My eldest son can now boast that he knocked his ole man out, giving me a nasty concussion in the process. Now, it’s not as malicious as it sounds. We were playing flag football. We were both on defense, and went after the same ball. The people on the sidelines said the collision was thunderous.I remember the splash of lights from the hit, but I know I was out for at least a second after, for I don’t remember hitting the ground. Just staring up at the night’s sky as it spun out of control, then a bunch of 10 and 11 year olds surrounded my son and I.He, somehow, left the field pretty much O.K. I, however, have had an interesting two days.First, I know that concussions are nothing to trifle with. People die from them. I get it. But I also know there is very little to do about them – well, save splitting your skull open to relieve the pressure if things take a turn for the worse.While I had a massive headache and some dizziness, I was not feeling nauseous, nor was I slurring my words or any of the other bad symptoms from a concussion. So, for better or worse, I opted out of a 3 hour wait at an emergency room and just went home. I will admit that first night was rough emotionally. Not because most people who die form a concussion die in their sleep. I mean, I can’t think of a better way to expire than to drift off slowly into a permanent state of unconsciousness. No, my biggest anxiety was that if I died, my poor 11-year-old son would have to live the rest of his life with the guilt that he, while totally by accident, killed his father. And Freudianism aside, that would such. But the dizziness woke me often through the night. So while I got little sleep, I was reassured each time that I still drew breathe.The most interesting thing to me was the experience itself. This was not my first concussion – I was a very rumbly-tumbly young man. But it was my first in decades. And the most interesting thing to me about this experience was that next day. I was acutely and consciously aware that my brain was slower than normal. Meaning, the voice in my head, the voice that is me, the voice that is my inner thoughts and understanding and processing abilities – that voice was working fine. But when I was talking to someone else, I could not get my brain to keep up with that inner voice. I could “see” (if that is the right term to use here) how slow I was conversing. All the additional pauses my body took trying to get my mouth to complete a sentence that my inner voice had already articulated.It was very disconcerting, and gave me a strange insight into a world I had never before been. I found myself wondering if this is how people like Stephen Hawking feels – that his inner voice is running at an amazing clip, and the frustration he must feel that the shell that surrounds him will not keep up.Last night I slept much better, and outside of being lightheaded and having a minor headache, I feel pretty good today. I’m still going to take the day off. Just writing this was more taxing than it should have been.
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