Concussions – Parent’s Perspective, Child’s JourneyWritten By: Debbie Freeman
A new kind of exhaustion is hitting me and I woke up with a headache. Day 24 of my daughter’s concussion is taking a toll on me. It actually hurt to move my eyes from side to side. I am trying to get use to my new routine and drove my daughter to see Dr. Burns as my head pounded away. He put her in the VNG goggles to test her tracking again. Luckily he asked me to turn off the lights for the test, because the glare was making my eyes ache. I sat down and leaned my head against the wall hoping the appointment would end soon and muttered, “my head is killing me”. He looked up from adjusting her goggles and handed me a pair of red glasses to put on. He said they might help. The whole room looked bright red, like someone turned on Christmas and forgot to add green. I really could have used an ibuprofen and a glass of wine, but figured the glasses couldn’t hurt. As he continued on with the appointment, my headache slowly slipped away. It was the strangest thing. One thing that I have learned from Dr. Burns is not just to accept a change in condition, but to ask why. So I asked where I could get a pair of glasses and how they worked. Apparently you can get them at a gun shop or if I was into crochet I might be familiar with them too. Guns and knitting are not my forte, so these were new to me. He didn’t recommend them for daily wear, but explained how they worked. His explanation was long, detailed and included a lot of specific brain information. In my terms, let’s just say they reduced stimulating stuff in the room so my brain could relax. Maybe that’s why people talk about seeing the world through rose colored glasses! This is just one example of the creative ways that Dr. Burns is helping people understand the brain, one bit at a time.
My daughter will finish just two classes this school year with her friends, and receive tutoring this summer for the other four. She is still having headaches, though much reduced from the first weeks of her concussion and she no longer needs her daily nap. We are on Day 26 of the concussion. Everyone’s brain recovery is different, but this is where we are at now. With her balance stabilized and her eye tracking improved, today Dr Burns introduced her to the Interactive Metronome. He put earphones on her and a sensor on her hand. He wanted her to make big arm circles and end with her hands in front of her like she was playing the cymbals to the metronome beat. He then increased the level of difficulty by changing the pattern to taping her foot and swinging her arms, still to the beat. She found this seemingly daily task of “walking” challenging. She kept getting confused with which arm should be forward and which leg should be back, so he mirrored it for her and even helped to swing her arms. I couldn’t help but laugh as I watched. It reminded me of the movie Footloose when Kevin Bacon (Ren) was teaching his buddy (Will) how to dance. Are you singing, “Let’s Hear It For the Boy” yet? An Interactive Metronome would have helped Will to dance and is definitely helping my daughter with her gait while walking. One more creative example that Dr. Burns is using to move my daughter towards recovery.