19/06/2020

How To Cope When Your Child Suffers Permanent Brain Damage

I had a long conversation with Kira about her concussion the other day…
 
…if you don’t know, Kira was thrown from a horse and suffered a severe concussion 5 years ago that resulted in her missing 6 months of school in Year 10 and – I found out on Wednesday – with permanent brain damage. We (including the medical team) thought the damage was temporary; turns out not.
 
She decided last week that she wants to start talking about what’s happened, partly because people have idea about the reality of the impact of hitting your head, it’s seen as “a bit of a concussion”.
 
As case in point, the reports on that old man that got knocked to the floor in the protests in the US, constantly stated that “the man has a concussion but is in a stable condition”.
If he walks away without permanent – and probably quite debilitating – brain damage, I’ll be very surprised.
Menopause, Marriage and Motherhood
Kira was constantly ridiculed by the other girls for not wanting to ride horses (she was at an equestrian based school and was riding 4 or 5 hours a day when the accident happened).
 
No one believed her when she said she couldn’t read.
 
Her Maths teacher told her that if Kira thought she was going to pull the wool over her eyes and get away with not doing the work, she had another think coming.
Her English teacher told her how “disappointed” she was with Kira’s lack of effort and low grades.
 
It took three months for me to convince doctors that the depression Kira was obviously suffering was a symptom, not a cause (I basically yelled at the GP till he gave me a referral to a specialist 😁).
 
When we took her to Emergency after the accident, Kira was sent straight home, with the advice to give her some paracetamol and let her rest for a few days and she’d be fine.
 
There are a lot of other things about her experiences with her concussion and the ongoing impact that I didn’t know till the other day. I’ve always had a chatty relationship with Kira but she apparently couldn’t communicate what was going on, and half the time she just forgot anyway.
You can listen to our conversation in the podcast next week. It’s a good one, even if it breaks my heart.
 
In the picture at the bottom of the page, the photo on the left was taken three weeks after her fall, the one on the right a year or so ago (photo courtesy of Rani Joensen).
 
This photo to the right was taken a few days before the accident.
 
Before this, I thought that unless you were in a major accident, a head injury was neither here nor there. I remember any number of times that I got back on my horse, whether I was feeling dizzy or nauseous or whatever (I spent the whole of my teenage years being chucked off a horse pretty much every day).
 
Maybe my poor performance at senior school wasn’t just about the fact that I hated studying! 😂
What are your thoughts on this? (the concussion, not my rubbish school results! 😜
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Listen to the podcast with Kira talking about her concussion here...

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