My Upcoming Appointment

I have put this doctor’s appointment off twice now. The COVID-19 effect has delayed it some. My Mom has recently and strongly urged me not to postpone it again. She has told me a few different times “Dwain, you need to go so that preparations can be made for a more considered lifestyle as you approach your sixties.” You see, Mom is right. Mothers usually are aren’t they? She should know. Mom has medically diagnosed Dementia. One of her sisters had Dementia. She is now deceased. The other has Stage 2 or Middle Alzheimer’s. Mom reminds me frequently, because she forgets 😄, that Alzheimer’s can be hereditary. However, if it were not for my long, active career in football/soccer as a goalkeeper, I likely would not be taking Mom too serious.

But I really do need to go because of the whole soccer thing for 27-years. Throughout that career I suffered from at least four (probably more) concussions from game collisions, one or two traumatic, and some at practices/training. One of the game collisions broke my jaw in three places and knocked me completely unconscious; unconscious long enough for EMT’s to arrive with smelling-sauce to awaken me.

Though I am still a little worried. It is just that what the doctor may inform me after these second battery of tests that I am indeed in the early stages of CTE, or what is medically and neurologically termed as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.

The Mayo Clinic explains CTE this way:

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is the term used to describe brain degeneration likely caused by repeated head traumas. CTE is a diagnosis made only at autopsy by studying sections of the brain.

[…]

CTE has been found in the brains of people who played football and other contact sports, including boxing. It may also occur in military personnel who were exposed to explosive blasts. Some signs and symptoms of CTE are thought to include difficulties with thinking (cognition), physical problems, emotions and other behaviors. It’s thought that these develop years to decades after head trauma occurs.

Have you seen the 2015 film Concussion starring Will Smith? If not, here is its official trailer:

Even though soccer/football concussions occur nowhere near as often as they do in the NFL, it is nonetheless a serious matter. This film hit me hard and hit deep, so deep at the end it made me sit in the living room recliner seemingly paralyzed and with abnormal breathing. Why? Why such a reaction? Two reasons:

  1. Mom and two of her four sisters had/has Dementia/Alzheimer’s. One of them died too soon to conclude with certainty that she had Alzheimer’s—we’ll never know. Plus, two of that aunt’s four children are very religious (Pentecostal, Church of Christ?), another passed away early before my aunt died, and her youngest boy, my cousin I grew up with and was closer to was not confrontational nor religious at all. He was a hilarious peacemaker. I say all of this because there was no way in Hades that the two oldest, very religious cousins of mine were going to allow a medical examination of their mother’s brain. Therefore, it has only been confirmed that two, my Mom and her sister have dementia with the latter definitely suffering from Alzheimer’s.
  2. As I mentioned earlier, I have suffered at least 4 or more concussions, likely more, and one of them knocked me unconscious for quite some time. During my playing days there was no Petr Cech padded helmets in existence (see image below). In addition to these multiple soccer/football concussions, I suffered another off-the-field of play. One early morning while—in high school freshman or sophomore year—delivering my papers for my Dallas Morning News paper route. Mom was driving me through the neighborhoods in our Plymouth four-door sedan while I was outside on top of the trunk with two-bags of those Sunday morning papers. On one particular street turn Mom accelerated a bit too fast. I imagine the sedan had also been washed and waxed one or two days earlier? I’m unsure. I think Mom was approaching 30 mph after turning onto this street and unfortunately for me she was not looking at me through the rear-view mirror. I slowly slid down the trunk feet first, desperately trying to find something on the car to grab, but there was nothing. I hit the street pavement that had small grey-white gravel embedded and the back of my head SLAMMED into the concrete. Our family doctor later that day said I had a bad concussion judging from the swelling on the back of my noggin and he made it very clear that my parents were not to allow me any sleep for the next 24-hours.

