Concussion

Monday evening was the monthly horse club meeting at the rodeo arena. We’ve started riding at the meetings instead of having “just a meeting”. We decided to take both of our horses out to the arena since leaving Buddy at home results in a trench being worn all along the fence. He gets really cranky when he is left behind.

Once my daughter had her horse saddled and had started riding, I told my big brother that I wanted to ride the other horse bareback. On goes the bridle, up goes me (no easy feat), and into the arena we go. Buddy is an old horse, in his 20’s. He occasionally let’s me know that he is less than pleased that I have chosen to ride him, but nothing too violent.

We made 3 or 4 circles around the perimeter of the arena at a nice slow walk. On the fourth trip around, something happened. I guess he spooked at the late evening shadows and the next thing I knew, I was going down. I landed in plowed dirt (definitely not a soft substance if that’s what you were thinking), smacking my left glute and bouncing my head off the ground in the process. I rolled over rather slowly, took a second to collect my wits, and then proceeded to drag myself upright and walk to the center of the arena where Buddy and other adults were waiting for me. Knowing “the law” that says you must get back on a horse when you are thrown, I prepared myself for the ascent. However, a feeling of blackness began to envelope my vision and I leaned against Buddy’s shoulder to rest for a moment.

My next realization was of me sitting in the dirt and people around me asking the how many fingers and what’s today’s date questions. Yep, for the first time in my life, I involuntarily checked out. As concussions go, mine was probably very mild with no headache or nausea, and yet my brain was shaken enough to need a moment to shut down and reboot.

I went to see my amazing chiropractic neurologist Tuesday morning after a very sore and tender night sleeping in a chair in the living room. Our bed is in the basement, and there was NO WAY I was going to attempt descending and ascending those stairs. He did wonders for me resulting in at least a 50% improvement in the way my body was feeling 36 hours post accident. He even did some neuro stuff to help my head fog to clear and restore my ease of eye movement.

In spite of the chiropractic success, I couldn’t shake something my daughter’s vision specialist had once said to me. I sent him an email telling him what had happened and asking him his thoughts. He replied, “OK, well, I know you know that I want to see you YESTERDAY. The earlier we intervene, the quicker we can halt the cascade of excitotoxins that mediate the post-concussion symptoms and syndrome. For example, six months or two years from now, you could go through a deep depression and have no inkling it was caused by this concussion.”

“From what you’ve said, there’s no question that you’ve been injured (for example, many of the people I treat never blacked out). Yes, you’re likely to recover reasonably well w/o light therapy. But post-concussed brains are never the same. Just like any significant trauma, we may seem to get over it in time (actually, many are symptomatic, they just don’t relate their symptoms to their accident). All the traditional tests may be normal, but ultimately, we’re left more susceptible and less resilient to the next stress or trauma. That’s where the visual fields are most helpful. They help people see something is indeed wrong. Even when traditional testing measures little or nothing, I typically measure significantly more on visual fields. Optimally, I’d want to measure your fields and see exactly what we’d be treating.”

If I’m in need of the therapy, how many old cowboys (or young ones), ex-football players, and accident prone kids are walking around with emotional and physical limitations as a result of past head trauma? I know the therapy works, because I saw behavior changes that were nothing short of miraculous with my daughter. I will fork over the money and make at least three trips to Denver to see Dr. Stuart Tessler. I will experience his Fight or Flight Therapy and have the benefits of it while making strides to stop and reverse the damage done in a horse accident.

I know so many others who have had much worse accidents than mine. Dr. Tessler has told me in the past that he will bring his therapy to our area along with the follow-up visits if he has enough people who will commit to the therapy. His therapy isn’t cheap by small town standards, and yet how much money do people spend on super sized beverages and over priced junk food every week? How much do we spend each year on satellite or cable TV? If it were cancer, most would be selling a vehicle or mortgaging the house to get the necessary treatment. Unfortunately, insurance isn’t likely to pay for Fight or Flight Therapy, but it’s just as tax deductible as any other medical treatment. It’s an alternative therapy that requires a person to be willing to expend their own money to improve their quality of life.

That’s the direction western medicine is moving these days. If you want to get better, you’d better be prepared to foot the bill. If you want to get temporary relief of some of your symptoms while hanging onto your pet ailment, then take a pill that insurance pays for.

Stay tuned for the follow-up adventures in Fight or Flight Therapy. Maybe my experience will help others make a choice to get better.

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