The Blackout

So last week, Thursday, I was involved in an MVA. MVA is code for Motor Vehicle Accident.

It had been a really good day at work – productive with positive interactions with co-workers. I was dispatched to take some equipment to an operator in the City. I decided at the same time to collect log sheets from others.

On my way back to Drury, I received a call asking me to swing by someone’s house to pick up some equipment. As I left his house I expected a service station to be on the right-hand side of the road, a few clicks ahead. But it wasn’t there. I wasn’t on the road I thought I was – or rather, the road I was on hadn’t morphed into the road I knew the service station to be on. I just wanted something to eat and drink.

I was slightly confused, but not in a way that was of any concern. I adjusted my plans, making my way towards where I was sure there was a supermarket. I couldn’t find a park topside so decided to park in the underground carpark. Easy enough.

I got some food from the supermarket and got back to the vehicle. I remember getting into the vehicle and doing the usual pre-journey things. The next 20 seconds remain a mystery. I simply do not know.

The Bang

I remember the collision. I remember wondering why I had stopped. I remember the van’s cargo shunting around. I remember the engine still running.

Somehow I had left the direction of traffic, crossing the centre line, and ending up colliding with a concrete pillar. There’s a reason it takes specialised diamond blades and high powered machinery to cut concrete. Concrete vs. van. Concrete will win every time.

The BlackoutI couldn’t get out the drivers door. The impact had bent the door shut. I had to climb out the passenger side. Somehow I was able to open the driver’s door from the outside, get back into the vehicle and attempt to move the vehicle out of the line of traffic.

The engine was still running. My intention was to reverse the van into a nearby park – but the van would only steer one way – right. With that being the case, I had to find a space to put the van accessible through a series of right-turns.

I rang my boss, and then I rang Ashley. They came to my rescue. Upon their arrival, I tried to explain my versions of events. I was incoherent, confused, unable to put together a sentence.

Bakersfield Accident and Medical was just around the corner. It was Ashley’s job to take care of me as my boss took care of the badly damaged motor vehicle.

The Mystery

There were several questions that needed answering.

Was the post-collision inability to turn left the cause of the accident, or a result? Upon mechanical inspection, it turned out to be the latter.

Was the memory loss, that 20 second period of time I can’t recall the cause of the accident, or the result? It is this aspect that is of real concern. The real concern is that I experienced a blackout. The blackout, a loss of consciousness, caused me to involuntarily cross the line of traffic and collide with the concrete pillar.

The Blackout

Another aspect of the mystery has to do with the direction of travel.  I was driving away from the underground carpark’s exit.  The reason for this choice in direction is as much a mystery as the blackout, as the cause, as the exact events that lead to the collision.

The Doctors

For the rest of Thursday, I was a progressively unraveling mess.  “Am I going to college/work/book club…?”  I wasn’t going anywhere.  Several phone calls made and received confirmed my incoherence, and heightened the concern that I had had a blackout.

The first doctor I had seen ordered blood tests in an attempt to ascertain why I had had the blackout.  These blood tests came back inconclusive – though did show that I have high cholesterol.   Apart from giving me the day off and asking me to see my GP, that’s about as much help as the first doctor offered.

The second doctor extended my medical certificate, told me to take it easy, prescribed some pain medication, and told me to report back in a weeks time.

Then there was the weekend.  It was okay.  I felt like I had a serious hangover, and struggled to concentrate, focus, balance, etc.  Foolishly I did a bit of driving on both Saturday and Sunday – though on Sunday I could only drive to the destination.  I didn’t feel up to driving back.

Despite medical advice to the contrary, I went to work on Monday.  I had stuff to do.  I quickly realised that this was a mistake and decided to bring the doctors appointment forward.  I left work to see a GP.  Doctor number three.

His concern resulted in an immediate referral to the Emergency Department with the intention on getting me a computed tomography (CT) scan.  The hope was of identifying whether the trauma had resulted in memory loss.

Middlemore Emergency Department

After a 5 hour wait, I saw a Dr who seemed to specialise in the kinds of trauma that brings people into the Emergency Department.   Thorough examination marginalised the probability that the blackout was caused by the trauma.  Having a CT scan under such circumstances carried greater risk (i.e. exposure to radiation) than it would render benefit.

His action plan was to issue a no-driving order, and send me back to the GP.  It was always my plan to go back to the GP, but with CT scan results.  The change involved insisting the GP make a referral to a neurologist.

The underlying reason for a change in trajectory was the concern concerning the blackout.  If it wasn’t trauma induced, then there’s something going on.  This something needs to be attended to as quickly as possible.

So today I will have my fifth doctors appointment.  Let’s see what happens.


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