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View Full Version : Banged heads, concussions and vomiting :eek:



Tornadoboy
07-18-2008, 09:54 AM
Quick question:

I want my female protag a little down and out for a while, maybe like 5 hours or so of looking like she's in tough shape. She gets her head banged in a car crash during a blizzard and ends up disoriented for 5 or 10 minutes afterwards, then gets a hell of a headache and just wants to lay motionless, like she was suffering from a hangover.

Now to suffer from these symtoms would a concussion be likely? And if so, would it be believable that she would manage to get through it without vomiting?

I would also like her to hit her head hard enough to cause a minor laceration with a little bleeding, but in the big scheme of things that's not all that important.

I want her to appear to be in tougher shape than she actually is because, being stranded with my male protag, I want him to have to worry that she may be suffering from things like internal bleeding. But still they are also stuck sharing the same couch, and it simply wouldn't do to have her vomit.

I'm no master writer, but I've got to imagine that's a mood killer when you're trying to build a romance story.

FinbarReilly
07-18-2008, 12:22 PM
It's very reasonable; she's only suffered a concussion after all. However, she is going to need to stay still, stay awake, and stay warm; hypothermia is an obvious issue if the crash did any damage to the heater.

I'm not really seeing how this is a mood killer for romance;)...

FR

sheadakota
07-18-2008, 01:41 PM
a Mild concussion could result in no loss of consciousness, a headache and no she doesn't have to vomit- but the disorientation- if it is so mild she doesn't pass out, i am having trouble with the disorientation, headache - most definitely- and no fear about keeping her awake, you can let her sleep- she could have a bump with a small laceration, a headache- but perhaps downplay the disprientation a bit and the likely hood for internal injuries would be possible but highly unlikley. Now if she is unrestrained- and the car was traveling at a high rate of speed- yes- but then she is going to have more than a small bump on the head.

Mr Flibble
07-18-2008, 04:41 PM
OK, I had a rather nice concussion after a bout of bungee pulling went wrong ( don't ask). I didn't pass out, or vomit, but I couldn't focus on anything properly and had a headache ( sort of like my head felt overstuffed with cotton). Apparantly I absolutley refused to go to the hospital and spent a few hours wandering around like I was drunk, and white as a sheet ( I've seen the video of the event, and I look like a zombie). I don't really remember tbh. When I was finally dragged of to the hospital, I was kept in overnight and I was disoriented for about ten days, with a blinding headache for the first three.

Definate mood killer.

Horseshoes
07-18-2008, 05:06 PM
Perfectly reasonable medical scenario. A bit disoriented, no hurling, looks worse than turned out, recovered on own w/ a bit of time. 'xactly my last concussion.

Please don't let your guy boff the gal whilst she's loopy.

thethinker42
07-18-2008, 08:06 PM
I've had several concussions (explains a lot, I know...), and only puked after one. With one of them, I was thrown from a horse and went headlong into a wall...had difficulty with short term memory, speech, balance, had a wicked headache, etc., for a few days, but never threw up.

As Horseshoes said, don't let the guy do the gal while she's still messed up...for one, that's just not nice, and for another...I speak from experience...that particular activity is NOT PLEASANT with a recent concussion. Just...trust me on this one.

thethinker42
07-18-2008, 08:13 PM
but the disorientation- if it is so mild she doesn't pass out, i am having trouble with the disorientation, headache.

It's possible. After some of my mild concussions, I was "out of it". Not completely disoriented, but it was hard to stay in the present. I'd space out in the middle of doing something as simple as tying my shoes. At school the next day, I would forget what I was doing, couldn't understand basic instructions, couldn't comprehend simple sentences on paper, etc. That went away within a week or so. So I don't know that the character would necessarily be so disoriented that she didn't know who/where she was, but a knock on the head can do some weird things.

