Head Trauma Can Be Fun!


Yesterday I was going to do a write-up on the Guns N’ Roses concert I attended Saturday night/Sunday morning (GNR didn’t take the stage until after 11), but then I got home and in circumstances rather too annoying to discuss but which were not her fault (or, for that matter, mine or Krissy’s), Athena found herself the proud possessor of some minor head trauma. Once she started being sleepy and then vomited, we decided to take a fun family outing to the emergency room, where, among other things, Athena was given a delightful souvenir neck brace, which you see her modeling here. Don’t worry; Athena is fine, and the neck brace was only a temporary measure while they were checking her out. She’s wearing it in this particular picture because she finds it a unique fashion accessory. I’ve already told her she can’t wear it on a regular basis. Isolating your neck for no good reason is not really a good thing to do.

Thence follows an interview with Athena about her magical trip to the emergency room:

So, did you enjoy your trip to the emergency room?

I guess. I got a Popsicle, and apple juice, and I got a blankie.

And you got a CAT scan! What did you think of that?

It’s neat. It’s neat because the camera was going around and around really fast and then it was flashing. And then when I went to the next room —

That was the X-Ray room —

The camera was kind of weird because it moved all around and you could change the way it looked, you could make it taller, all from the room in the back. It was really weird.

And what did the doctor say?

That I was fine, and the good part was that the doctor said I should be watched for 24 hours, so I don’t have to go to school today, no I don’t, no I don’t, la la la la la!

See? Head trauma is fun!

NO IT’S NOT!!! (Note: Athena typed that part herself)

It’s not? But you got a Popsicle and a CAT scan and you get to stay home! What’s not fun about that?

I threw up, for crying out loud! And I fell down.

Well, I guess it’s true that those parts of it weren’t a whole lot of fun. But you’re feeling better now, right?

Yeah. I guess. Bye bye!

And at this point the interviewee, clearly bored with the whole interview process, got up to watch more cartoons. She’s got attitude! Which means that she’s just fine.

54 Comments on “Head Trauma Can Be Fun!”

  1. I’m glad that there was no serious harm, that she’s ok, and that you all can look back on it with a great sense of humor.

    I suppose the neck brace might make a nice addition to some future Halloween costume. (I hope that’s the most serious thing anyone ever needs it for.) But, you’re right, of course. Isolating one’s neck for no reason is not a good thing to do.

  2. This reminds me of the time I broke my arm as a kid; I was a bit put out by the re-setting of the broken bones, but once I got my fun, blue sling and a lollipop, I was good to go. Ah, the resiliency of youth. Glad to hear that Athena’s fine. I know I’m new here, but that doesn’t temper the concern any.

  3. Oy. I’m glad Athena’s okay — I can think of few things scarier than the (thankfully few) emergency room trips we’ve had to make with Elayna.

    At least she didn’t injure herself at the G’n’R concert.

  4. Oh c’mon. Getting head trauma at a GnR concert gives such street cred… among mid-late 30 Gen X-ers.

  5. Mary Robinette Kowal:

    Indeed. Ghlaghghee will get what’s coming to her.

    The incident actually happened elsewhere, so no members of the Scalzi household are culpable.

  6. See! More proof that kids bounce!

    Glad she’s doing okay, John. Head trauma is not fun. Really, trauma of any kind is a whole heap of fun in the Not department.

  7. Whew. Glad to hear that she’s okay. Head traumas indeed are no fun. But at least there was no blood – head wounds bleed like nobody’s business.


  8. Glad all is well. Parenting is such fun (but always worth it).

    The picture actually works well, considering the last time I saw Athena was in the rabbit attack movie. Logical progression from one to the other. :-)

  9. Argh!

    Glad she’s alright. Am I sensing that there are some other parental units involved in this that you’d rather not mention specifically at this juncture?

    I’m going to bet that if no human was responsible, it was the dog and not the cat. Dogs have something closer to the body mass that would be required to knock a heavy object onto someone’s head, wheras cat’s could really only pull off something of this magnitude using a Rube Goldberg device.

  10. In college we had a MRI research lab in the basement of the computer lab that I worked at. After having our digital watches (which, at the time, I though was a pretty neat idea) blown out by leaked radiation (this was mid 80s), most of us went back to using analog watches with gears. I lost two watches that way. So now, every time I see a CRT in person, or on TV, I check my watch to see if it’s still working. Strange habits.

  11. The worst part of the concussion I had at seven was that I couldn’t read. That was actually the part that made me take it seriously– head hurts, yeah, I just went down a red tunnel slide on a sled, it’s supposed to hurt, but not being able to read? Green and purple scattery letters? That’s big trouble.

  12. I’m sorry to hear she got hurt–head injuries are mighty scary. I’m glad to hear she’s doing fine.

    I hope you’re spoiling her rotten. :)

  13. And here everyone was worrying about Dad head-bangin’ at the GNR concert. Who would have thought that quiet Bradford would be more conducive to actually bangin’ one’s head?

