Last night, I went into my home’s basement crawl space to take inventory of the eleventy billion trucks my sons never play with down there. After several minutes of picture-snapping, I totally forgot where I was, as I often do, and STOOD STRAIGHT UP. Because the ceiling was only about 4 feet tall, I DRILLED my head on it and nearly knocked myself the f*ck out. I yelled all the profanities, rocked back and forth like a psych ward patient, and bleated like a wounded barnyard animal before slowly crawling out of the torture chamber. Tottering back upstairs, I made it safely to my laptop and went straight to Google. “What are the symptoms of a concussion?” I typed. I sat there for a good 15 minutes, soaking in all the wisdom WebMD had to offer, and then it dawned on me. I CONCUSS myself every single day, because most of these symptoms apply to me on the regular.
1). Confusion or feeling as if in a fog. Hello?! I’m a mom of three boys, including a set of twins! I feel like I’m sludging through the three pounds of play sand formerly known as MY BRAIN just to summon the ability to help my third-grader with his math homework every night. “Am I smarter than a fifth grader?” I’m not even smarter than a kindergartner.
2). Dizziness or “seeing stars.” This symptom manifests on a daily basis. I am constantly bending over to pick up Skylanders underpants carelessly strewn behind the toilet (which makes me see the dried pools of pee at the base of the toilet so I have to spend 10 revolting minutes wiping it up, trying not to get any on my hands, and holding back my gag reflex). When I’m not scrubbing toilets, I’m bending down to rescue the 30,000 germy Lego pieces of the Millennium Falcon before someone steps on one and gets a staph infection. Each time I pop back up to the surface, I get a massive head rush, causing me to black out and stagger around like the Bride of Frankenstein until I can see again.
3) Ringing in the ears. Repeat after me: NOISE POLLUTION. Living with three boys, four if you count my husband, is like being an airport ramp agent. (You know the guys that wear the big spongy ear muff thingies so that they don’t suffer hearing damage from the roar of 747s)? Only I didn’t figure this out until I was, like 3 years in to being a Mom, at which point I started wearing foam ear plugs. Even with those on, it still sounds like my boys are using a bullhorn when they ask me for Goldfish.
4) Slurred speech. This started happening once I discovered the magical, soothing, healing properties of WINE. The slurring occurs mostly just on weekend nights. And the occasional Tuesday. Mondays too. Oh, hell, it’s EVERY NIGHT, OK? Don’t judge me.
5) Delayed response to questions. This is simply a method of survival. If I promptly answered the 12, 326 questions posed to me by my kids on a daily basis, I’d turn into a robot. A robot that would malfunction, complete with smoke pouring out of its robot ear-holes, coils springing out of its robot ass, and deadly laser beams shooting out of its robot eyeballs. So. I take my time. I appear to be intensely ruminating over every question I’m asked, but I’m actually counting to 1,000 in my head. Most of the time, my kids give up and walk away.
6). Appearing dazed. See #1-4, above.
7). Fatigue. I have an 8-year old boy and twin 5-year old boys. I don’t know about girls, but boys don’t stop moving. Like, ever. They break dance IN THEIR SLEEP. They hurt things, break things, stain things, move things, soil things, drop things, bounce things, eat things, and pee on things. “Fatigued?” More like brain-dead. Which brings us full circle. I think I’ve made it clear I’m a walking brain hemorrhage, so why are you all still SITTING there? Get up and call an ambulance . . . stat!