My last concussion (God I sound like a trainwreck...) was worse, and though I was never so disoriented that I didn't know where I was (except when I was first regaining consciousness...took a minute or two to figure out where I was...but I'd had something similar to a siezure anyway, so it wasn't just the concussion), I was a bona fide space cadet for about 3 weeks after. I couldn't spell, was incredibly dyslexic, stuttered, would forget what I was doing all the time, etc. I can't say it was the most pleasant time of my life. That was a pretty bad one, though...it was almost 9 years ago, and I still stutter and have problems with short term memory.

ANYWAY...'nough rambling. Bottom line -- I don't think a mild concussion would result in total disorientation for more than a few minutes, but it can definitely keep a few synapses from firing when they're supposed to. LOL

Tornadoboy
07-19-2008, 01:32 AM
Don't worry, he doesn't 'boff' her :e2brows: during all this, at least not until much later. In fact they don't particularly like each other at this point as they are only co-workers who's personalities clash more often than not, which gives some irony that they wind up having to share body heat (still clothed) to keep from freezing, which also would make her throwing up such an ugly issue.

They go for a nice trip down the side of a hill and their car makes like a pinball as it slides into trees of various sizes on the way, they get thrown around in their seats a bit but are both wearing seatbelts. They suffer some unpleasent bumps and bruises and she bashes her head off her side window when the car finds a particularly solid tree, which knocks her out cold for about a minute.

When she comes around she claws at the wheel in a panic, still thinking the accident is happening, then calms down and appears sleepy and almost drunk. She's unsteady on her feet, seems confused and keeps forgetting where they are. He eventually leads them to an unoccupied cabin and that's where they wind up stuck for a while.

From accident to her laying on the couch takes maybe 45 minutes, but for the plot she doesn't need to be completely spacey for that whole period of time, just useless in helping with the situation and giving him lots of reasons to wonder about the true extent of her injuries.

I figure I'll have her stay put on the couch for that evening as neither of them are in much shape to go exploring in the dark, and the next day (about 10 hours later) she's significantly better though her head still hurts a bit.

DonnaDuck
07-19-2008, 07:52 AM
I can only speak from experience. I was headbutt in the nose (don't ask) but it was hard enough that I got a mild concussion from it. My nose crunched like a piece of styrofoam (although the break was clean, I walked away with nothing more than a slight deviated septum) and proceeded to bleed . . . and bleed and bleed and bleed. It bleed heavy for about 24 hours and took roughly 3 days to stop completely.

I had a headache like someone was taking a sledgehammer to the inside of my skull almost immediately but I was never disoriented. At the time, I thought I just hit my head too hard. Had no idea I was concussed and went to sleep that night. Lucky me I woke up in the morning and went to work. Under florescent lighting. NEVER good for concussions. I was only there for about 45 minutes before I couldn't squint enough to keep the pain away and was sobbing as I rang customers up (very awkward for them, I'm sure). Then I ended up on the floor screaming for help because the pain was unbearable. Again, if you have a concussion, avoid florescent lighting at all costs. Went to the hospital and was officially diagnosed with a mild concussion and given Vicodin. I then proceeded to sleep for 3 days thanks to the wonder drugs. Every moment I was conscious it was pain so I slept.

When I was well enough to go back to work, my short term memory was screwed. I would forget what I was doing in the middle of doing it, forget I'd done something right after I did it and just couldn't remember anything. On top of that I had what the doctors called Post Concussion Syndrom. AKA all of the symptoms but none of the cause. The concussion was gone, but I was still suffering its ails. That lasted for about a week. The memory things lasted at that level for about 3 months and then began to taper off. It's been about 7 years and my short term still doesn't work properly.

Never threw up though. Never lost consciousness and never felt disoriented. The only time I was "out of it" was when I was on the Vicodin and thankfully so.

Tornadoboy
08-03-2008, 06:31 AM
I just watched an old movie called "8 Million Ways to Die" which had a scene that reminded me of this thread.

The female protag is a hooker and at one point she gets extremely drunk, then starts hitting on the reluctant male protag. She boasts about about how much he's going to enjoy it as she fumbles with his clothes, and then promptly barfs all over his lap.

