I hit my head last night.
This comes with the territory of tonic-clonic seizures and is generally not catastrophic; I can, and do, handle bumps and bruises, headaches, etc. with relative ease. This time, though, I’m pretty sure I gave myself a concussion. I stubbornly refused to go to the hospital so can’t be totally sure, but all of the requisite signs were there: pain, nausea, double vision, confusion, and, most importantly, obstinacy. My husband dutifully reported that I refused to get up off the bathroom floor and move to bed until he promised not to watch an important basketball game today, astutely telling him that “college basketball ruins lives.” Yes, I know how to exploit a situation even when in a post-ictal, post-head-hitting state. (He’s watching the game as I type. When I’m aware of what I’m saying, I’m not a total bitch.)
I’ve been thinking about the potential of concussions to affect tremendous change in a totally different context lately. In a 1930 novel I’m analyzing in my dissertation, the protagonist, a rebellious young woman who has just left a scandalous lesbian relationship in order to conform to societal norms by marrying a man, faints at the moment of her engagement. After she has recovered from the resulting concussion, it becomes evident that something “miraculous” has occurred: due to the head injury, her personality is significantly altered. Now a suitably submissive female, she is able to happily accept marriage, leaving her perceived transgressions behind.
As of yet, and probably to my husband’s chagrin, I have not emerged from a concussion more docile, as evidenced by the fact that I have spent all day working when I should be resting my poor, battered brain. But I sometimes wonder if, one day, I will regain consciousness a different person.
This makes me more curious than fearful. Beginning to accept what I can’t wholly control (not to sound like a self-help book or anything) has, for me, entailed examining my situation from a detached perspective, much as I would a literary text. I’m just glad that my life is simpler than the above-mentioned example of Italian magical realism.