Surgeon General's Warning

When football players get injured, they are medically required to sit the bench until they are officially approved for play by a doctor.

I can imagine that this would be frustrating for those players. However, I find them to be quite fortunate.

Because Mommies do not have this same luxury.

I’m pretty sure that I gave myself two concussions last week.

If I were on a football team, I’d get to be taking it easy right now, sipping on team-color-coordinated Gatorade while flipping channels in the Player’s Lounge.

But since I’m not, I’m not.

When mothers get injured, we are still required to tote children up and down stairs (who apparently fill their pockets with large cubes of cement right before we attempt to pick them up,) receive “loving” bonks to the head from our sons, have the brainpower to answer ridiculously complex questions that have no answer that doesn’t lead to another question, and, when leaving our car, balance seven grocery bags, a moldy sippy cup, an at-risk-of-squirting-out-the-sides dirty diaper, and a kid – in only two arms.

It all started last Sunday night. Chris and I have been slowly working our way through the 90’s television show Northern Exposure. I remembered it as a kid and knew that Chris would love it, and sure enough, it’s a favorite. However, that hasn’t kept us from taking approximately seven years to watch the whole series. Other things get in the way, like Downton Abbey and Project Runway.  You understand.

Anyway. We watched the episode where Maggie O’Connell (the neurotic control freak) finds out about dust mites for the first time – and that she’s allergic to them.  Actually, not to them exactly – she’s allergic to their feces.

“I’m breathing in poo!?”

“We all breathe in poo every day! It’s completely normal!”

She goes off on a manic research and cleaning spree, treating her whole house with dangerous substances that promise to kill dust mites, covering her couch with rubber, and endlessly vacuuming her mattress.

I would like to say the fact that I spontaneously bought us a new mattress the next day was completely unrelated. However, I did go to bed the night before itching like a scabies patient.

I originally set out to buy Ali a mattress, because my years-long guilt about her sleeping on my childhood mattress finally reached a tipping point. But the mattress store was having such a good sale…and delivery would be combined…and our mattress was nearly 12 years old…and the dust mites.

In twenty minutes, I had bought us both mattresses. Both on sale, with extra sale on top of that, and with a Groupon on top of that.

“But honey! Look at all the money I SAVED!!”

So we got two new mattresses with same-day delivery.

(When the delivery guys came, I asked them, “So is it true that used mattresses weigh twice as much as new mattresses due to body soil and dust mites?” They said no, but started looking around for a bottle of Purell.)

I clearly couldn’t take dirty sheets off of our old mattresses and put them back onto our new mattresses, I don’t like our spare sheets, and Ali’s blanket looked filthy…

So I set out a-washing. Frantically. I washed and I washed, and as I headed into the laundry room to change out the laundry, I noticed that the overhead cabinet doors were open.

This would have been a good issue to rectify, but I didn’t. Instead, I reached down into the washer to get the blankets and sheets, bent over to put them in the dryer, and then quickly stood up.


The corner of the cabinet door skewered my brain, acting as a spatula flipping my gray matter pancakes.

It was bad.  Bad enough for me to run into the bathroom before I bled all over the good sheets.

(Where I was shocked to find zero blood, so maybe it was slightly less bad than it felt.)

I was dizzy. I was nauseous. I felt pressure in my ears, eyes, and nose.

The pain mostly subsided by the next day, leaving only temporary spells of aches, pressure, and dizziness for the next four days, so I decided that I must be okay.

Until Saturday night.

I had found two pairs of Noah’s socks in Ali’s room, possibly due to a misplacement on my part, but equally possibly due to a hoarding on her part.

(Once, I found two of his pacifiers tucked under her pillow. She claimed she had kept them in case he came in there and needed them, but I have other suspicions…)

I had just laid Noah down for his nap, so I placed the socks in the hallway floor outside of his door.

A couple hours later, at the end of naptime, I headed up to spring him. I saw the socks, so naturally bent down to pick them up.

However, my head injury from earlier in the week had apparently affected the part of my brain that provides the valuable service of depth perception.

When I stood back up, the exact same spot on the top of my head met with the side of the wooden “A” in “NOAH” that hangs on his door in such an impressive manner that it flung his door all the way open.

I nearly died right there, as Noah watched my dramatic entrance with great excitement.

I stumbled to his bed as the dizziness, pressure, and nausea returned in harmony.  After a few minutes, I managed to get him out of the bed, get us both downstairs, and plant myself on the couch until Chris found me and nursed me back to Mostly Dead.

All of Saturday night I worried that I was going to die. Or perhaps fall into a twelve-year coma during the night. I toyed with going to the emergency room, but ER visits never seem to do any good in our family. So I just crossed my fingers and hoped [not] to die.

It’s been nearly a week, and I’m still alive.  So I will assume that’s a good sign.

But I’d still appreciate some doctor’s orders and Gatorade.

27 thoughts on “On Gray Matter and Parenting.

