Concussion is Not Just in Your Head

Sat 16 Feb 2013 18:44:17 | 0 comments

Honestly, as I have indicated in past notes, I come from a healthy family and many of the ShareWIK health-related topics are out of my experience bubble. But this one…well, since Oct 1, 2012, I have become intimately familiar with this one. 


One split second, a rainy road, a line of stopped cars, a distracted driver and lives have been horribly changed.  Steven, my older son,  just turned 40 but his ADHD keeps his attitude, sense of humor and general outlook on life at around 25. He is a gifted mechanic, welder, landscaper, irrigation specialist, hunter, and the list goes on.  He is tall, strong and a hard worker.  

Aside from his insatiable need for sleep and his inverse reactions to drugs, he has enjoyed a boring heath history. He has never been injured, hospitalized or seriously ill.  After having his Dodge Ram truck rear-ended by a woman who saw the green light but didn’t see the line of cars stopped just ahead for a left hand turn, he is a very different man.  Joe and I were both on our way home, traveling the same road.  When he called us to say he had been hit and needed us to go pick up his son, we headed straight to the accident and arrived on the scene within minutes. 


Steven emerged from the truck shaken but standing and unmarked.  His massive truck bed was completely buckled and all the contents in his truck, including items attached to his body had been violently thrown to the front of the cab.  He allowed his dad to take him to the hospital after we did the police thing and got the truck towed, but insisted he was fine.  The doctors said he would be sore and might have a concussion.  They encouraged us to make an appointment with a specialist.  

On day two, he was in excruciating pain which, essentially, has not abated since.  He has had four solid months of dizziness, headaches, pain and weakness.  Right now he cannot hold on to a cup or glass without dropping it. He has had MRI’s, shots, physical therapy, and has a pile of medical CDs that show the affected vertebrae and tissue swelling.  The diagnosis is concussive whip lash. 

Every week we expected his symptoms to subside. Then we heard that concussions can play havoc with one’s life for six months or more. In two weeks he is scheduled for surgery, which will remove the two damaged discs, and replace them with a bag of bone chips which, we are told, will grow into healthy neck bones…hmmmm…from their mouths to God’s ears!

First, this is a young man who lives to work.  Sitting around at home has been hell.  Although he never “gets enough sleep” he is sick and tired of days of sleeping out of boredom or a medicated state. His strong and heavy two-year-old son can not understand why daddy can’t pick him up, wrestle, bathe him or participate in the hundreds of  other things they did every day.  

Since his wife, Stacy, works full time and arrives home after our grandson’s bedtime, Joe and I spend every afternoon picking up the slack (and the grandson!).  At first Logan complained (Daddy do! Daddy do!) but he soon understood that Daddy’s booboo was the root of all disappointments.  

Joe and I love to spend time with him and we are grateful that we are close enough to help in this situation, but we regret that Steven is out of commission for such an extended time. With his ADHD, I worry about depression. I know his thought processes, goofy at best, before the accident, are seriously impaired.  

Most young adults have not signed up for short-term disability, especially healthy adults with no family history that bodes disaster.  This experience has been very frustrating.  I try not to think of the consequences if Steven cannot recover from this injury. At first we reminded ourselves of the positives. 1) Logan was not in the car.  Surely his injuries would have been devastating. 2) Steven survived. 3) No other victims were seriously hurt  4) Tt occurred during the winter months when his job as a maintenance and landscaping employee would not be seriously impacted.  

Now, however, I am over the rationalizations and onto the anger phase.  A young father has been senselessly rendered debilitated, his family life disrupted, his finances thrown into disarray, his future an unknown. He is an excellent driver. I cannot remember his last ticket.  His last accident was prom night during  his senior year of high school.  He was simply sitting in his truck on his way to pick up his son from day care waiting for the third car ahead of him to turn into the grocery store parking lot.  

