My L.A. Car Crash Part 2: A Little Amnesia
Crofton Chiropractor Nicholas Grande further explains his auto accident in L.A.
I was more in pain and scared than mad. I don’t remember that much about what happened after the crash except a few vivid pieces. Like the way the line of oncoming cars followed the curve of the double-yellow, and how the one car crossed the line, me spinning my wheel to face him, then the sound.
After that I had a brief time in which I was knocked unconscious, or in which I was unable to form a memory of events for a period of time.
The inability to form memory is called amnesia. Amnesia, rather than Loss of Consciousness, is strictly speaking, probably what happened to me. Amnesia, rather than loss of consciousness is what people suffer in most car crashes that wind up in a chiropractor’s office.
These are the accidents in Crofton that mainly result in bruising, stretching, straining and spraining of what’s called “connective tissue”, muscles, tendons, ligaments, something called “fascia”, bones, and even organs, expecially the brain, rather than the tearing , crushing, and breaking of these things that is treated by emergency specialists, orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, surgeons of all stripes, and later hopefully, physical therapists and occupational therapists.
Amnesia After Auto Accident
Amnesia is a sign of concussion, and of course it has it’s own American Medical Association ICD-10 diagnosis code, (G45.4), that a doctor likes me writes in the record we keep for every patient. The ICD-10 Guidebook defines the kind of kind of traumatic amnesia usually incurred in a car accident as follows:
“A condition characterized by sudden, temporary, usually short-lived memory loss, not associated with a neurologic disorder. Affected individuals lose memory function for recent events and have a decreased ability to retain new information. It is usually a solitary event.”
This type of amnesia is a sign of concussion which is otherwise known as “traumatic brain injury”. It used to be that unless someone out and out lost consciousness in an accident, unless they were basically found unconscious by someone who could testify that this person had been knocked out when they found them, a person who suffered headaches and slowness of thought, balance problems among other problems, was termed to be suffering from what was then called, “mild traumatic brain injury.”
But in recent years with the research and media focus on the tragedy of brain degeneration in NFL football players, there has been an avalanche of new medical research on concussion that has benefitted treatment of all sports injuries as well as victims of among other things car accidents.
Now researchers have discovered that the downstream effects of what was previously termed “mild traumatic brain injury” aren’t that mild after all. They are a big deal, and can lead to digestive disorders, mood disorders like anxiety, depression, headaches and difficulty in thinking known as “brain fog”, balance and other problem, and accelerated brain degeneration. The list goes on and on.
So for me in my accident, I know I didn’t know what had happened between the time of impact and when I picked my head up off my broken dashboard and saw smoke rising from my bent car hood, and ahead of me a middle-aged man in work clothes leaning against this old faux wood-paneled Jeep Wagoneer, talking on his big early adopter cell phone. And also, I heard sirens soon after this, so there must have been time gap in which there was time for some good Samaritan to alert EMS.
I “lost” time, and even if I had seen and heard all the events that occurred between the impact and raising my head from the dashboard, my brain injury had kept me from being able to remember any of it.
Stay tuned for Crofton Chiropractor Nicholas Grande's next blog!
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