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. And part came from colleagues: another Ortho-Bionomist, another functional neurology massage therapist. A major part came from people who prayed for me. And the rest came 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. I was baffled by what was going on. And I wanted to figure out what made my symptoms worse, and what I could do to make them better. 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.
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.
I knew where to go for 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 had been diagnosed with the same condition. I referred him to the practitioners that were helping me for more in depth work. (And I would be happy to refer you.)
Better now, new lessons
I have gained new skills for treating people with head injury. And have much deeper compassion for what they are going through. I am thankful for the clients who continued to see me when I was so full of self-doubt. 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 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 some halls of science, but it sure works. (I am now curious, what is missing in the dissing research?)
I am grateful for the love and compassion that still flowed through my hands when my head wasn’t always working so well. And grateful to my clients who taught me to stay strong. Especially to my Parkinson’s patients who taught me to log symptoms in order to gain control over them. Dr. Saki Santorelli, a colleague of Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, reminds us to remain humble in the face of what our clients teach us. And that there’s a healing dynamic in the patient-practitioner relationship that goes both ways (Heal Thyself).
Ready to serve you!
How may I serve you? Do you need the gentle and empathetic touch of Ortho-Bionomy®3? Or perhaps, CranioSacral therapy for a head injury? I also offer functional neurology bodywork for one-sided pain or imbalance. And integrative body-mind healing. Although these are useful for recent injury recovery, they are also effective for chronic pain and old injuries.
You are welcome to call for a free consultation: 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.