I have had limited support with my psychical symptoms following my brain injury. So I have started to try to just accept my reality, and push ahead. Previously I wrote in Is my brain injury making me paranoid? about how I wondered if I was looking for problems too much. Getting the balance between identifying issues to deal with, and obsessing about it is harder than you think. I chose the wrong problem to overlook this time.
Being knackered has become my base level.
Fatigue is part and parcel of most brain injuries, so my constant tiredness is something I have come to expect. And as I was in a car accident I expect things to ache forever now. The nerve in my left leg was damaged so I have limited feeling, but it continues to improve. When I was 21 I fell off a ladder and landed with my left leg twisted under me. Initially I thought I was OK, but then the years of pain followed. But the nerve damage meant that old injury stopped being reported to my brain. It was great. So when I started to notice it again along with lower back pain I thought I would just have to overlook it. I assumed that as the nerve healed, I had to accept my old injury would raise its ugly head.
Has my lack of strength affected my pain threshold?
The pain was worse than I remembered it. Just walking up the stairs suddenly became exhausting and severely painful. But life goes on, so I thought I had to grin and bear it. Perhaps it was my fault for not exercising enough. Anyway, as I was tired of feeling like there was nothing Doctors could do for me, I did nothing about it.
That is until my partner James insisted I make an appointment. He argued that as I’m always a bit anaemic maybe I should have a blood test. So I did and my doctor decided to test a few different things at the same time. She told me to call in about a week to check the results were OK. Then I received a note in the post before the week was up to make an appointment regarding my results. I knew then that they had found something. But I had already decided I would just be told to take more iron tablets.
This time it wasn’t just iron I was deficient in.
I was surprised when she told me I was SEVERELY LOW in vitamin D. As the UK is so far north, it’s common for Brits to become a bit low on vitamin D during the winter. As our skin creates it from the energy of mid day sun on our skin, its not strong enough that time of year. Plus we are indoors much more, and when we do venture out we tend to be bundled up in numerous layers. But it’s unusual to be severely low. As vitamin D it known for helping bones grow and repair, perhaps I had used more than usual for my injuries. A common symptom of the condition is pain in the hips, pelvis and lower back –the pain I had written off as my old injury. Plus tiredness as vitamin D is used to aid the absorption of other nutrients, including iron.
If I had continued the ignore these symptoms it could have resulted in osteoporosis, a condition which causes fragile bones. I’m now taking a high dose of vitamin D and trying to get out more. It will probably take about 2 months to restore my levels and I’m hoping the tiredness and pain will ease. There shouldn’t be any long term damage, but that’s only because James pushed me and my doctor was vigilant. The moral to this story is don’t assume you know everything and heard it all before.