I Got a Concussion for Christmas

2020 just can’t stop kicking people while we’re down.

Photo Courtesy of KrakenImages

I wish I was just writing clickbait nonsense right now. But alas, every word is true, I really did get a concussion for Christmas. The worst part is that this was my gift to me. It was entirely my fault.

T’was four days before Christmas and all through the apartment…

Not a creature was stirring, but a human sure was.

I opened the very sturdy metal and glass medicine cabinet over my bathroom sink to put a few odds and ends away. I left it open and starting pouring some drain unclogger down the drain. These were all perfectly normal tasks. I was doing them quickly since that’s typically how I clean or tidy up. I’m borderline obsessed with efficiency.

But I had no real, urgent reason to rush.

But I was rushing just a little too much and a little too carelessly.

As I put the bottle down on the floor, I stood up with the swiftness, speed, and grace of a decisive dancer carrying out a move she’s done a thousand times before.

And I hit my head obscenely hard on the open medicine cabinet door.

Photo Courtesy of KrakenImages

The cabinet shook, half its contests splashes into the Draino filled sink. I’m honestly amazed the cabinet didn’t come off the wall, because I saw the bottom of it rip free from the wall for a second. I hit my head so hard that it broke the skin and bled a little.

So like the graceful and elegant person I am, I crumpled to the floor shouting every curse in the books my sailor father taught me.

This was the completely stupid and entirely preventable way I gave myself a concession for Christmas.

The first few days were a nightmare. For the first few hours after I injured myself, I had the dark concern that I’d given myself a concussion. I am, sadly, not a total stranger to head injuries.

When I was 18, I was in a minor jet ski accident with my parents during a particularly rough day. That delightful incident resulted in a trip to the ER, a CAT scan, and two weeks of rest. I was quite lucky that 18 was a rare year in my life that we actually had health insurance, else that $2,500 hospital bill would have financially crippled my younger self for years.

This time, I’m pleased to say that I have very stable health insurance now. That’s one silver lining, right?

The lesson here: it’s foolish to rush around for no good reason just before the holidays.

We all know this in an academic sense. We know it’s a bad idea to rush around senselessly. We know to be reasonably careful when doing household tasks.

But it’s just so darn easy to forget on an ordinary day.

It’s easy to have these tidbits of common sense in the back of your mind, just out of the periphery of your thoughts. But if you let them slip too far back, it’s easy to make a mistake and do something entirely preventable like hitting your head or accidentally slicing yourself when cutting vegetables.

The holidays often end up being more stressful than they are fun. Even though we only saw my partner’s parents this year rather than sprinting between several large family gatherings, I still felt a measure of stress. That left me rushing around to complete simple tasks and hitting my head so hard I had to spend hours upon hours resting away from screens.

There’s value in taking your time when you do things.

Photo Courtesy of KrakenImages

No one wants to suffer through the holidays with a concussion, but that’s precisely what I did this year. No one wants an ER visit (or bill) in their stocking at Christmas.

It’s been nearly a week since I hit my head and the headache is finally abating. Concussions are one of the most frustrating injures I’ve ever dealt with because they get in the way of my work, my hobbies, and it’s nearly impossible to rush healing them.

This is just another of those cautionary warnings. Most of us want to be productive and efficient, but there’s a balance. Doing things in a reasonable amount of time shouldn’t mean you injure yourself terribly along the way.

Writer and poet from Neptune. Instructional designer in NYC. Grad student at @NYUTandon studying Integrated Digital Media.

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