Massive head wound Noelle

Yesterday, while trying to figure out a faster way to finish backstroke, I swam head-first right into the wall.  I actually saw stars while experiencing the unique sensation of hearing my own skull tile at full speed.  The good news is that IS a relatively fast way to complete a race, and I’m a pretty slow backstroker, so “full speed” is not all about high velocity.  The bad news is that it still hurts a whole hell of a lot.  After some recovery, I finished the rest of my swim, feeling a little better as I went.

Then this morning, we were doing 20 50’s (that’s up and down the pool at sprint pace, 20 times for a total of 1,000 yards.)  I was feeling pretty good, keeping up with one of the faster swimmers in the lane.  During the 6th 50, I did my flip turn at the wall and the swimmer coming behind me swam right into my head in the exact same spot.

I’m not even sure what part of her body hit my head, but I can tell you that it was a case of adding injury to injury and it made tears flow instantly.  Lest anyone see, or any one of the dozen lifeguards on the team try to rescue me, I sort of hobbled to the shallow end (when you’re submerged in watter, “hobbling” means holding on to the lane lines and pulling yourself forward.)  I got out and went to the bathroom.  That’s where I learned that I had injured my head in exactly the part of my brain that is used for keeping my shit together.

The moment the bathroom door closed behind me, my tears went from involuntary weeping to full out bursting.  For a good five minutes, I was on the floor of the bathroom in my bathing suit crying about every single thing that has upset me in 2008.  A lot of those things had been repressed in some way for a long time.  It was a cathartic cry.  A cold, wet, cathartic cry.

When I finally felt a bit spent, I put my goggles (which are a great cover for red eyes) and tried to finish the 50’s, but dear reader, my head was did in.  By the time I had done 200 yards, I was toast, and I got out of the pool early to finish up what was left of my cathartic cry in the showers, and then in my car.  I feel a bit better now that the cry is out.  Unfortunately, the head pain remains in its place.

I think that in the future, I may be the first swimmer to employ football gear during practice.  Sure, it may cut back my times a little, but I think it’s worth it.

Because I always like to look at the silver lining, I will say this: I finally have a use for the ridiculous bottle of 500 Tylenols I bought at the warehouse club.

And on an unrelated note, I know I’ve said it before, but you guys rock.  Thanks so much for the blazer suggestions.  I’m now on a mission to find some better black pants and maybe a black skirt, and a reason to wear it with a stylish jean for “business casual.”

*UPDATE: some of you seem worried in the comments, so I should assure you that I told my coach what happened, and he gave me a look-see and declared me most likely concussion-free.  I am very thick-headed, as you may know.


29 responses to this post.

  1. I never would have thought that swimming could be so dangerous to your head! I mean, I could see shoulders or maybe knees, but heads?

  2. Whoa. Pools are dangerous! I had to go on a concussion alert after smacking my jaw on some kid’s head and I blacked out (in a pool). If you throw up… Go to the doctor!!!

  3. Posted by Jennifer M. on January 9, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Sorry about your head! Are you concussed? Keeping asking yourself what year it is and the name of the president – except as we approach Inauguration Day it could be legitimately confusing. . .

    I am on a quest for new jeans myself and have been informed by my more fashion forward sibling that I need to invest in some dark denim as that is “dressier”. Dressy enough to wear with a smokin’ blazer perhaps? You decide.

  4. Posted by lizgwiz on January 9, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Don’t go to sleep! Isn’t that what they tell people who’ve just bashed their heads? 😉

    Hope it stops hurting soon, but yay for a nice, cathartic weep.

  5. can you swim with a helmet?

  6. and one more thing. I am not even a hugger, but I wanted to hug you when reading this. Or at least hand you some tissues.

  7. I can’t believe you went back in to swim some more! I’m glad you’re okay, but maybe take a little break from swimming (or wear a helmet, like you said).

    A good cry is good sometimes, but I never recommend it on the floor of a public bathroom in a bathing suit.

  8. Youch.

    That sounds painful.

    I once hit my elbow on a tile wall. Thankfully all I stored there was Seinfeld trivia.

