symptoms are affected now, I knew that this would be more of a short term setback in terms of hours or days, rather than weeks or months. I started to feel better by Friday night, and as I sit here writing this, I am back to how I was before the fire drill Friday. After only going to 2.5 days of school this year, I am now off and running to a much smoother week!Β 

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One Response to β€œThe First Week ofΒ School”

  1. robin says:

    Madeline, you handle these things with such courage. I’m glad that you will be warned before another drill and hopefully these events will be far and few between. With all your setbacks you still made it to senior year and you WILL make it to graduation. I’m rooting for you as always! 3

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