Imagine waking up one morning to find you can't remember the most simple of tasks -- things like brushing your teeth, combing your hair or even feeding the dog are suddenly major obstacles.
For a year, this has been my life. I have been in recovery from a significant concussion. I am not in the NFL nor do I play contact sports. I am 28, and on February 19, 2012, I happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
A Kentucky state trooper later said it was the fastest snowstorm she had ever seen hit the area as whiteout conditions from a freak blizzard rendered roads treacherous within minutes.
I was traveling on a highway in the Blue Ridge Mountains when my car hit a patch of black ice, skidded across three lanes of traffic and crashed into a median. I walked away from the accident thankful -- thinking I was fine. But a week later, the real injuries crept in.
I was nauseous. I couldn't sleep. My mind felt foggy; every sound hurt, and every ray of light pierced my eyesight.
A friend encouraged me to go to the doctor because she suspected I had a concussion. I mistakenly thought concussions only happened to people who lose consciousness.
When I was finally diagnosed, I resisted my doctor's order to rest my brain. I felt it would get better if I could push through the pain.
I was wrong. I couldn't even follow conversations -- I would just blurt out comments that I never meant to speak aloud. I was living with a brain on delay.
At first my only reprieve was music. I had always enjoyed music, but now it was a concrete, tangible object. For hours, I would just lie in bed and listen. I couldn't stand rock music anymore; it felt like nails on a chalkboard. But the jazz melodies of Billie Holiday and the lush symphonies of Beethoven were like a visceral experience for me. It felt like I was really hearing music for the first time.
And yet I will never forget that feeling of utter devastation as I gazed into my computer screen. I was a journalist, a graduate student, and a writer, but I could not read a basic declarative sentence. The words just didn't make sense to me. My brain wanted to read in the direction up to down instead of left to right.