  9. Ouch … twice in the same spot. I can’t imagine the emotional side of that, as interesting as it is to me, I’m sure it wasn’t so fun for you to relive painful stuff.


  10. I can’t remember if I’ve ever swim/swam/swum headfirst into a wall before, but for some reason I can vividly hear it when you describe it. And then afterward it feels like the shape of your skull has been altered.

    Take it easy out there, please.

  11. They really should make swim caps with padding on top. I’ve done the same thing backstroking into the wall. It hurts, yo, but not as much as getting hit again in the exact same spot.

    Glad you had a good cry, and I hope you feel better.

  12. Oh no! You are a real trooper to get back in the water. I think after knocking the old noggin twice I’d spend the rest of the day in bed.

    I hope tomorrow’s swim isn’t quite so traumatic!

  13. That’s a lot of crying.

    Did you use your sports towel to soak up those tears?

    Man, I am insensitive.

  14. I did not know swimming was a contact sport.

    Continuing to swim after two knocks on the head? Day-um! I would’ve crawled out of the pool and straight into bed. Because I’m a wimp. Not to be an alarmist, but, have you gone to the doctor to rule out a concussion?

    Maybe this is what you needed to get the crying and angst out of your system. Or maybe you just need warning lights on the top of your head that alert you when you are about to have a collision.

  15. I don’t know, maybe you could find some kind of pointy shaped helmet that would actually improve your time.

    Glad the good cry was helpful, but oh, I know that kind of crying and it’s not the most fun way to start your day. Hope your noggin feels better soon!

  16. Oh, that sounds AWFUL. And I’m a big “straw that broke the camel’s back” crier, as well. Sometimes something just pushes you over the edge.

  17. Oh man that is awful! Hope your head starts feeling better soon.

    I wound up with a few swimming injuries in my day because we had to share a community pool with other schools. This meant our entire team swam in 2 lanes. I’ve gotten kicked in the face and head before and it sucks!

  18. I cry like that on occasion, but usually in the privacy of my own home, after watching a movie – any movie! – that has even a whiff of sentimentality to it. I am going to watch “Get Smart” tonight. We’ll see if THAT makes me cry!

  19. Wow, that sounds painful! Hope you feel better soon!

    And I REALLY like the black skirt idea. Generally, i’m a pants girl, but I think with that blazer, that a black skirt would rock.

  20. Yikes, although in my experience the cathartic cries are usually worth it. And, best you got it out in a situation where you could sort of hide a bit.

  21. Oh no!! I’m so glad that you’re alright, but YIKES! I would have probably surrendered to the water and made a terrible scene, demanding to be resuscitated.

    Hope you’re loading up on the Tylenol tonight!

  22. I am sensing that the *thank you* that you offered was for fashion advice. I would have had nothing to offer.


    My friend, I am so sorry that you are hurting. If I were there I would give you a motherly kiss to your noggin… and then duck the punch that you would send my way 🙂

    I am glad that you got that cry out – I have done that before too. It was draining I imagine. My crying jags always happen in the shower and though they hurt like blue blazes emotionally, I feel better afterward.

    You’ve been through a lot lately. Do a lot of nothing this weekend, and eat plenty that you shouldn’t. You’ll work it off when you swim again.

  23. You seem to be a bit injury/accident prone.

    Hey, when do your pins come out?

  24. Sometimes a good cry does wonders for the soul. Tylenol can possibly do wonders for your head although hopefully because I’m so behind in my blog reading, your head is fine.

  25. ouch. i hope your head feels better soon.

  26. Oh no! My comment is three days late, so I very much hope your head is pain-free now and your shit is bundled up tightly again. A good cry is necessary every once in a while, but no one wants it to go on for days, of course.

  27. Glad you’re OK! That hurt me just reading about it.

    Also, I use the movie StepMom when I need a good cathartic cry. That movie makes me sob like an infant.

  28. this post made me cringe – I cannot imagine the pain of swimming into a tile wall. I hope your head starts to feel better soon!

  29. […] I was stuck in a really big funk and that’s why I wasn’t blogging. Noelle wrote about having a new year breakdown and crying about everything crappy that happened in 2008, and I had one of my own. While I was […]

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