Scars that talk about the past: head wound

IMG_3237I received my first scar on my head when I was about 2. A boy in the neighborhood pushed me off of a piece of playground equipment and I hit my head. It’s, I think, my oldest memory. I was wearing a pink dress that I just loved and I remember being horrified that my favorite dress was covered in blood. I don’t remember feeling pain.

At least not until I had to go to the doctor where they stitched me up. I remember my mom telling me that I had to be really still and I was silent the entire exam until he started putting a needle into my scalp. I screamed and cried, but apparently, no one was that serious about me being really still because I got ice cream afterward for being so good. I ended up with a small bald patch on my head and my hair covered easily enough.

The second scar and the one most visible now, came in 2009. One night, in the throes of depression and despair, I consumed 280 milligrams of Ambien (regular dose is 10 mg) and went to sleep, intending to never wake up. My plan failed, however. I regained consciousness at 5pm the following day and found myself in a hospital bed. During the time I was out, I apparently vomited all over myself, was up and walking around in the morning, used the bathroom and talked to my mom. I also hit my head.

I have no memory of any of this at all. A few hours after I woke up, I tried to run my fingers through my hair to straighten it and found that I had staples in my head and dried blood crusted around them. I tried to find what I hit my head on and wasn’t able to locate anything. I still don’t know exactly what happened.

The wound healed nicely and I got the staples out a few days after I was released from the inpatient ward I was forced to go to. The scar is still there though. My hair doesn’t lay completely flat on that side and the old wound still feels sore sometimes. But in the end, I survived a massive overdose with only a small scar on my scalp.

One time I was getting a haircut when the stylist asked me about my scar. I didn’t exactly want to tell a stranger what had happened to me. So I just told her that I had hit my head when I was unconscious. She assumed I had been drinking. I let her think that I had been.

Scars say a lot about us. They tell us what happened to us when we are at our worst and the odds are stacked against us. My head scar is a small reminder of a time when I thought it was over and I was ready to give up. Despite my best effort, I’m still here.