Justin loves to run with me, however in the past few months he has grown to love playing basketball with the Chinese teachers. He really enjoys playing sports and he is quite good at basketball, so it was nice for him to have something other than running to do for exercise. While he played, I would run around the school track and spend some time playing with my students that slept at the school during the week.
Last Monday Justin came home dripping with sweat and totally out of breath. He mumbled that he had been playing soccer when he fell and hit his head. He was covered in grazes and tiny bits of gravel. This was strange to me because he was supposed to be playing basketball. It turned out that he had moved from the basketball court to the soccer field, and while there he slipped on the ball and head his head. Judging from the grazes on his knee, opposite elbow, and his back, it seemed like he had tumbled and few times. Within minutes 10 minutes of arriving him, his condition started to deteriorate. He started to forget what he was saying, and he couldn’t even remember that he had fallen. At first I thought that he was joking around because he was being silly and playful, however my feelings changed when I realized that he had no clue that he was repeating himself!!
I called a few people, like my father and Justin’s mother, and they all said the same thing – Don’t let him go sleep. In fact, Justin kept telling me this too! What he didn’t know was telling me this over and over and over again…
At about 8pm I called our friends, Zach and Heather, and asked them if they would go with us to the hospital. I knew that Justin didn’t want to go, but he also didn’t know the seriousness of his own condition, and I was beginning to feel worried that he was getting worse, and not better. At the hospital Justin seemed to be better. He joked around and I wondered if being out of the house had caused him to suddenly improve. We had a CT scan done, and it came out normal, so I was relieved that he had not suffered any serious brain injury. The hospital was supposed to be the best in the area, however it reeked of urine, and it didn’t look very professional. Fortunately though, the scan only costs us 310 yuan ($ 48, or R410). The doctor said that if he didn’t throw up within 10 hours, that he was okay and didn’t need to have another scan done. Oh dear – This was going to be a long night for us.
We returned to the school, and within minutes of going into our room he had no idea that we had left. I kept showing him the CT scan, and he was shocked. Every 5-10 minutes I would have to start all over again, explaining that he had hit his head, and that we had gone to the hospital. He knew that we were living in China, but he didn’t know that it was June and that we were leaving China the following week. When I asked if he knew that we were engaged, he became very sad and this made him panic. I was alarmed that he couldn’t remember something that happened in February. I showed him my engagement ring and he began to cry again. He felt so sad and very confused.
The later it got, the more confused he became. He started to panic. I tried to keep him awake for a few hours, but he began to feel exhausted so I decided that since he doctor said it was okay for him to sleep, I should try to get him to sleep while I stayed awake to make sure that he didn’t vomit. He couldn’t sleep on his side because he became nauseous so I had to sit next to him to make sure that he didn’t choke if he threw up. Every time he dozed off he would wake up abruptly and start asking why his head was so sore, and what had happened to him.
After he fell asleep, I woke him every 2 hours and asked him simple questions like his name, and where he was. He didn’t know more difficult things like the date, or what had happened. I was so worried. I really didn’t know what to do. By about 4am he had stopped waking up and it had been 10 hours since his accident, so I decided to go sleep and set alarms for every 2 hours so that I could check on him.
In the morning I was worried when he still could not remember anything, however as the day progressed he started to retain more and more of the information that I was telling him. By the following day he had improved a lot. It has been a week since his fall and he has been getting better everyday. We were worried about the 40+ hours of traveling from Dongying to Dallas, however he made it here okay, and he is feeling good.
I have never been around anyone with memory loss, and it was quite a scary experience. I am very happy that it did not last any longer. It’s a strange thing to have gone through, for both of us.
Here are some pictures of him playing basketball with the Chinese teachers:
Thankfully Justin came out of this will no long-term damage.
He still wants to get out there and play basketball and soccer,
So he is no way scarred by this incident.
What a relief!