    Hope she’s feeling well enough to enjoy the day off. Too bad it couldn’t have been from Pink Eye rather than noggin’ knockin’. In the world of missing school excuses, Pink Eye Rocks!

  14. I can think of few things worse than a trip to emerg to investigate something like this. Best wishes to all involved.

  15. Let’s hear that big sigh of parental relief.So glad she’s okay.

    With four kids nearing adulthood(physically anyway) I have had several nights up late at the ER. Those trips(if we are lucky) just serve to remind us how fragile life is and how quickly our lives can change(if we are not).

    Cute picture for the high school yearbook.

  16. head injuries ain’t fun at all.

    Funny, I’ve learned to savour the subtle differences between having a tree fall on me vs, oh, running a tricycle into one because nobody knew I didn’t know what brakes were.

  17. “I’m going to bet that if no human was responsible, it was the dog and not the cat. Dogs have something closer to the body mass that would be required to knock a heavy object onto someone’s head, wheras cat’s could really only pull off something of this magnitude using a Rube Goldberg device.”

    Actually, even a relatively simple device like retracting attic stairs will do the job quite nicely.

  18. Yikes and whew.

    My sister had a neck brace slapped on by the EMTs after her car accident as a precautionary measure, and then the CT scan found two fractured vertebrae in her neck. The nerves were fine, but she got a souvenier halo brace, which was then followed by the souvenier rigid neck brace and the souvenier soft neck brace. She did in fact incorporate the halo brace into her Halloween costume. (She went as a cyborg.)

    Glad Athena’s was more temporary.

  19. Yup, I concur and prescribe massive doses of cartoons and ice cream. I’m not a doctor, but I have been called by the day care center and told my kid’s en route to the ER for stitches in her forehead. Wheee!
    Lars: Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. Not only have I witnessed cats knock over cookie jars and vases heavy enough to concuss, I was the victim of a murder attempt by a four-month-old kitten. I didn’t know she had taken to lounging on the third stair down of our main staircase until one New Year’s night when I stepped on her in the dark and took a luge run sans sled (but with extra chunky bad words). She’s in the other room now, four years later, napping the nap of the innocent. And I bide my time.

  20. Wow! Glad to hear she’s doing better, as she still looks rather on the miserable side in the picture. Having gotten a sever concussion in my youth (rule 1 – don’t stand to close to the person swinging the baseball bat) I can empathize first hand on what a drag concussions and hospitals tend to be. Tell the young lady, that rumors to the contrary not withstanding, the head is indeed a vital organ and should be treated with some care. (As to the guilty party – it’s probably to late to lynch Newton and that darned gravity of his…)

    Again, glad to hear she’s ok, which is the important part. Feeding her 40 lbs. of ice cream is optional.

  21. Awwwww….sorry to hear that Athena’s bean got dinged. That’s no fun, for any of you, I’m sure. Glad to hear there seems to be no permanent damage and that she’s doing better. :)

    (Her neck brace reminds me of the new milk commercials for Brittleactica. She’d be stylin’ there.)

  22. Dude! How many times do we have to tell ya… no slam dancing with the little one! ;-)

    I had major head trauma at age 8 and I’m ok. Mostly. Another one who learned not to go to close to the kid swinging the baseball bat.

  23. Haha. Your kid’s a character. She sounds just like I did when I was little, full of spunk and personality.

    Just hope beyond all hope she isn’t still like me when she turns 16. I’m quite a handfull, thankyaverymuch.

    Oh, and I’m glad she’s ok, although it does appear her fashion sense might have been impared. (Only kidding, of course. If I had a neck brace, you bet I’d be proud.)

  24. Glad to hear Athena’s well. And I concur; she doesn’t look her happiest in the photo.

    I’m surprised anyone my age made it to adulthood. No bike helmets or pads of any sort. Swing sets on concrete pads. See-Saws creatively used as human catapults.

    And when I was deemed too small to join the baseball game, I was sent to sit on the sidelines…then subjected to a line-drive foul ball. Out cold.

    Betttter now, I.

  25. James, Jeff,

    It’s funny that you both mention stairs. Jeff, have you considered that you were, perhaps, only a part of the Rube Goldberg device? A means to and end, so to speak? Was your fall broken, mayhap, by a can of tuna, which you, in turn, broke open? Hmm? Just something to keep you awake at night.

    Since we’re sharing head trauma stories, one time I was hanging upside down from a tree by my feet and lost my footing. And that my friends, is the story of why I’m too short for the Ghoster Coaster at Wonderland.

  26. Do you still need a prescription to buy the neck brace? That always seemed strange to me.

    As long as we are swapping war stories I once, as a kid, had a mild concussion that caused amnesia. That was strange. I don’t recall the amnesia of course, but the feeling coming out of it was similar to the feeling of waking up.

