Kindly, Krissy: How a concussion revealed the uncertainty of life


Kristen Heilenman, Former Editor in Chief

It always seems like just when you start to figure life out, it changes in an unexpected way. 

One Thursday night in November, I hopped in my car and drove down the street to babysit two kids who I absolutely adore. The three of us were sitting on the couch when all of a sudden the boy decided to start tickling his sister. Trying to get him to stop, the girl flailed her legs, ultimately kicking me in the head, right in the corner of my left eye. Immediately, my vision went blurry and I felt sick to my stomach; however, I disregarded this as I had happened to feel sick that day and the day prior.

When I woke up the next day, I had a fever and continued to feel sick with a headache, so I stayed home from school thinking I caught the stomach bug that was spreading around. What I didn’t know was that I had actually sustained a concussion.

In the next week, I would get a few headaches here and there but thought of it as normal, as I was preparing to leave for the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention in D.C., and was stressed about packing and completing makeup work for not only my sick day, but also the two days I would be out of town. The headaches kept getting worse, and on the morning leaving for D.C., I finally told my mom, who also brushed it off as stress. 

The worst of the worst came when we were at the convention. After a day full of workshops and a competition, I had almost every symptom of a concussion: pounding headaches that got worse when I looked at my phone, poor balance, fatigue, nausea. I was ready to attend the convention and workshops, but life turned me in a different direction, as I had to stay at the hotel and miss a workshop because of my ever-growing headache and dizziness. When we finally got back from the trip and I got in the car with my mom, I immediately broke down in tears from everything I went through that past weekend. Thankfully, our advisor, Ms. Reaman, has also been through a concussion and was able to help me throughout the trip. I have no idea how I would have survived without her or my roommates who helped me out.

The next day, I went to the doctor and was unsurprisingly diagnosed with a concussion and had to begin going to physical therapy, as my eyes were out of sync from being kicked there. I also had orders from the doctor to stay home from school for the next three days and return after Thanksgiving break. Normally, any high schooler would be thrilled about this news; however, the only thing I was able to do at home was sit in the dark and stress about my accumulating school work. 

While sitting in the dark thinking about the situation I was in, I came to a very accurate realization: I can’t control the things that happen to me as a result of the randomness and uncertainty of life. Personally, I like to plan things ahead of time and know exactly what is going to happen, but in reality, no one can. Life throws people so many different challenges and it is up to you to decide how you deal with it.