In which we learn the importance of asking the right questions

I often tell students that 90% of genius is asking the right questions (the next 9% is finding out what the questions mean!).  Only one of the 10 (approx.) medics I’d seen before the nice doctor (see last post but one) had asked, ‘Have you had a previous head injury?’  My mind had gone to a teenage girl with a very bruised face, and I’d said, ‘Well, I had a bang in a car accident long ago, but it wasn’t really a head injury.’ And I’d then refused to talk about it any more. The medic was young, and didn’t follow the question up.

David told the nice doctor that.  Visiting hours were short, so David wasn’t there very much to see me, but he had been observing me even if the nurses hadn’t.  He had once worked on a ward for traumatized war veterans, and he was beginning to work out what was going on. He got me home as soon as he could (the taxi drive was a nightmare for me!).  I stayed in bed, but what a relief it was to be somewhere quiet!

It was at that stage that I contacted Liz, who had helped me with previous depression.  She rapidly understood that I was in no state to come and see her, so she came to our home, took one look at me edging my way into the room and propping myself up against the wall and said, ‘This is not stress (as the hospital consultant had said) – it’s trauma!’ And, as I said in my first blog, a minute of EMDR had me remembering the head injury I had in the car accident when my parents were killed.  It was amazingly similar to the recent head injury – even to the point that my spectacles were bent and scratched in exactly the same way.

What might I have been spared if, at an earlier stage, an experienced doctor had asked that question, ‘Have you had a previous head injury?’ But I never merited an experienced doctor taking time with me:  it was a very ‘mild’ head injury.

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