Well, here I am again, in an all-too-familiar position, and one that I half-thought that I had left in the past: recovering from a seizure-caused concussion, my third—if my almost-entirely-unreliable memory serves me correctly—of the year. I’m trying not to be annoyed at how preventable this seems; I am, after all, supposed to be in the hospital right now getting this whole epilepsy thing taken care of once and for all. No use, however, getting caught up in hypotheticals. #allthehypotheticals
The concussion experience has been different this time. Worse, which makes sense, if you read the literature on their cumulative effect. When I saw my family doctor the morning after it happened, I wasn’t incredibly concerned: sure, it had been scary for my husband and for my dad (who was, luckily, still visiting from BC), especially since it was accompanied by a big tonic-clonic seizure—the latest in a days-long string of them. And sure, I was experiencing some mildish symptoms. I was confident, however, that I could manage them, and the doctor told me that as long as I felt up to it, I would be OK to fly to BC the following week to see my parents as planned.
But over the weekend, my condition deteriorated. Finding it hard to stay awake or keep food down, I was also starting to find it hard to imagine getting on a plane. After brief deliberation, my father, who was supposed to return to Victoria on Sunday, extended his stay to Wednesday so that he could travel on the same flight as I was scheduled to (annnnnd the Father of the Year Award goes to…); we all just assumed that I’d see major improvements in the meantime and would be fine to go by midweek since life surely can’t be so unfair as to cause two surgery delays, a concussion, and a trip cancellation within the space of a month, right?
*cue the tiniest violin in the world.*
Welcome to my existence, friends.
When I was still very unwell on Monday evening, we decided that it would be irresponsible not to see the doctor again before a potential cross-country voyage. Though I woke up on Tuesday feeling like I had turned a corner—no longer nearly as nauseated, and without the distinct impression that my head was about to explode—we still made a same-day appointment with the physician-on-call at the clinic at which I am a patient. I am, after all, nothing if not eternally proactive about my health.
You know when you’re all proud of yourself for doing the right thing, and then you do that “right thing” and are given information that isn’t necessarily what you wanted to hear, then you’re like, “why didn’t I trust my instincts and avoid the doctor so that I could do the thing I actually wanted to do in peace, without pesky internal (or external) conflicts of any kind?” That about sums up the repercussions of this jaunt to the doctor’s office. I’m not sure if I had expected a hearty endorsement of my vacation, per say, but I certainly hadn’t anticipated what I actually got: the advice that I should stay put in Toronto, the suggestion that the uncontrolled stimuli in the plane might set me back in my recovery, and an offer to write a medical note for me if I thought I could get money back for my flight. She didn’t forbid traveling, and even stated that I should take into account how the anxiety of cancelling would impact me. Her no-Victoria opinion, though, was abundantly clear, to the willfully dense of us included.
If I were to choose a word with which to describe the next eighteen hours in my household, post-medical appointment, it would be “equivocation.” Understandably, no one wanted to make the final decision. We thus danced around it. My husband was leaning towards me calling the trip off; my father’s position was unclear; I was torn. Finally, around noon the day of the flight, five hours before I was due to leave the house, I announced that I was going to take my chances. My parents, husband, and I came up with a transit plan and agreed that I’d keep things very, very chill for the first several days in Victoria.
Dad and I went to the airport. We got on the plane. I watched a cheesy movie and ate a plain pita or two, as is my way. All in all, everything went remarkably smoothly. Indeed, I’m writing this from in front of my parents’ fireplace, listening to my mom work. I’d offer to help, but I’m recovering from a concussion—gotta rest (sorry, Ma 😉 ).
I don’t know if I made the right, or the most responsible, decision. Since I’m here, and since I got here without incident, and since I enjoy being right, it’s easy to say that I did all the correct things, but who knows. The safest option, obviously, would’ve been to stay in Toronto. But once other factors are taken into account, the option that presents the fewest risks isn’t always necessarily the best one—I can’t ensconce myself in bubble wrap and lie on the floor of my apartment 24/7, after all—and at the end of the day, I just couldn’t face another pre-surgery disappointment.
So, I didn’t.