The Mayo Clinic lists these symptoms of CTE:

“There are no specific symptoms that have been clearly linked to CTE. Some of the possible signs and symptoms of CTE can occur in many other conditions, but in the few people with proven CTE, symptoms have included:

  • Difficulty thinking (cognitive impairment)
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Depression or apathy
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Difficulty planning and carrying out tasks (executive function)
  • Emotional instability
  • Substance misuse
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior”
Cech helmet_1

Petr Cech of Chelsea FC, Arsenal, and the Czech Republic national team wearing his padded helmet following his major head concussion, trauma, and depressed skull fracture from a collision with Stephen Hunt of Reading FC.

I have six of these first eight symptoms, to varying degrees, for at least the last 15-years or so, one or two of them surfacing within the last 5-6 years. This is why my neurologist wants to see me again, and my Mom and I both agreed two years ago that I do need to go see a neurologist to get ahead of this. Either early in 2019 or late in 2018 I did go. The doctor concluded after testing that I was inconclusive at that date and time, BUT the fact that I had almost all of the currently known symptoms, made him want to see me again in a year.

Damn it! It has now been a year and if anything, I know with a lot of certainty that two of these above eight symptoms have manifested further. There are other external variables at play with these two—one being this unprecedented pandemic, social-distancing, and Stay-at-Home orders—so we must take those variables into consideration. Does that make this upcoming appointment Wednesday, May 20, 2020, any less anxious? Not really, not for me.

I hope this coming Wednesday night, Thursday, and subsequent days after will not be ladened with as Mom put it… “a more considered lifestyle as I approach my sixties.” From what I’ve learned about dementia, Alzheimer’s, and CTE I hope I might be a lucky goalkeeper who by some incredible odds does not develop any of these three neurological disorders for playing a sport and position I truly loved. Fingers crossed.

————

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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41 thoughts on “My Upcoming Appointment

  1. Jeepers. Don’t mess around with brain stuff. Go have yourself checked out! Especially with your family.

    I too have blocked a lot of shots with my cranium. And… now that I think about it… my crotch. I’m surprised anything still works. Plus I was a boxer for… fifteen years… I dount hard sparring every other night did anything for be cognitively

    The things we do to ourselves when we are young, dumb and full of… eh… rum.

    Liked by 3 people

      • Umm… Jo, are you sitting down? Buddy, I think it is already here… or rather there… where you are at the bottom of the world and gravity unfortunately keeps you here with us improved and evolved Homo Neanderthalis. 😁 You might be able to join us… IF you can sing word-for-word perfectly REM’s It’s the End of the World As We Know It… no mistakes!

        Are you Homo Neanderthalis or are you an advance form of Homo sapianus? 🤭

        Liked by 3 people

        • Did you go for your check up? (Did I miss it?) Did he look at your scans and suck air through clenched teeth?

          Lol… I went to a REM concert once… and some guy was holding up a sign he’d made begging Micheal Stipe to sing ‘end of the world’. Eventually he gets irritated with the guy waving his sign around and says to him. ‘Look, you can put your sign down okay, we’re not playing it, I don’t know the words anymore’.

          Homo Naledi was discovered near my house… thats a bad sign if ever there was one.

          I didn’t kill her.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yes, I made my appointment yesterday. All tests, scans, etc, completed. Results arrive Monday. Homo Naledi was carrying a sign with her!? What did it say? Could they translate it? Can you spell Jo? 😁 Maybe Naledi was an INXS fan before there were fans! “Hallucinate? Desegregate? Mediate? Alleviate? No hate? Love your Mate?” …

            What could Naledi have been warning you about!!!??? 😯

            Like

    • Your crotch too? Were they aiming for it or was it just SO BIG that no one could possibly miss it? Does anything with the male Homo Neanderthalis-Sapien really function superbly? 😛 Boxer? Is there any “cognition” in a boxers’ cranium?

      Rum. Yep. And of course WE knew it was “rum,” but the ladies actually wanted and tried to RUN, right? 🙄 Geezzz, the delusions we boys/men would convince ourselves of being. Talk about fiction misplaced in non-fiction, huh?

