Concussion

Scarring from a fall

Scarred for Life

My working life began one week later than planned. Because I fell off a bicycle

I was at a friend’s older brother’s home. He was married, had a Cairn Terrier. There were bicycles in the garden. We borrowed them for the afternoon and rode off to explore the countryside

If you’re thinking Enid Blyton, read on. One afternoon, when I was only sixteen and a half, had devastating consequences on my life

I don’t think I was going fast. There was a small hill. On the downward slope I lost control. Seconds later I opened my eyes on a hospital trolley and said “Where am I?”

I’ve always wished I had said something clever

Seconds had been hours, I’d been taken to the nearest hospital by ambulance. Road gravel (mostly) removed from my knee, hip and forehead. Stitched up. I’d been totally unaware of this, because Concussion

I was sixteen years old. There was no space in a suitable ward so I was allocated a bed in geriatrics with five “ancient” women

That was actually fun. I liked them and they enjoyed having a teenager in the room

So, the stitches…

One or two on my knee, under which a grey layer of road dust still remains

Several on my hip. Lumpy, bumpy, very messy. Not what a teenager wants on her body

But my forehead. I’ve never accepted the scar. It’s stared at me from the mirror for decades. It affected how I wear my hair, the glasses I choose. And I can’t raise my left eyebrow. My face is uneven

A nurse told me there was a mirror on the right hand side of the bathroom, and I might not want to see my face. I understood – my face was a mess – and took her advice

However I was young and had no idea how long my face would be bruised and scraped

Six days into my stay I was asked if I’d like to wash my hair and put on proper clothes. Fed up with lying in bed, I definitely wanted to get dressed

Nobody said my face was still frighteningly destroyed. I thought if they’re suggesting I get dressed, I must be better

So I crossed the ward to the bathroom, didn’t avert my eyes from the mirror, saw my face

Maybe I screamed out loud, maybe not. I certainly screamed inside. Black, blue, red, purple face. Hair still matted with dried blood that hadn’t been washed out because of the stitches

I managed to dress and wash my hair. Then I walked by the mirror without looking

On the morning I was due to leave hospital, eight days after admission, the surgeon who had stitched me up came over. “Never mind, you can get plastic surgery when you’re older”

I hadn’t said a word! Did he think I was going to complain about his terrible patchwork? Sue him? I hadn’t even noticed the twelve stitches within the devastation that was my face

But let me return to the concussion

Concussion has consequences way beyond a hospital stay and terrible stitching. For me the most evident result was a change in my periods. Until the concussion, regular and monthly. Textbook

The concussion happened in May. I didn’t have another period for months. Then they were irregular, unpredictable – for ever

Another issue was the start of my working life. Two weeks and two days after the fall I began my first job. (I hated it, soon moved to a different company. I’ll tell you another time)

Two young people were due to start on the same day. Myself and a young man. My concussion meant I started one week later than him

For five days he was “last in” – office junior

Then I arrived. Excellent! A girl! She can have all the rubbish jobs while the young man can aim high. Sexism 101

And lastly, the scar on my forehead. I cut a fringe. I parted my hair on the right. I chose glasses that don’t draw attention to my eyebrows – remember, I can’t raise the left one

When the pandemic came and I couldn’t get my hair cut, still I worked around the scar. This week I took a huge step and drew my hair right back, scar in full view. No-one seems to have noticed

I could say there’s a lesson in this story. But there really isn’t. I was concussed; I was scarred; I’m still affected by it

But I’m getting better

_________

Read more of my stories if you enjoyed this one. And you can find out more about me on my socials. (I’m a shopkeeper by day)

Instagram, one_basket

Facebook, One Basket Kelso

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