As I near the one-year mark since my accident, I have thought a lot about writing a blog post on it. Actually, the entire past year I have thought a lot about it. But I didn't. I didn't have the courage. I've been scared. Scared of what people might think. Scared that people will be snarky or rude. Scared of what I might feel. Scared of reliving the fall. Scared that no one will read it. Then I heard a voice in my head say "Screw it! Writing is your therapy, Amy. It's time to write it down and get it out of your head!" If my story can inspire even just one person, it is so worth getting past my fear, so here goes!!
It's been almost one year since that cold February day that I slipped on a patch of sheer ice in my building's driveway and landed smack on my head. I can still feel my feet slipping out from under me, knowing there was absolutely nothing I could do as both feet went straight up in the air (I imagine I looked a bit like a cartoon). I can still hear the terrible, gawd awful sound of my skull making impact with the concrete. I can still remember thinking to myself "Oh, no. This is really bad." I can still remember sitting up and finding Pixxie about seven feet away from me, tail tucked under, looking at me like "What the heck just happened, mom?" I remember the excruciating pain on the back my head, and the swirling, flickering lights in my peripheral vision.
We (me and my team of doctors) are pretty certain that I blacked out for at least a short period of time. I had been holding Pixxie (my 8-pound Yorkie) in my left arm at the time of the fall. Given she was about seven feet away when I sat up, there was at least a short period of time in which she got up and walked away from me. Who knows, she could have sat there and licked my face for five minutes first. There was no one around at the time, and security cameras don't capture that part of our parking lot. I will never know for sure if I laid there limp and helpless for seconds or minutes.
We think that my body reacted instinctively and protected Pixxie like a baby, hence why my arms didn't go down to break the fall. The full impact of my fall was taken by my skull. Let me say that again: The full impact of my fall was taken by my skull. The resulting injuries as diagnosed by my chiropractor and neurologist included: a severe concussion, mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), torn/pulled muscles in my neck, throat, abdomen, and chest and a dislocated sternum. I hurt in places I didn't even know it was possible to hurt.
In the days to follow, I think if heard one more person say "It's just a concussion," I may have punched them in their throat. Concussions often lead to TBIs and are quite serious. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), there are approximately 1.5 million people in the U.S. who suffer from a traumatic brain injury each year. 50,000 people die from TBI each year and 85,000 people suffer long-term disabilities. In the U.S., more than 5.3 million people live with disabilities caused by TBI I mean, people DIE from falls like the one I took, somehow I came away with my life. For that, I am forever grateful. Continue reading http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amy-zellmer/life-with-a-traumatic-brain-injury_b_6580812.html
Contact Information: Amy Zellmer