I have a hole in my head. Not like my ear piercings or my nostrils. A literal hole in my head; a crack in my skull.Once upon a time, I graduated from eighth grade. I was thirteen. There was a big, blow-out, all day party for all of us eighth graders. We went to the Wave Pool (a local water park with slides, wave pool, and putt-putt), followed by a pizza party, and capped off with a dance. I was so excited!
Too excited, it seems, to eat properly. All day I had nothing but an ice cream bar at the pool. So, when a friend of mine took my hands and started spinning me on the dance floor, I simply collapsed. I hit the floor and, propelled by the unwitting force of my friend’s swing, I slid until I collided with the wall, head first.
I was unconscious for a while. When I woke up I didn’t remember anything from the past week. Then I ‘came to’ again and remembered everything up to dancing with my friend, but nothing after. I had no idea where I was or why my head hurt.
I was sent home from the hospital with a diagnosis of a concussion and instructions not to sleep more than one hour at a time. My parents dutifully woke me up every hour and asked me questions before letting me nod off again. The next morning there was blood on my pillow. Yuck.
I never saw the friend I was dancing with again. School was over and we attended different high schools after that. I sometimes wonder if that was a terrifying experience for her. I wonder if she felt like it was her fault, because it certainly wasn’t.
Twenty years later during a routine physical, I asked my physician about this indentation I’d always had on my forehead leading in to my hairline. “Oh, that looks like a crack. Have you ever hit your head really hard? Had a concussion?”
“A crack? Like a hole? I have a hole in my head??” I asked anxiously.
“Well, yes. It’s not like your brain is exposed or anything, but yes, you have a crack in your skull. It will probably widen and shrink with the weather or if you have a headache.” Well, that’s a fun party trick.
And so, kids, since learning that, I have had to make some serious adjustments. Namely to this statement, “I need that like I need another hole in the head.”