03 January, 2011

Reflections on an accident

Long time no see! Alas, on this occasion the reason for the silence is of a real sort. In the middle of December I experience an accident: I fainted in a grocery store and hit my head as I crashed to the floor. Result: a small skull fracture and a minor brain bleed. So I got to spend two weeks in an Austrian hospital with CT and MRT scans and pain killers, but luckily also got loads and loads of messages and support from concerned friends, relatives and loved ones. I thank all of you with my deepest gratitude and consider myself very lucky to enjoy the presence of such magnificent people! Healthwise I'm pretty ok now, and should not experience any lasting effects. Present day symptoms are mainly an enhanced need for sleep and rest and some minor headaches. So all in all, the future looks very bright, no worries.

Hitting one's head for real makes some weird stuff happen. I can't really remember that much from the first three days after what happened, but I'll tell you all the fun parts. The first thing I remember is being lifted into an ambulance. The first discussion between me and the paramedic was about this:

"Where are we going?"
"Well, you are in an ambulance so what do you think?"
"Oh yeah, when you put it like that... So has something happened?"

Yeah, I didn't really know what was going on, but they briefed me on the way. When we got to the hospital and the doctor interviewed me, it didn't really go any better. I can't remember much from the actual exchange, but the wife of another patient told me some days later that I was really speaking in tongues when I arrived. I'd talked mainly English mixed with some German words and some she couldn't understand at all. Well, I told her that was probably my subconscious talking in Finnish. After this mishmash of languages, you can imagine the nurses' surprise next morning, as they discovered I spoke rather good German!

Fast-forward two weeks of resting, eating and physiotheraphy and I'm here, sitting in front of the computer, looking back at the accident. What has changed? Not much, really. Of course, it made me respect the people close to me even more, but apart from that I don't feel I had a lot of revelations. Sure, in a way it was a case of Reductionism Strikes Back, a reminder of how our cognitive skills are eventually based on physical phenomena. A reminder of how you and your brain are inseparable. So best to take good care of them both.

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