Head Meets Wall a Little Too Enthusiastically
June 28, 2009 5:03 PM   Subscribe

I just returned from the ER where I was cat-scanned and screened for a concussion. I need some help.

One nurse got the call from radiology and said "[my lastname] is a mild concussion" - not to me, but I overheard. About 30 minutes later, a different nurse came and told me my CT was negative, and gave me discharge papers for "head injury". I was told to return if I started throwing up, to have someone wake me every 2-4 hours overnight and to follow up with my GP in 1-2 days. This arises out of hitting my head in an embarrassing manner at about 3am this morning (sober). You are not my doctor and I am not asking for medical advice. I will call my doc in the morning to make the f/u appointment.

But, in the meantime, I am trying to figure out how to keep myself comfortable tonight. The problem is, I don't know whether I have a mild concussion, or just a bad bump, and I don't know if that difference is significant. Also, since this morning, I have been getting a very sore throat and feeling just off - almost but not quite a little flu-ish. Does that HAPPEN with head injuries? Any suggestions on the best way to keep comfy? How long should I expect to feel this way - should I anticipate (will ask my doc in the morning, but want to prepare accordingly) being out of my (office/desk) job for a day or so?

It hurts SO bad, aleve didnt help much, and I am so freezing cold I really would rather not ice it (unless essentially I "have" to). Obvs no one is my doctor, and I will not accept (because you are not offering) medical advice - I will follow my discharge instructions to the letter. I just don't even know WHAT to google, right now.
posted by bunnycup to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Head injuries can be unpredictable and as someone who has had way too many head injuries in his life, your symptoms don't sound right. Your doctor's office must have an answering service. Call ASAP. Otherwise, go back to the hospital. You need real medical advice right now, and you should get that firsthand form a medical professional. Please go call.
posted by zerokey at 5:28 PM on June 28, 2009

I'm not a doctor, but I've had a mild concussion (slipped on a polished floor) and I'm pretty sure that a sore throat is unrelated. Feeling just off... that covers quite a lot. To give you an example, my symptoms were dizziness, nausea, and not so much the classic blurred vision, but an inability to concentrate and process logical thought. The docs actually gave me a very small dose of codeine which was extremely effective. If they don't want to give you just codeine, here in the UK we can get Paracetamol and Codeine caplets over the counter without a prescription, and I've had good results from those in making migraines a little more bearable.
posted by fearnothing at 5:28 PM on June 28, 2009

Best answer: Hey there. Ouchies. I was...a WFR for a long time. That means I'm not your doctor but I might be able to help you if you fall off a cliff. ;-)

The good news is that you hit your head at 3am and (I don't know you're timezone) but you're still awake and conscious and you're not vomiting and you're just pretty wigged out.

I don't know if you have a concussion, and without knowing your mechanism of injury, I dunno if you're a candidate for something like intracranial bleeding or increasing cranial pressure, but I'm assuming that for the most part the ER docs did this work for us already. If you had either of these things, you'd *likely* already be back in the ER, or more likely you would have never left it.

They want you to come back because they want to know how you're feeling---continued illness and off-kilterness might be a sign that you have a tiny hemmorhage in the lining of your brain, but they don't think you do. They're going to want to know the status of things like your balance, your level of alertness and orientation (can you say your ABC'S? What day is it? Month? Year? Who is the president?), and those sorts of things.

The thing that should make you most comfortable is that they sent you home. Doctors don't fuck around with head injuries. I mean, they keep kids who fall off bicycles wearing helmets and training wheels. I wouldn't take any more NSAIDS like aleve or especially aspirin, but if they didn't warn you against it then go for it.

Lay down and elevate your feet, see if that helps. Drink cool water, avoid caffeine and sugary goo. Try a cool cloth on the ouchie instead of ice. You might find that covering your face and eyes with something soft and gentle pressure really makes you feel more comfy. I don't mean like a comforter, I mean like a t-shirt or bandana, make sure to leave your mouth and nose unobstructed.

That's likely not much help. But...well, Hi!
posted by TomMelee at 5:38 PM on June 28, 2009

Also, along the lines of what Zerokey said, you might see if your ER has a nurses hotline you can call for some reassurance, and/or your insurance too. Lots of modern insurance co's have a free hotline you can call and they'll let you know if you should go to the horsepistol or not.
posted by TomMelee at 5:40 PM on June 28, 2009

Well, I think the reassuring thing is that they did the CAT scan and it seemed to suggest that you're all right. But all the same, call them back just to be clear what your diagnosis and what steps you can take to keep comfortable tonight.If you're really in that much pain and feel very cold, they may reassess. But please do call. Hope you feel better soon.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 6:33 PM on June 28, 2009

If kicking your brother in the shins or other forms of physical abuse will help you vent your pain let me know, I'm here for ya. :P
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:53 PM on June 28, 2009

Response by poster: FXG, sorry I didn't call you - I was there whole time wishing I had my phone so I could get SOMEONE to come and keep me company and talk with the nurses/docs because I knew I wasn't focusing well.

I just called - they said yes concussion, the CT was to rule out bleeding and it was ruled out, I should take OTC pain meds and lots of rest and fluids, and follow up with my doctor as soon as tomorrow but within a week.

Thanks all, for the suggestions! I was feeling very worried that I was feeling a lot worse than I "should" be, but the notes here and the call back to the ER helped me calm down.
posted by bunnycup at 7:03 PM on June 28, 2009

My little brother has had about 10 moderate head injuries in the last two years to the point where I fear calls after 1:30AM...I've taken him to the ER about 4 times (luckily, he is an accident prone biker that actually has health insurance.)

One month he was jumped and beaten severely on his birthday, then two weeks later a huge guy with a cast on his arm broke his nose. Point being, the doctors took the same precautions. The CAT scans showed no bleeding, but they gave instructions to come back in if certain symptoms appeared. I was pretty freaked out about the whole thing but none of the symptoms appeared. I just recommend having someone to hang out with and just take it easy. I only tell you this because I'm guessing my brother's injuries were more severe than yours and he's okay.
posted by schyler523 at 7:36 PM on June 28, 2009

No one in here is your doctor, including me, but I've had all 3 types of head injuries, some multiple times (mild, moderate, and severe concussions). Ah the stupid young life of extreme sports.

If you have a mild concussion (which is pretty fairly deducible by any reasonable medical professional), they are going to tell you to go home, rest, have someone wake you regularly for the first night/day, and call back if you start throwing up or the pain doesn't start to reside at some point. For more severe concussions there are other paths, potentially involving a prolonged hospital stay, but you didn't have that and that's why they let you go. If they had ANY probable cause to keep you around for observation, they would have, but they don't.

You are most likely fine, just follow the advice the docs gave you, and treat the sore throat and such as you normally would. Sounds like a case of bad timing, health-wise, to me.
posted by allkindsoftime at 12:22 AM on June 29, 2009

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