A Fall, Followed by Brain Surgery

You know that feeling of dragging your body around in a North Carolina heatwave? Feeling sluggish and fatigued and just plain drained? (Yes, I’m happy it’s finally autumn.) But what if that feeling didn’t go away when the weather broke?

That’s what happened to Marilyn Berger, a contributor to The New York Times. As she describes in a fascinating article, Ms. Berger’s story started May with a fall from her bike. She landed on grass, but her helmet got crunched. By July, during the worst of the summer’s heat wave (and about two months after the fall), Ms. Berger was dragging along like the rest of us. Well, not quite like the rest of us. Her symptoms didn’t stop when the temperature dropped.

To make her awful and riveting story much shorter than it deserves, it turns out that the bike fall caused more than just a damaged helmet–her brain was injured, too. The diagnosis was a subdural hematoma, the type of blood clot thought to have killed actress Natasha Richardson last year.  She nearly died, and was saved only by the fact that a house guest was around to discover her in bed, incoherent.  She had brain surgery; she lived to tell the story.

Ms. Berger tells the story much better, with poignancy and clarity. There are two morals to this story. The first, which Ms. Berger leaves unspoken, is that all head injuries should be taken seriously. The second is that when a brain is injured, a brain can’t recognize the injury. Ms. Berger’s foot had been dragging, she weaved when she walked, she felt tired–the brain can concoct all kinds of reasons for the physical changes. Like extreme summer heat.

Which brings us back to moral number one: All falls need to be taken seriously. Especially because we may not always recognize the most serious of symptoms.

Please read the entire article. You’ll never look at a simple fall the same way again. Click this link:  The New York Times: “The Calm Before the Brain Injury Was Discovered”

To learn more about the effects of traumatic brain injury, see our website:  HensonFuerst Brain Injury page

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