From the helmet of: Tesla
Skaters make comebacks from injuries all the time. Every person is different, and every injury is different. Here's my comeback story. I bet it's the first of many, but my fingers are crossed that it's my ONLY.
I was terrified of the uncertainty. The what-ifs had a real good hold. It had been ::counts on fingers:: about 10 weeks since my concussion, and I was heading back to derby. How I fared during my recovery is a tale for another time, but I'll definitely want to tell it later. "What if I can't do stuff and I fall? What if my endurance is shot? What if people have forgotten me?" Fears are usually pretty irrational, right? But we know they are. I figured, some of my fears may be silly, but there is no use trying to talk sense into yourself when you're having a panic attack, it all just sounds scary.
I'll cut to the chase: I did just freaking fine. Some things felt stiff and shaky, but all the skills were still there. Everything I could do pre-concussion, I could still do. My strength and endurance needed a little work, but I was not dying, not huffing and puffing. Skills are half muscle memory, half mental memory, and I seemed to have remembered everything. So, that fear was soothed. Quick movements were jerky at first, but things returned to my version of normal within a couple of hours.
My biggest fear was hitting my head again. I pep-talked myself, saying, "Listen, kid, you're gonna hit your head again at some point. It's gonna happen. Either you play derby or you don't. Some things just come with the territory, so you better make sure you're ready." Well, I got to find out how ready I was in week 2. I skated on brand new wheels (Radar Presto 95As) without skating off the coating, and totally ate shit twice on hockey stops, smacking my head both times. It jarred me, got me a little scared, but did not hurt any more than a normal head bump with a helmet would. After an injury, everything little ache or pain feels like it could be because of the injury. I kept asking myself, "Is this ache in my head because I just bumped it, or because I just re-scrambled my grey matter?!" Time would tell. And it was fine. No lasting headache. WHEW.
Another fear was social. I'd been gone long enough that there were new girls, and some of the girls I'd skated with were now in a higher level, and I'd not be skating with them. I worried that I'd be in some kind of new girl bubble again. I needn't have been nervous. The new girls were wonderful, and most of my friends welcomed me back. There were some wrinkles in that arena, though, and ironing was needed. If you've had a head injury, you may know what I mean.
It turns out that when you hit your head and the world goes dark, you just kinda check-out for a while. You stop being YOU. You stop participating in life fully... or at all. To someone who is going through it, or is very close to the person going through it, this is understandable. My husband watched me struggle. He watched me drop everything, not be able to type, stumble as I walked, and fumble for words. He put up with mood swings, depression, anxiety, anger, and lethargy. He held my face in his hands, stared into my eyes, and said, "I want my wife back." I was in there. I was just broken.
But he got it. How could he not? He could see it happening. Friends who were less-close didn't quite get it, though. Some mates checked in on me, some gave advice. Some had been through it before and kinda said, "It's gonna be ok. See you on the other side!" But some really gave me up for gone. When I came back, I was treated coldly by more than a few. "Well, you stopped talking to me, so..." It pained me to think my seclusion had hurt someone's feelings. I got more than a few pushes, like, "You need to just push and get back out there. You didn't need to take 10 weeks just feeling sorry for yourself." I clammed up a bit and let things ride. Two friends, after pushing, came back to me and said, "I'm sorry I pushed. I read up on concussions, and I didn't realize they were so bad." Let it ride.
So, all of the above sounds crappy, but there were some unexpected bonuses to taking a long break-
Am I ready to scrimmage again? Nope. Practice hasn't included real scrimmages yet this session, and it's been so many weeks that I feel I need a refresher first, but I'm excited. And terrified. And I think that's ok. Let it ride.
Tesla and Gravy
Just two rollergirls trying to share the rollerlove from Austin, TX to the world.