I have had head injuries before. After I was rear-ended in an auto accident, May 2015, I wouldn’t let them cart me away in an ambulance because I didn’t want “to take care of a bunch of doctors!” (I agree, that was evidence of impaired judgment.)
Within 10 minutes of the auto accident, I was having continuous seizures and could not speak or walk normally. I spoke to a friend who was aware I wasn’t making good sense. She knew I needed help. And she just showed up. After several hours, when she thought I might be able to drive safely, she invited me to look at these roses. She wanted to check if I could coordinate to walk, step over a small wall and bend to smell them. I took pictures.
Twenty-two days later, another friend accompanied me to the hospital when the seizures got worse. I couldn’t think clearly or stay upright. That friend stayed with me for ten hours.
The doctor in the hospital was very kind. I told her I was afraid of doctors at the time of the auto accident. She waited patiently when I couldn’t talk during the seizures. Then she gently said, “I hope you will consider going to the hospital if you have another auto accident.” Then she corrected herself, “Woops! I hope you never have another auto accident! And I hope you will consider going to the hospital if you ever need emergency care.” I could agree to that.
Colleagues and friends offered me sessions of their unique brands of healing. These pictures of roses and rose campions remind me of the gifts of love, community, selfless service and compassion that they all gave. And that each of us has the power to give.
“By serving each other we serve the whole, something greater than ourselves, we don’t need to keep score. It is natural in community to be of service to each other.”1, 2
I had to take time to recover. It was humbling to realize I was experiencing what my patients go through, and that I needed to be someone else’s patient! Part of my healing came from excellent doctors and therapists, another Ortho-Bionomist, another functional neurology massage therapist. Part came from people who prayed for me. And from a determination to get well. But I wasn’t all healed yet. I had more to learn.
Rosi the Research Geek
Fortunately, one early doctor suggested I keep logs. I’m a research geek, so I kept detailed logs of seizures and other peculiar symptoms, because I was baffled by what was going on. By October, fifty printed pages of logs finally led my primary doctor to a diagnosis. She said there was nothing medically they could do. My regular chiropractor confirmed the diagnosis and kept logs of her observations.
I had never heard of the condition before, vasovagal syncope, but knew how to look it up. Thank goodness for the internet, where patients share strategies to cope with medically baffling conditions! I learned it had a neurological basis, and can be from vagus nerve injury triggered by an auto accident.
I know neuro stuff! So, I started seeing a chiropractic functional neurologist. Then a neurologically oriented physical therapist. Two to three months later, I had learned to gain control over some of the most troubling symptoms. I soon taught the same strategies to a new client who also was diagnosed with vasovagal and told there was nothing the docs could do for him! (Edit another year later–those practitioners were able to treat my vagus nerve to start it working again normally. Call me and I will refer you to them.)
Better now, new insights to serve you!
I am thankful for the clients who continued to see me for the last two years. They reminded me I still had the capacity to serve when I was full of doubts. One told me, “Rosi, you didn’t give up when your doctors told you they had no medical treatment for your condition. Instead, you figured out what you could do for yourself. You walked your talk.”
These experiences have brought new skills and insights: the kindness of friends is essential for life; our capacity to heal is amazing; prayers and faith remain the most powerful healing tools; doctors are not all that scary; Craniosacral therapy doesn’t have great reviews in the halls of science, but it sure works; I am grateful that the love and compassion flowed through my hands when my head wasn’t always working so well.
And I am profoundly grateful to you clients who sustained me and had confidence in me through this ordeal.
If you are unfamiliar with my practice, you are welcome to call for a free consultation. We can discover if the gentle and empathetic touch of Ortho-Bionomy®3 is what you need. Or, perhaps mind-body integration? Or craniosacral therapy? Self-care exercises from functional neurology approaches? Compassionate care to support your recovery from a brain or body injury?
For any of these, call Integration Massage, 503-708-2911.
1 Paraphrased from the friend who came after the accident. Similarly, 1 Peter 4:10 “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others.”
2 You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban was an inspiration during this healing journey.
3 Ortho-Bionomy® is a registered trademark of the Society of Ortho-Bionomy International, and is used with permission.