  27. [Deleted because I found it annoying. Alienlove, feel free to be an asshole somewhere else — JS]

  28. Whoops. John, I made a remark to Alienlove, but I guess you saw it already, so now my remark (in the queue) probably doesn’t make sense. Feel free to disregard it.

  29. Wow! Not get off track or anything, but how do you make a nasty comment about a kid in a friggin neck brace?

    Having made more than one head trauma related run to the emergency room with a youngster, you have my sympathy John. I once had to do it with a dented 2 year old in a howling blizzard at forty below (4 wheel drive and squinting into snow flakes as big as your hand 60 miles to Anchorage, no fun you bet. I can still hear my wife yelling in the passenger seat to this day. If you don’t know what a “Ping Pong Ball” skull fracture is, you don’t want to).

    Glad to hear Athena is okay, and glad to see she can laugh about it. Kids are fragile, but strangely enough they are often more resilient than we are.

  30. Damn. I was all withdraw-y and irked that you hadn’t updated after the concert and now I feel all guilty and crap. Stupid head trauma.

    Seriously, though, my heart about stopped when I scrolled past that pic just now. Holy crap, do you know how to pull traffic to a halt or what? Glad she’s okay. This place is so much like family to me, I don’t know what I’d do if she’d been seriously injured. Let’s not find out, shall we?

    On a tangent – Jeff H:

    I see your stairway to heavin’ and raise you one heavy-ass resin-cast unicorn statuette knocked off the waterbed headboard by a bored cat at something like 3-OMG-am, landing almost dead center of my forehead while I was sound asleep. Son of a dog, that hurt. Never did find the horn, either.

  31. She’s got attitude! Which means that she’s just fine.

    Oh, noes! That means school for sure tomorrow!

    Very glad to hear she’s doing well.

  32. Soni:

    “This place is so much like family to me, I don’t know what I’d do if she’d been seriously injured.”

    The changes are near certain that if she were seriously injured, I wouldn’t be writing about it here — or at the very least, not until such time as she was well recovered. Certain personal things in the life of the Scalzi household are best kept personal. I’m sure you understand that.

  33. Glad to hear our surrogate niece Athena is recovering from her head trauma and concussion. As someone who’s never actually suffered a concussion but has battered his head in many other ways- none on purpose, mind you and in fact my head is the only place on my person I’ve ever needed to have stitched up, she has my sympathies.
    Now, back to school with her so she can regale her classmates about all the harrowing excitement!

  34. Glad to hear that Athena is OK. I’m still not convinced that the cat is innocent. I see her perched high on a bookshelf waiting to drop a volume of OMW on someone, muttering “tape bacon to me will he?” under her breath.

    Either that, or the cat is trying to get into a “I’m in ur home breaking ur kidz” picture.

    Anyway, again, I’m glad Athena is OK and in regards to the neck brace shot, I have two words: christmas cards.

  35. Hearing all these people recount their head trauma stories reminded me that I once had an incident on the other end of the spinal column. As a senior in high school, I was coming down a ladder attached to the wall in the studio theatre and, on a lark, hopped off the last rung. Landed my tailbone right smack on the knob atop an old fashioned, sturdy wooden desk chair. I think I said, “Wow, that hurts,” and then I am told the eyes rolled up in my head and I fell. Missed the steel vise on the worktable by a couple of inches and fell onto a rolled up carpet. Everyone around me was on the wrong side to try to catch me — and anyway they were all skinny dudes who wouldn’t have done much to break my fall. Taken to the nurses office, my dad had to leave the lab and take me to the doctors, was given some Tylenol 3 (or whatever the heavy-duty prescription ones are) and then went home. At that point I was tired but they didn’t want me to go and sleep for a while.

    Dumb, dumb, dumb.

    And we survived ourselves?

    Hope that there are no other lingering after effects on your daughter.

    Dr. Phil

  36. Dr. Phil,

    I’ll top your story. A fellow high schooler of mine climbed a pole to take down the soccer net, then slid down the pole, forgetting about the hookeye that was sticking out the side of the pole.

    Yes, he got hooked. Yes, there.

  37. Wow! Like everyone else, I’m glad to hear that she’s okay. And yeah, head traumas are scary. Scary too just to hear about them. Sheesh. I remember getting the call that my brother was being rushed to the hospital after getting beaned in the cheek by a baseball. Ended up being a hairline facture or some sort, but still. And trips to the hospital are daunting enough in general. But it also sounds like Athena handled it all amazingly well, which is just great! Kudos to her for that. :)
    And yes, cartoons are a must!As for the neck brace, sure Halloween costumes can be fun. Even if you don’t use it on a neck, you can use it to attach a second head to the shoulder. Or maybe even as a prop in some dastardly fashion. Hmm. The mind does wander…

  38. Yes, I definitely understand, and am suitably relieved to know I will never accidentally stumble across any of your family members in dire straits. That was bad enough.

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