Learning to Relearn

by Jeanie

Jeanie S. - My Concussion StorySix months ago, I was in a head-on car accident. A few days later, I couldn’t count to 10 or unload spoons from the dishwasher. I couldn’t sort the laundry into darks and lights. Trying to hold up my end of a conversation was exhausting. I ran into a friend of mine who said his son had recently suffered a concussion and recommended Dr. Chesnutt at OHSU.

I worked with Dr. Chesnutt as well as occupational and physical therapists. When I came in, I couldn’t sit down with a book and read - I got dizzy. I had occupational therapy to help my eyes track clearly. After the accident, I couldn’t walk a straight line. We did a lot of physical therapy that focused on balance. Normally, I teach fitness classes myself, so this was very humbling - but necessary.

I’m a software engineer with my own business, so it was crucial for me to be as sharp as possible. With three kids all with their own activities, I’m the overseer of about 12 different electronic calendars! Jenny, one of the occupational therapists, helped me re-learn organizational skills and the importance of scheduling rests. Just two 20-30 minute rest times a day keep me focused and able to get back to doing everything I used to.

It’s a shame that so many people who suffer from concussions don’t often get the help they need. An injury like this is so disruptive as well as traumatic. I think of it like breaking a bone- yes, sometimes it will heal without being set, but you want it to heal the right way. And you can tell when you’re working with high-end people. They know what they’re doing, how to help you and how to give you the proper encouragement. I wouldn’t say I’m 100 percent yet, but I’m almost there - and I thank OHSU for that.

After all, I want to make sure I beat my kids at board games again...