Now let’s talk about justice.  The woman who hit him was clearly distracted.  She told the police that a bird flew in front of her and her attention was diverted.  I see very few birds flying in a rain storm.  We never saw her or spoke with her. 

Instead of getting out of her car to check on the victims she had hit or the cars she had demolished, she moved from the front seat to her back seat and stayed on her phone the entire time….a clue, perhaps to the cause?  We asked the police to check her phone records but they did  not.  She was charged with following too closely (she was not in sight when Steven stopped) and paid a $200 fine.  Although she was driving a new Four Runner, her insurance coverage met the “minimum“ level so she is unable to assist with the car, medical or loss of income bills.  I am not usually a mean-spirited woman, but in this case, there are not enough Arabic curses to bring justice.  

Concussions?  I may not know much about them medically, but I surely know the impact they can have on an entire family.  

Jacque Digieso has been an educator for over 40 years.  She and her husband Joe co-founded The Cottage School in Roswell, GA, to educate adolescents with learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder and other special educational needs. The school currently serves close to 150 middle and high school students.  Jacque and her husband have two sons, one of whom is adopted, and a handful of grandchildren. 

Read Jacque's blog here, find her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter @CottageSchoolGA.

Read more columns by Jacque Digieso here

©2013 ShareWIK Media Group, LLC

©2011 ShareWIK Media Group, LLC. All rights reserved. ShareWIK does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. For more information, please read our Additional Information, Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

home | sitemapfaq | columnists | members | discussions | groups | videos | press | advertise | contact us | estore | share your story | topics | calendar



Search ShareWIK



Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Enter email below to receive our free eNewsletter
For Email Newsletters you can trust


Latest Columns

The Grass Is Greener Right Here
With her trademark wisdom, humor and honesty, Diana Keough provides a spiritual antidote to anxiety and despair in increasingly fraught times.

Ben KaminSpirit Behind the News
Ben Kamin is one of America's best-known rabbis, a multi-cultural spiritualist, New York Times Op-ed contributor, national columnist, and the author of seven books on human values. His kids, however, are not that impressed.

I Kid You Not
With a self-deprecating sense of humor, a dash of Midwest sarcasm, and candid honesty, award-winning freelance writer Kristine muses on life in a chaotic household. Spoiler Alert: her teen, tweens and dog don’t find her even mildly amusing.

Susanne KatzSecond Life
After divorce, a death, a mid-life crisis, or just growing up and changing, baby boomers are learning to reinvent themselves, have fun and find satisfaction. Look out kids…it’s a new world out there!
Class Notes: Special Needs
Learn from the journey of Jacque Digieso who was given a challenge and a blessing with her son, who has special needs.

What's Eating You?
Dina Zeckhausen, Ph.D. on food, weight, body image and raising resilient kids.

Steve Powell
Steve is an experienced facilitator, practitioner, communicator and proven leader with over 25-years in experience in human factors education and teamwork training.
Living On Purpose
Elaine Taylor-Klaus, teaches how to make life extraordinary.
Dale Kuehne explores developing a world where relationships come first, and recognizes that individual health and fulfillment is connected to the quality of our relationships.
Teacher Feature
School teacher Margaret Anderson will provide insight into what really happens with your child in the classroom.
The Power of Grief
Diane Snyder Cowan specializes in grief therapy to help those in need deal with loss.
Jan Jaben-Eilon Cancer is Not Me and I Am Not My Cancer
My name is Jan Jaben-Eilon and I am an ovarian cancer survivor. I don’t like the expression, battling with cancer. I am living my life as fully and passionately as possible, despite the cancer. Cancer is NOT my identity.

Latest Activity

posted a new blog entry Are You Up for the Job of Caregiver?.
4 years ago
posted a new blog entry When does Sex End?.
4 years ago
posted a new blog entry Obesity brings on a variety of health issues.
4 years ago
posted a new blog entry Getting the marriage license.
4 years ago
posted a new blog entry Praying for Theo.
4 years ago