“I fell flat on my head. I touched rock bottom”

Avanika Mote recalls how a wonderful morning turned rainy and one little misstep led to a brain injury that changed the way she saw life forever

A CT scan image of sudural hematoma image courtesy: wikipedia.org
A CT scan image of sudural hematoma
image courtesy: wikipedia.org

It was a weekend and we were jamming till the wee hours for a concert. The twilight at dawn was ethereal. It was so beautiful I ran up to the terrace with my camera to shoot the sky. The moment, however, seemed to be fickle – soon dark grey clouds seemed to come out of nowhere. Before I could shoot the next picture, it started to rain. I clicked a quick one and started walking down the staircase. The rain was terrible. The entire staircase was wet. With the intention to save my camera from getting wet, I walked fast and fell off an entire flight of stairs. Flat on my head. I touched rock bottom. I have no memory of what happened next.

The next thing I remember: lying in my bed, trying to breathe. My head didn’t feel like it existed. The pillow was stained with blood. I regained consciousness and realised I had hurt my head real bad. The inflammation was such that I felt like I had three heads. Weird and awfully painful.

I was lucky to have my friend around. He applied Soframycin on my head injury, which was still bleeding. Since it was a Sunday, most clinics had shorter days and it was tough to locate a doctor nearby. By this time, while the local bleeding had stopped, the pain was excruciating.

We finally managed to get an appointment with a doctor I often go to for minor events like muscle sprains, fevers, etc. He inspected my injury, gave me a tetanus shot and a few painkillers. I was okay with the tablets as they reduced the pain, but the head cramps and disorientation haunted me.

The next day, my friend’s brother who happens to be an acclaimed cardiologist in Guwahati, insisted we visit Dr Shripad Pujari, a consultant neurologist in Pune. We reached his clinic at 6 pm and he checked me thoroughly, and suggested an immediate CT scan. He also prescribed painkillers and neuro-protectors. To me, this felt like the gloomiest day of my life.

We went to the nearby Budhrani Hospital for the CT scan (where I have been treated before for a stomach ailment). The scan took barely 3 minutes and the reports were out in another 10. The radiologists, who saw my reports, told my friend that I had two cerebral hematomas. The advice was simple: see a neurologist ASAP.

My neurologist, Dr Pujari, took a look at the reports and said: “She’s got two hematomas. One on her frontal lobe, which is 2 cms long, and the other on her temporal lobe. She needs immediate hospitalisation or this could be life-threatening.”

My friend rushed me to Noble Hospital located in Magarpatta city. As soon as I entered the place, I felt a bit disoriented. Two nurses ran towards me with a wheelchair. I sat down and was immediately taken to the casualty ward and put on a bed. It was chaotic. Whining patients, needles, injections, heavy drugs, blood pressure monitors, drips, doctors… everything. The doctors and nurses, who were around, knew that my condition was serious. I could hear them say, “She has hematomas. She has hematomas, move, move!”

They checked my blood pressure first. 160, was the reading. The nurse checked my blood sugar again and then my haemoglobin levels. Sugar was 65 and Hb was 13.4. Next thing I know, there’s an IV needle inside my vein. I was given a very strong intravenous painkiller and some other drugs to stabilise my blood pressure. Due to the painkillers, I felt too weak to understand what was going on. I was shifted to a room on one of their floors. By then the medicines had reduced my pain a bit and I noticed that the room was neat and clean. The bed was comfortable. There was a little television set, an AC, attached western toilet with bath, a spacious balcony and a little bed for an attendant. The nurses were compassionate.

My diagnosis: cerebral hematoma, with cerebral haemorrhagic frontal and temporal contusion.

My treatment included: IV after IV of medicines like manitol, dynapar, tramadol, clinaxon, pantocid and T. Nutam, and a constant monitoring of my vitals. It was a four-day treatment.

I don’t have a very clear memory of my stay due to the constant pumping of medicines that made me drowsy. But whatever little that I can recall, I felt that the treatment I got was professional and the staff were pleasant. And that is the reason I decided to share my experience on Savetime blog so that other patients can benefit from it.

I recommend Dr. Shripad Pujari, consulting neurophysician, MD (Medicine), DM, DNB (Neurology), MRCP (London), Clinical & Research Neurology (UK) for any neurological issues you or your loved ones may be going through. I recommend Noble Hospital, as it made my experience and treatment comfortable. They also have special meals for patients, freshly cooked in their canteen with less oil and salt. They have special security system for all visitors and have a canteen for them too. In fact, they have all-day room service room, which I found interesting for a hospital! All doctors and nurses were genuinely concerned, and gave personal attention.

Things I learnt:

  1. The preciousness of life comes from its uncertainty.
  2. If you ever hit your head badly, go for a CT scan right after the first aid.
  3. If you have local bleeding in head, Soframycin works the best to dry the wound.
  4. Consult the best neurologist you know in your city.
  5. Brain health is probably the most fragile and more important than we think.
  6. If you are a bike rider, ALWAYS wear a helmet.

I am recovering now. I get mild headaches once in a while, which is normal for someone who’s got a contusion in the head. My tablets are still on, but my last follow-up report read I have almost recovered.

This incident has grounded me forever. I learnt, although physical fitness is vital for good health, brain power is the all mighty controller of life. So, take good care of it. I sincerely wish you all a healthy, happy life.

(Dr. Shripad Pujari’s clinic is located at 19, Meera Housing Society, Behind Meera Medical Stores, Shankarshet Road, Pune. You can visit anywhere between 4 pm and 7 pm on weekdays. His first consultation charges are Rs 500. If you wish to book an appointment, his clinic’s telephone number is: 020-26436788) 


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