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Shhh. Don’t talk about soccer. The important point is that one must always find a way to blame one’s mother for any adverse health issue – mental, physical, or emotional. It’s very handy and allows mothers to feel guilty forever. It’s a natural state of motherhood we must do our best to maintain. So keep to the driving accident. Besides, she probably did it on purpose.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha! I don’t really blame Mom for hereditary health issues. Before genetics and the Genome Project and then finding markers for particular hereditary problems, there was no way our ancestors could’ve known. But I know you know this Tildeb. 😉

      So keep to the driving accident. Besides, she probably did it on purpose.

      🤣🤣🤣 OMG you made me break a rib from laughing so hard! You’re probably right. She was thinking back then “Mmm, now is my chance to get rid of this kid, save tons of money, and have a lot more free-time for myself, away from the insanity of mothering, and save on the grocery bill and college tuition!” That 6-month vacation to Hawaii or Tahiti is looking better and better with every MPH I speed up and lose boy! 😈

      You cracked me up Tildeb. That would be something my Mom would joke about!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am becoming ambivalent about what doctors can do for us … when we are healthy. When I went on Medicare I went through quite a number of diagnostics and it was recommended that those be repeated and repeated. I have declined those. Getting “tests” because one is ill or has a problem is one thing, fishing for things medical is another. In your case and with your family history … get the damned tests. (I have grown rather fond of your posts.)

    Now, you refer to “smelling sause” and I am curious as to what that might be. In the US we generally use smelling salts (which are salts containing the ammonium ion which decompose and produce ammonia gas which, I can attest, really clears the breathing pathways (being a relatively safe irritant that triggers the bodies natural response).

    And I have had a long standing bias against football/futbal/soccer because a sport in which one uses one’s head as a blunt instrument is probably not safe.

    And, to set the record straight, the name “soccer” is not an American invention (we are guilty of far worse, but not this). The term “soccer” was invented in England.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well damn it. Steve, just like Tildeb, Nan, JZ, and a number of other ever-watching vultures on my blog-writing imperfections, misuses, and incomparable charm, you have busted me! It is NOT “sauce” as I once thought for 30+ years, because I thought that was what I heard it called, but it is indeed Salts. Which totally baffles me! It doesn’t smell ANYTHING like a salt!!! But what tha hell do I know with my CTE disorders and warped cognition, huh?

      You have an excellent point about us using our heads as a blunt object. Not just for the ball, but often against the opponent’s players going after the same ball! Redefines “Let’s put our heads together on this,” huh? 😄

      I trust you regarding the origin of “soccer.” Often I don’t even like calling it by that name—it’s just an American arrogant way of hijacking and making something international… into the false illusion that it is an American peacock feather in our hat. Pfffffttt! B.S. right? Hogwash!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. NOW I know why you write the way you do!!!! 😁

    Seriously, I too am one of those that avoids docs except for the once-a-year checkup (which has long passed due to CV-19) and refuse to “take the tests” they recommend for less-than-urgent reasons. However, in this case, I would not cancel your appointment. Grit your teeth and “pray” 😈 that all is not as bad as you anticipate. And if it is, knowledge is far better than guesswork because the latter tends to magnify and frighten. Plus there may be medication or some such that will give you that “more considered lifestyle.” Keep us posted. ❤❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hahaha… Nan, you could be right. It wouldn’t surprise me if this possible, progressing(?) condition—if it is ever confirmed—contributed somehow to my random brain-farts. 🙄 There are days, weeks, months(?) that are just fine (at least I think so), but there does seem to be days where I get frustrated at myself. Once or twice over the last 12-18 months or so I’ve even had my equilibrium go all wishy-washy for like 30-mins to an hour. Ugh. 😬 My doctor knows of this.

      Anyway, thank you for your encouragement. Yeah, I better not postpone this one.

      Liked by 1 person

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