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Toni Talks about PT Today

My Visit to the Emergency Room

Published November 12, 2013 5:25 PM by Toni Patt

Last week while I was in New Jersey to teach seminars, I was involved in a motor-vehicle accident. I hit my head on the steering wheel, was taken to the emergency room and diagnosed with a concussion. During the time immediately following the accident, I was able to experience a brain injury from the other side of the hospital bed.

I have no memory of the accident. I was told there was a brief loss of consciousness. I still have a memory gap of about 90 minutes beginning just before the accident until some point in the emergency room. My first clear memory is being told I was being taken for a CT scan and thinking, "Well of course, you have to look for blood." I hope I didn't say that out loud. I know I didn't ask to see the scan but I wanted to.

I have no memory of the being taken to the hospital via ambulance. Nor do I remember discussing the accident and resulting ticket with the state trooper. I don't remember providing anyone with identification or insurance information. Yet, all of that happened. I was awake, alert and following commands.

Now I know how TBI patients feel. No one realized I wasn't processing any of the information. Apparently neither did I, as I didn't write anything down. The state trooper said he was with me from the accident until well after I arrived at the hospital. I couldn't describe him if my life depended upon it. I was alert enough at the time of the accident to request that my GPS device be removed from the car. I found it in my computer bag, which I also requested remain with me. I wish I would have asked for my heavy coat.

Naturally I researched concussion as soon as I could get Wi-Fi. All of my symptoms are typical. I also learned I shouldn't have been surfing the web. Instead I should have let my brain rest. I was exhausted the next day but functional. The fatigue is finally resolving. This is making me rethink some of what I say about patients being out of bed and active. Once I got back, I immediately went to the barn. As much as I wanted to stay there and ride both horses, I had to go home and sleep.

Now I am dealing with insurance companies. The problem isn't the car insurance. It's the health insurance. Seems no one wants to be responsible. No one will agree to pay unless the others deny the claim. I'm not surprised.

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Hope you are feeling better.  It is frightening when you are unable to account for time or events that you were present for.  The brain is remarkable in the way it functions and how it process information.  

Jason Marketti November 13, 2013 11:19 PM

Scary stuff. It sounds like you are on the mend; happy to hear that. Sorry you had to gain insight through personal experience, but as with so many of the things we treat as PTs, sometimes that is the only way we really know what it's like.

Hope you're back to your old self soon!

Dean Metz November 13, 2013 5:22 AM

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