Thursday, June 08, 2006

The 9 Lives of Cat in Rabat: Life the First

It was only a matter of time: I finally had my first accident this weekend. As I broke the news to my brother, his initial reaction was, "did a taxi finally hit you?" Amazingly enough, I have yet to be clipped by a cab, or a car for that matter; he seemed oddly disappointed. In short, I cracked open my head.

Injuries to the head can be caused by traffic accidents, sports injuries, falls, workplace accidents, assaults, or bullets.

Assaults! Bullets! Such drama ..... but my accident was self-induced and involved the insalubrious meeting of my head with the very sharp corner of a marble table. If it sounds lame, it's because it was; in fact, I was sorely tempted to embellish the details, introducing a pack of thugs, a crowbar, and a rottweiler (the dog was just for effect - I haven't actually seen a rottweiler in Rabat yet). Alas, it is what it is: I hit my head on the kitchen table. A complete spaz by nature, I am wont to injure myself with sharp and blunt objects. Stairs yield a special challenge to me.

(Note to reader: I am the first person to concede that this isn't a terribly interesting subject matter for a blog, but for now we'll chock it up to my post-traumatic brain injury).

So, head met table and bloody mayhem ensued. Much blood. Much mayhem. Head wounds produce an inordinant amount of blood - I knew this, but I wasn't thinking terribly straight. - it may have been the blood coursing down my face. My kitchen looked like the-discovery-of-the-body scene in any Law & Order episode. There was blood on the walls, blood on the fridge, blood on the table, blood on me. My clothes were drenched. My head sprayed blood along the hallway, as I ran down to fetch the towels.

Head wounds must be treated with particular care, since there is
always the possibility of brain

I ran to the bathroom and grabbed towels - all of which I have since thrown away. I feared the reaction of the attendant at the laundromat. One look at my towels and she would have called the police. I wrapped my head in a towel, made a perfunctory attempt at sopping up blood and laid down. I was feeling a bit weak - possible because 2 pints of my blood had just been scattered throughout the apartment. It has been suggested that I should have gone to the hospital - contact Rabat's 911 equivalent - or grab a taxi. It didn't really occur to me. One thinks rationally when other people are injured and are dismissive (at least I am) when it's oneself. I could have called my supervisor, Mr. N., who severely chastised me after the fact for not doing so. I kept thinking of his brand new car and how my head would have stained the upholstery and irreparably adulterated that "new car" smell. He later assured me that he would have wrapped my head up in a big plastic bag first. I was touched. Nonetheless, I have seen the insides of one of Rabat's hospitals. It seemed to me, even in my irrational state, that there was less chance of contracting a staff infection in my own home than in the hospital.

After a head injury, there may be a period of impaired consciousness followed by a period of confusion and impaired memory with disorientation and a breakdown in the ability to store and retrieve new information.

So, in the spirit of "impaired consciousness", words like "skull fracture", "intracranial hemorrhaging", "blood clotting", "concussion, "permanent brain damage" held no particular meaning for me; instead, I went to sleep. I have since learned that going to sleep was the one activity I should never have engaged in. Had I had a concussion, the results could have been disastrous. Oh well, live and learn. Woke up the next morning with a bloodsoaked towel around my head, a bloody pillow and sheets, and little memory of what happened.

As the patient recovers, memory slowly returns. Post-traumatic amnesia refers to loss of memory for events during and after the accident.

When I walked into the kitchen & saw the blood that I had missed cleaning up the night before, I checked the apartment for another body. In a somewhat confused state, I sat down & tried to piece the events together. Then I went to the bathroom and tried to piece my cranium back together - which is a bit of an exaggeration since the congealed blood seemed to be holding my scalp in place. Did I require stitches? Probably. Did I eventually go to the hospital or to a doctor? Nope. Thanks to the unique child-raising efforts of my parents, I abhor doctors and only visit them when a limb goes astray; rather, I attempted to wash the dried blood out of my hair but gave up when tears of pain impeded my vision; instead, I squeezed an antibiotic ointment into the continental divide traversing my head. By the next day, I could finally see the 4 inch gash. Frankly, it was better when I couldn't see it.

It's been 5 days now, and I think I'm healing rather well. In fact, I was able to wash my hair this morning without having to quell a rolling wave of nausea: a good sign!

Recovery from a severe head injury can be very slow, and it may take five years or longer to heal completely.

I add this last comment to explain away any dull postings that may pop up in the next few weeks. If I've lost my spark, we'll blame the kitchen table. By way of compensation, I do hope that I'll have a fabulous scar to show for all of this - if it's as jaggedy and sinister as I think it will be, I'll add a couple of bolts to the side of my neck to complete the effect.

One life down, eight to go!


Anonymous myrtus said...

Oh how awful, you poor dear!
I hope you get better soon.

3:32 p.m.  
Blogger ByronB said...

Wow! That makes my head ache just to think about it.

But your post was so lucid it's hard to think any permanent damage has been done.

My suggestion is that you should do a short post once an hour for the next 48 hours so that we can check on your progress.

9:44 p.m.  
Blogger knarf said...

You're right, keeping awake is important after a head injury like yours. To help, you should have propped your eyelids open with toothpicks, just like Fred Flintstone did when they accidentally switched his x-ray with Dino's, and they thought Fred had a dino-peptic bug which is fatal to humans if they fall asleep, but quite harmless to pet dinosaurs. Poor Fred!

Anyway, it's not that I was disappointed that you hadn't gotten hit by a taxi, it's just that that's what I expected to hear, that's all.

Did you get pix of the blood smeared and splattered about your apartment? That would have been pretty cool.

Certainly glad to hear you're alright now, and that this wasn't more serious than it already was.

-your ever-concerned bro

11:47 a.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Thanks for the good wishes - it's healing ok. At least I'm not waking up with blood on the pillow. Knarf: that Flintstones episode was a riot ... loved the bendy toothpicks!

2:50 p.m.  
Anonymous Cath said...

Ahhh, this conjures up fond memories of a certain finger (thumb??) caught in a 1978 Buick door, and subesquent trip to St. Mary's Hospital to get Cat in Rabat stitched up, while her faithful friend sat in the waiting room for three hours, watching flies mate.
Good times.

7:54 p.m.  
Blogger woman wandering said...

Ewww, sounds like you're mending though.

Good luck with the scar, it will make a grand story.

12:20 p.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Ahhh Cathy - that was in the summer of 1980! My thumbnail never did heal properly. I still blame Pat M. for that.

2:12 p.m.  
Anonymous Liosliath said...

You killed me with the mention of "staff" infection - I'll bet Kenn and others were flattered.

Anyway, I'm glad you're OK and sans staph infection!

2:41 p.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

God - that was a Freudian slip!

6:41 p.m.  
Anonymous clarksburg said...

An injury to the head is always a serious matter as it could lead to all sorts of complications, what feels like a normal headache could be something else. If you or someone you know suffers a head injury they should be checked by a professional as soon as possible. If it a industrial accident then inform your boss of the incident and ask if you can leave for treatment.

11:26 a.m.  

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