I get hurt a lot. Naturally clumsy, combined with poor connective tissue, means that it isn’t uncommon for me to hurt things just walking or even getting out of bed (yes, that really happened). Generally, the extent of the injury isn’t apparent until later and they usually end up with some lifestyle ramifications until healed.
My latest effort, however, was one in which the effects were immediately apparent and it happened on tour.
I was climbing out of the truck about ten at night, after finishing all my tasks. The truck is very high in the front cab (there are two steps and gripping bars either side of the door – I often feel like a monkey climbing up there) and I somehow missed the second step on the way down.
I don’t really remember what happened but I think I must have hit my head very hard on the door. My co-worker found me wandering around in my pajamas saying , “I don’t remember what happened”. I hadn’t been wearing those pajamas when I fell so I had obviously gone back to my room and changed. He was understandably very concerned and put me to bed. I later found out he’d notified the office because he was so worried about me.
The next day, he (and my boss, as a result of the earlier phone call) insisted I get checked out at the Yulara clinic. I didn’t have any window of opportunity, however, until the afternoon: I was the only person that could legally guide around Ayer’s Rock. So I did.
I felt really unwell, with a thumping headache and nausea, but I sucked it up and did my cultural interpretation and the resulting 2.5 km walk. Dropped off passengers for scenic flights/free time and I made a beeline for the Yulara village medical centre, only to be informed that their services were all about the people living in the village; they might be able to fit me in if I waited all afternoon. Otherwise, call 000.
I can understand that non-urgent cases are shrugged off but I’d hit my head and become unconscious and that can have serious ramifications. I told them why I was there and triage deemed that I wasn’t a serious enough injury to see the doctor urgently. Trouble is, I didn’t have time to spend there. I waited nearly three hours and then I had to go – our campsite was 2 hours drive away.
It took a couple of days to stop feeling so shitty but ever since then I’ve had headaches and also a fierce ringing, combined with deafness, in my left ear (the side I hit, to judge by the bruise). I’ve googled a bit and found that I might have post-concussion syndrome and that these things might go away after a few months.
I am visiting my GP tomorrow; he might want a specialist but I won’t be in town for that to happen. There’s probably nothing they can do now but I find it very distressing to suddenly be deaf on my left side and I want to monitor my hearing so that I have a baseline for comparison.