Monday, May 30, 2011

Cerebral Contusions & Coma

Post-birthday blues I asked my parents for stories of my childhood, as a kind of "present" for my birthday. In reply, my father sends a couple of emails with the usual pictures and stories: "When you were born you were already around 4.5kg. You were smiling, curious and active. When I brought you to the zoo, you said the snakes were beautiful and lovely." And in one of those emails, a rather shocking discovery that I didn't just have a broken collar bone when I was hit by a drunk driver at age 3, but was actually in a coma. 2 weeks later he emailed a document stating that I was "Unconscious on Admission in the Emergency Room" and suffered from "Extensive contusions in both cerebral hemispheres" as well as cerebellar, "to a lesser extent".

Nov. 27th, 1981. Makati Metro Manila, Philippines. 3 year old female.

Contusion with hematoma clavicular area, mid portion left side.
Complete fracture of the left clavicle with overriding of the fragments.
CT Scan of the head: extensive contusion in both cerebral hemispheres and to a lesser degree, both cerebellar hemispheres.
Multiple soft tissue injuries, clavicular fracture, cerebral contusion secondary to a vehicular accident.
Dressing of wounds, Tetanus globulin, Acetaminophen, Ceclor, Garamycin.
Probable duration of medical attendance: More than 30 days.

This was... an eye opener to say the least, mostly leaving me to question how that affected my behavior and development as a child and if that still affects me today. Would that explain why teachers thought I was dyslexic/autistic? I know the likelihood is that I've recovered from the brain trauma as a child, but I can't help but wonder if there are keys to my behavior somewhere in there. Such as, when I awoke from the coma, why did I ask for "peng-eh" when that wasn't Korean for pillow? And, is that why I confused the Tagalog alphabet with the English alphabet?

As Phi liked to point out from Kung Fu Panda 2: "You've got to let go of that stuff from the past because it just doesn't matter . The only thing that matters is what you choose to be now." But somehow, especially considering how new this piece of news is for me, I feel like there's something I can learn, a sort of key to all my memories and the past, or memory failures. Something to help me remember, understand - or maybe not. In between letting things go, and trying to understand and analyse them.

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