Thursday, July 2, 2009

Nothing Says Bloggin' Like A Thumping Of Your Noggin

Today's public safety info concerns head injuries. If you have recently been knocked in the noggin, and for the past 24 hours have experienced extreme tiredness despite 13 hours of sleep, a constant headache that started at the back of the skull where the noggin-knockin' occurred, then spread to the top and front of the head, and recently added nausea to your laundry list of complaints... you probably need to be checked out by a medical professional.

I told you last week how the #1 son took a spill playing basketball at open gym. Another player's shoulder connected with his chin, knocking him over backwards, resulting in a gym-echoing head thump on the floor. He had a headache and tiredness, but I called the ER, and a nurse said to watch him and bring him if he got worse. After 24 hours and some sleep, his headache went away. So all was fine, and he played basketball the next day, and two days at the beginning of this week.

Yesterday at open gym, #1 was laid out flat on his back by his best friend in a shoving incident, then took a charge from his other best friend, and for the head-banging hat trick, he bumped heads with the shover in a tussle over a loose ball. After playing four games full court, #1 took a turn to sit out. That is uncharacteristic of him. He wants to be on the court all the time. Shortly after leaving the gym at 3:00, his head started to hurt. When he got home at 4:50 after a trip to the library for high-speed internet shenanigans, he was headachy and tired. He took an ibuprofen and slept for two and a half hours until I made him get up. He still had the headache when he woke up, and it spread from the back of his head to the top. He took another ibuprofen, which is something he never does. He hates to swallow pills. He did not know which blow hurt him, but was thinking it was when he took the charge from the barreling BFF2.

I checked on him all through the night, and he muttered that he was awake when I poked him. This morning he got up at 9:30, and said he was fine. Which I was to learn later was not quite the truth, but that his head was still hurting when he awoke. After feasting on 4 blueberry waffles, 3 pink cookies, and a Coke, it was off to open gym at noon. Normally I make him eat a sandwich for lunch, but since he had gotten up so late, I let it slide. #1 shot some baskets and fooled around with his cronies for about 20 minutes. The coach said to call more people so they had enough for two teams. #1 came upstairs to where I was watching, which he never does, because I am the plague and he can't be seen with me, and said, "I don't feel good. I might throw up. I really don't feel like playing. My head hurts." Again, this was unusual for him. He yearns to play basketball. He has only missed ONE open gym all summer, to go to Six Flags. I told him I was taking him to the doctor. He said he didn't want to go, but he didn't complain enough to change my mind. The doctor's office line was busy, because you know you can never get in to see the doctor when you're sick, but only for your appointment that has been made six months in advance, and if you are more than ten minutes late, they cancel it and bill you anyway, and sit in the office not taking patients but eating bon bons brought by the pharmaceutical rep.

So I did what anybody without insurance would do (even though we HAVE insurance) and carted him off to the ER. He was pleased that I took him to the good ER. "Are you taking me to the one that leaves the surgical instruments inside of people?" I assured him, "No. I am taking you to Dad's hospital. Not mine where I woke up during surgery, or Mine North, where they gave The Pony acetaminophen for his broken elbow, put it in a soft cast, and told him to see a doctor within a week."

There was only one other customer in the waiting room. We were called back within five minutes. The intake nurse even said to bring The Pony. "We don't want him sitting alone in the waiting room." Which I don't know whether is a hospital belief that unattended children will make mischief, or a statement of their clientele lounging around the waiting room. The nurse took #1's vitals and history, and escorted us back to a room with a bed and TV.

The young doc was not even foreign, had a military haircut, and explained that a concussion is like when you bump your knee and it gets a knot and turns red, but doesn't bruise. After about a week, everything is back to normal. A bruise, on the other hand, means bleeding, which is something that is serious in a brain, and the only way to know for sure which injury you have is to get a CAT scan. After the doc shined a flashlight in his eyes and asked some more questions, #1 was taken away to slide his head into the donut of the CAT scan machine thingy while The Pony and I waited in his room. #1 said he had to keep his eyes closed, but he heard a giant noise like race car engines revving, and imagined that donut part spinning wildly about his head. He also said it was a tight fit, and that they had to shove one of his ears down in the head thingy, and that he could feel roller thingies under his forearms as whatever he laid on was moved. After it was done, the radiology technician looked at him funny and said, "Did you hit one side of your head more than the other?" Which I am sure was just more history, but #1 was worried that the guy knew something he wasn't telling.

After 50 minutes, we heard a nurse calling radiology to see if they'd read the images yet, and then the doctor came back and said #1 had a concussion, and should not play any contact sports or baskeball for a week or two, and should follow up with his doctor within 7 days, and should be awakened every 2 hours for the next 24 hours and asked his name, location, and the date, and to take only acetaminophen and not ibuprofen for the pain, as ibuprofen causes bleeding, so apparently that is worse than liver damage that was the big story in yesterday's news.