Sick? Absolutely, but it cracked me up anyway! I guess you have to see how it played out to understand the humor.

And no, this has not changed my mind about my FP losing her lunch.

StoryG27
08-03-2008, 06:56 AM
LOL! That is funny.

The last concussion I had (yes, I've had a few) was after falling off a horse (I wish I could say I was bucked off, but I was jacking around and fell off), it was a mild concussion. I didn't vomit. I was sort of in and out of it though. I don't normally cuss and I was at a friend's house and the friend's dad reached for a Kleenex that was on the end table near the couch I was laying on and before he could get it, I grabbed the box and said, "No g*ddamnit! These are mine!" I do remember scowling at him and refusing to relinquish one tiny tissue (but I don't really remember what the irrational thought behind it was). After that, he called my mom, who came to get me and was freaked out because they had let me fall asleep. After being woke up though, I think I acted fairly normal, thought still in pain, and it was about 2 hours after actually hitting my head. I couldn't start moving around much until the next day though. Concussions hurt, even mild ones (BTW, I had sensitivity to light and sound, just like being hungover).

chevbrock
08-03-2008, 06:59 AM
Some doctors now say that sleep can be a good thing for a concussion.

StoryG27
08-03-2008, 07:01 AM
Yeah, sleep didn't seem to affect me negatively. I actually had my bearings a bit better when I woke up from the nap, and when your head hurts that bad the only thing you want to do is sleep.

Tornadoboy
08-03-2008, 09:31 AM
Some doctors now say that sleep can be a good thing for a concussion.

My MP thinks he remembers being told that you need to keep a person with a concussion awake because you need to watch for symptoms of more serious brain injury. But he decides to let her sleep anyway because his logic is that if she is seriously injured there will be nothing he will be able to do for her anyway, and if she's going to die from a brain hemorrhage it will be easier on her to have it happen in her sleep.

I want it to be an unpleasent night for him with a lot of nasty possibilities to consider.


(BTW, I had sensitivity to light and sound, just like being hungover).

That's what I figure it'll be like for her, like she's having a really bad hangover and only wants to lay as still and experience as little stimulation as possible.

smoothseas
08-03-2008, 01:27 PM
Quick question:

I want my female protag a little down and out for a while, maybe like 5 hours or so of looking like she's in tough shape. She gets her head banged in a car crash during a blizzard and ends up disoriented for 5 or 10 minutes afterwards, then gets a hell of a headache and just wants to lay motionless, like she was suffering from a hangover.

Now to suffer from these symtoms would a concussion be likely? And if so, would it be believable that she would manage to get through it without vomiting?

I would also like her to hit her head hard enough to cause a minor laceration with a little bleeding, but in the big scheme of things that's not all that important.

I want her to appear to be in tougher shape than she actually is because, being stranded with my male protag, I want him to have to worry that she may be suffering from things like internal bleeding. But still they are also stuck sharing the same couch, and it simply wouldn't do to have her vomit.

I'm no master writer, but I've got to imagine that's a mood killer when you're trying to build a romance story.


While I'm not a clinician, I have noticed that head (and facial) wounds bleed dispropoionately to their severity - capillaries being closer to the skin, and all...

Tornadoboy
08-03-2008, 06:24 PM
While I'm not a clinician, I have noticed that head (and facial) wounds bleed dispropoionately to their severity - capillaries being closer to the skin, and all...

I know what you mean, speaking from my own experience I once got what was a mere scratch on my scalp, and the damn thing bled like I had been hit with a battle axe.

ColoradoGuy
08-03-2008, 08:11 PM
About 75% of people with concussions vomit afterwards. The scenario you describe counts as a Grade I in most systems. Since the effects are so variable from person to person you've got wide lattitude -- do whatever your plot needs. Here's a good link. (http://www.neurosurgerytoday.org/what/patient_e/concussion.asp)