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November 2019
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When the body realises it is not 18 anymore

So three weeks ago I was taking part in a ‘Ringuette for parents’ session. What should have been a fun hour of drills and then a bit of a scrimmage, didn’t turn out quite the way it should have.

I realise this pales into insignificance when compared to other things going on in the world and people’s lives, but I thought if I put down what happened to me then maybe it might help someone in the future, so here goes.

The session itself was a lot of fun. Some skating and passing drills. Then during the final minute of the session, I was skating hard to try to stop a shot on goal, and then caught an edge or something, fell, and slide, slamming my shoulders or head first into the boards. At the time it didn’t seem anything, and I briefly lay on the ice, trying to catch my breath. I couldn’t work out whether I was tired from skating, dehydrated from not drinking. I got changed and still didn’t feel quite right, so Jo drove home.

Maybe that should have been the first sign, the second being that I fell asleep not long after getting home, and I had a dull headache. I got up for to go to one of the girls’ ringuette games that evening and again the next morning. But then I slept for nearly 30 hours. I managed to see a doctor on the Monday evening but he just said rest for 72 hours.

I ended up taking the whole week off work, as the headache persisted and I could not focus on a computer screen or read anything for long periods of time. I was sleeping a  lot. At times I would think I was getting better, and then I would go downhill again. Most of the time, it just felt like my head was fuggy or cloudy, difficult to describe but it wasn’t like an ordinary headache. If I bend down and then stood up a few times, my headache either came back or got worse.

I went back to the doctor the following week, this time he looked at me with a “what do you want me to do” kind of look. His advice was just to take it easy and rest until the headache went away, as the symptoms had not changed.

Taking it easy, is difficult to do when life has to go on. It is possible to cut somethings out, but not absolutely everything.

What I found more useful, then going to see a doctor, was a seminar on concussions that I attended on the 14th December. It had been organized by the Ringuette association, and I found myself relating to everything that was said. The key things I took away were:

  • you don’t need to fall or hit your head to get a concussion, the main cause is a rotational acceleration of the brain
  • helmets don’t prevent concussions, they are designed to prevent a fractured skull and can actually cause concussions, and they are designed to make blows glance off the head, which can
  • whiplash is commonly seen along with concussions
  • concussions are more common in women and children possibly due to weaker neck muscles
  • total rest is the best cure, with no physical exercise until all symptoms have gone
  • if total rest in impractical then it is best to try to limit activities to essential ones, i.e. to limit work or school work to the essential tasks
  • once the symptoms have gone then a phased return to physical activity is recommended, passing each step, before trying the next. if there is any return of a headache or other symptom, then it is back to rest and starting again
  • whilst most concussions clear within two weeks, it can take 6 months or more
  • it is not worth the risk of playing through a concussion, as the threshold for getting another is much lower until you fully recover

The Thinkfirst website has a lot more info on concussions, if you are interested.

I’ve noticed that whilst I continue to recover somethings don’t come as easily as they did before. French lessons seem much harder, and I’m tired at the end. Sometimes Jo thinks I’m being awkward, but whilst that might be true at times, for others, I either can’t remember what I was going to say or do. This is getting less and less which is good.

One other side effect for me, has been a complete aversion to alcohol. Something tells me it is just not a good idea, so this Christmas will be a dry one for me, at least until the symptoms go completely. That said yesterday and today I’ve felt ok, so I’m hoping that a week’s holiday from work will be just what I need and maybe I’ll be able to celebrate with a small glass of red.

As I was reminded yesterday, I’m not 18 anymore, and maybe it is time to stop trying to act like one at times, but I’ll counter that by saying I’ll keep taking part when I can, but realise that there are limits to what I can do.

Hoping this helps,


1 comment to When the body realises it is not 18 anymore

  • Liz

    Aïe! Tout ça ne sonne pas bien, Doug, tu as été fort secoué, en effet! J’espère que tu te sens déjà mieux par rapport au moment que tu as écrit le rapport ci-dessus, et surtout que tu es en train de te reposer en compagnie de ta famille cette semaine!
    Parlant de famille: je viens de dire au revoir à ma mère et ma soeur qui étaient en visite pour Noël; j’essaie de les inviter tous les 2 ans, car autrement Maman commence à penser qu’elle ne compte plus dans ma vie – ou quelque chose d’aussi ridicule! Enfin, ce ne sont pas les invité les plus reposants (Maman doit être occupée TOUT LE TEMPS), mais nous avons tenu le coup et tout s’est bien passé.
    J’étais pourtant bien contente de passer un après midi à moi toute seule, j’ai bien nettoyé la moto, et re protégée contre les intempéries et le sel sur la route, et j’ai même enlevé les feuilles du gazon!
    Allez, courage avec ta tête, ça ira mieux surement dans peu de temps maintenant!

    Bises à toute la famille,


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