#1 said his nausea was improving from laying flat and not moving, and that he was now starving since it had been six hours since he last ate. Do you have any idea how much and how often 14-year-old boys eat? I coughed up the $100 ER copay, gathered the three pages of discharge instructions, bought the non-nausea starving Pony a bag of cookies out of the vending machine, and took my boys for some fast food fast. Then I hurried home to wait for the incoming bills from the radiologist, ER doc, and hospital, which will arrive in their own good time, with names of larger entities that I do not associate with the good ER.

Now #1 and I are depressed that he can't work out for at least a week, and other players may gain on him while he's down. That boy is motivated. And hard-headed. At home, he said he didn't want an acetaminophen because the pain wasn't bad enough to take a pill. That's while he was laying on the couch. When he sat up to use his laptop for 10 minutes, he indeed went to get an acetaminophen. Right now he reports feeling fine. I'm not sure how much to believe.

I am glad I took him to get checked out. Better safe than sorry. I don't want him turning into a dead skiing actress.


Mary said...

I'm glad ur #1 son is not too badly injured. However, a concussion can make one feel rather strange.
As far as the impending bill for the ER, I spent 4 hrs. in one about a month ago for a mere $7,200...that was only for the ER use and CT scan.Good thing I have good insurance as I only had to pay $50 for my kidney stones!
R u counting down the days until school begins again? I know I'm not!

Hillbilly Mom said...

I am relieved that he is merely mentally addled. He admitted today that he was also dizzy yesterday, which gives him 5 of the 8 symptoms of a concussion that were on that discharge paper, what with his unequal pupils that I discovered last night after we got home. He had only told me about the headache and nausea and sleepiness. Today he said his headache was only a 2 instead of a 5 on the 10-point pain scale, which I suppose means he is on the mend.

I told the ER nurse that I had tried to get him in to see his regular doctor first, but she said, "All he would have done was look at him and send you here." I figure we'll have to pay 10% or 20% of the costs. That's how it went with The Pony's elbow surgery and ER visit. Still, it won't be enough to meet our deductible, or to use as an itemized deduction on taxes.

Congratulations on your bargain kidney stones! My dad had them twice, and said it was worse pain than having a baby, which was news to me that he'd had a baby.

I am not counting down the days to school, because my mother does that for me. We'll be jawing away on the phone, and out of the blue she'll say, "You only have X weeks left before you go back." Which makes me want to go all Kathy Griffin on her, and snarl, "You're going to the HOME!"

Chickadee said...

WOW. Poor kid. It's amazing how many times he conked his noggin before the shoving incident.

Hope he's doing okay on the 4th...enough for some firework induced shenanigans but not too many shenanigans that would put you back at the ER.

Hillbilly Mom said...

He's planning on assisting Bomb Detonator H with our fireworks display. In the country, no one can hear you break the law.

I think the main injury came a week ago Wednesday when he took a shoulder to the chin and got knocked over backwards. Then he played on Thursday, Monday and Wednesday. He didn't play well at all Monday and Wednesday, what with wild shots and tripping all over himself. Hindsight tells me that he was not recovered from a first concussion, and then suffered a second one in one of his head-banging incidents that day. He is out of commission for 10 days to 2 weeks, and has to be released by his regular doctor to play.

Mary said...

I've had the kidney stones 3 times now and your dad is right, it's worse pain than having a baby....'cept, I've never had a baby either. I can only imagine! At least w/a baby you get a newborn, a cute little life. With a kidney stone, all you get is a rock. Bad thing is, I have multiple stones left in both kidneys and I'm just waiting for them to pass. What a way to spend the remainder of my summer know, the X number of weeks your mom has counted for you!

Hillbilly Mom said...

You sound like Charlie Brown trick-or-treating: "I got a rock." When life gives you rocks, make rockaide. Or stone somebody, preferably not ME.

There. You deserved that for reminding me about my X weeks left of summer break!

Can't they pound you with ultrasound to break up those rocks into gravel? Or maybe I dreamed that after watching The Flintstones.

Mary said...

They can only do the ultrasound if the "rocks" are above so many mm like 4-5 and above. My niece just had a stone surgically removed and she's only 20 yrs. old. Apparently her jagged "rock" was hidden in a small crevice in her ureter and would've never been passed on its own. So, as I said before, I have to either wait til they decide to pass or they enlarge and then they can lanblast them with ultrasound. Can't wait to spend the remainder of my 5 1/2 weeks of summer vacation waiting for them to make their move. Kinda reminds me of how long some people waited to make a move on La Deskin back in the day!!!

Hillbilly Mom said...

How DARE you have 5 1/2 weeks left! Please note my sincerity when I say, "I truly wish you had bigger stones, my dear." For the record, The Desk sure did inspire some move-making, she of the 'just because all of my friends are' school of the flannel shirt.