  1. Oh my word, that is so painful! I have done that banging-ones-head-on-the-cabinet-door thing and thought I was going to pass out. Twice in one week? That calls for extra chocolate, for sure!

  2. Glad you’re still alive!

    I “found” Northern Exposure about 5 years ago and LOVE it! It makes me want to go to a small town in Alaska, but I think I’d end up being disappointed not seeing Chris in the Morning, Joel, Maggie, et al there. It reminds me of my favorite show, Ed (the bowling alley lawyer, which has never come out on dvd). I love shows with small town quirky characters :)

    1. I’ve thought the same thing! There has never been anything that made me want to go to Alaska other than Northern Exposure. I am pretty sure the cold would kill me!

  3. Last week I hit my head twice too! First getting into the car, then on my freezer door. Did the classic, lean in to grab something out of the fridge, stand up without backing up and as you put it, Whapop!

  4. I am constantly hitting my head on things. Anything and everything you can imagine. If it exists then chances are I will hit my head on it at some point in my life. It has become the running joke to my husband that he likes to share with others to my embarrassment. Cabinets are the worst and the dizziness that follows. But my head injuries have reached a new high as last summer I was diagnosed with Vertigo. I woke up one morning with the entire room spinning. And it wouldn’t stop (even while laying down) for 3 straight days. Then it took about a month for me to be able to function properly without feeling like I was going to fall……off sturdy chairs, the couch, the toilet. I was pathetic. I still cannot bend over normally without the room moving in circles. My doctor CLAIMS that this has nothing to do with all my head injuries but he failed to convince my husband. He says it is all justified. If I had learned how to control my head years ago then it wouldn’t be trying to punish me now. And you are right……kids and husbands don’t seem to understand the need for Gatorade breaks to make things better.

  5. Wow! That sounds just awful! So sorry!

    I so vividly remember the first time I got sick after having my first child. It had not occurred to me until that very moment that I would never again get to spend my sick days in bed! Such a sad day!

  6. Oh man I did that not too long ago…I was swinging a fallen tree (yes, a whole tree) around over the top of my head for my puppy (who’s more of a horse, hence it being an entire tree) and I almost dropped my camera, so I let go of the tree, but it kept swinging and clocked me in the back of the head so hard it knocked me down. I didn’t get nauseous, but it took a while before I was steady enough to get up and walk inside, and my teeth felt so rattled I was scared they were going to fall out, and I was terrified that if I fell asleep I’d wake up dead.

    It definitely sucks. And I can’t relate to the kid part, but having a mastiff is kind of like having a perpetual GIANT two year old…who flings slobber so high up the walls I can’t even reach it to clean it. :/

    1. I’m thinking that if someone had been filming your tree swinging, you might have won some money for that video. Or at least gone viral on YouTube.

  7. Ouch. I’m cringing just thinking about it. I have done that on my cupboard above the dryer/laundry several times and it is horrible! I always think it must be bleeding, but it never is. :P Love the surgeon general’s warning, but it’s not just a risk of wearing other’s body fluids…it’s a certainty! :)

  8. I have had 4 concussions. 2 in high school: ran into a ladder for 1 and the hatchback of my car fell on my head
    2 as an adult: both when pregnant. 1 at school when a basketball from recess missed the net and hit my head and the other when I was buckling a kiddo into a car seat. I am apparently super susceptible to them. And you are right…they HURT! 1 of my girls seems to have inherited it–at 10, she has had 2 already!

  9. oh my gosh! i HATE it when i hit my head on something…but it’s right up there with stupidly smashing your finger in the door/drawer or stubbing your toe. and why it it worse when you are cold?! ugh!! hope your are ok…. maybe you should have a mommy day and have a pretty colored martini this weekend :)

  10. Ouch! You poor thing, and why is it that when these things happen and you have the headache of all headaches the beautiful loving children we birthed decide this is the ideal time to practice the screetchy singing or the very loud shouting that increases the feeling that your head is going to explode??

  11. Ugh! Time for extra chocolate! I love the line about answering complex questions in a way that doesn’t result in more questions. I am not sure I have that much brain power. And the last time I nailed my head it was at the grocery store on a clear plastic protector over the bagels. Darn depth perception! Hope you heal fast.

  12. I am good at hitting my elbow right on the funny bone and have actually passed out one from it. Most of the time though it just takes my breath away and I see purple spots before my eyes. I have learned to just stay still till the feeling passes otherwise I know I’ll pass out

    1. I hate that funny bone hitting feeling, but you passed out from it??? That’s amazing. I’ve never passed out and I’ve always wanted to.

      Maybe I should just hit my elbow more often.

  13. oh dude, i wish i could get a pass to sit on the sidelines! that would be wonderful. the guilt is the worst if you ask me. i’m such a sucker for it even though i know better. but concussions can’t be good either. your poor head! we do have this pooper pipe from the upstairs bathrooms that runs right down the MIDDLE of our downstairs bathroom and i ALWAYS hit my toes on it! it has like this sticking out piece that gets me every time. so frustrating.

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