Sudbury

Sudbury woman still recovering from a concussion 2 months later

A Sudbury woman is still working to get her life back after being injured on the job two months ago.

France Huot was injured on the job in December

France Huot is still recovering from a concussion she got on the job two months ago. (Michel Laforge/Radio-Canada)

A Sudbury woman is still working to get her life back after being injured on the job two months ago.

France Huot, an audience development officer with Théâtre Du Nouvel-Ontario, suffered a concussion after some risers fell on her head. Initially, she knew the blow wasn't good but says overall she felt ok.

"That's the thing with concussions is for a concussion to be severe, you don't have to throw up [and] you don't have to lose consciousness," she said.

"I just remember being very zoned out for a good half hour. Then, I started getting waves of nausea and a headache started."

She went to a clinic and was told she had a mild concussion. It was recommended she take two or three days off to recover. She did, but didn't feel any better. She was eventually diagnosed with a severe concussion.

Her symptoms vary and include trouble sleeping, irritability, moodiness, increased anxiety, slow reaction time and ringing in the ears.

"It's all the time," she said.

"During December, I could tell it was a good day when I could hear my fridge. And then there were days I couldn't [hear it] because of the ringing."

'Debilitating'

Concussions are the most common form of a traumatic brain injury, according to Concussions Ontario. The group says in 2013, there were 148,710 concussions diagnosed across the province.

Carol Di Salle, the northeastern Ontario acquired brain injury clinician at Health Sciences North in Sudbury, says concussions can result in a wide variety of symptoms.

"They could be cognitive in nature, more thinking type symptoms," she said.

"It could be more physical symptoms [such as] balance issues or vertigo. Or you may have symptoms that fall into the emotional category where you're feeling anxious and irritable."

Carol Di Salle works with many patients at Health Sciences North who suffer brain injuries. (Megan Thomas/CBC)

Di Salle says about 85 per cent of people who have a concussion recover within a few weeks. She says for the other 15 per cent, recovery may take weeks, month and sometimes years.

"That's the minority, not the majority," she said.

"But when that happens it's debilitating."

She says the best approach for treatment is to work with a team of healthcare specialists.

Getting better

Huot says she's still waiting to see a specialist but has been told she should expect a call within a few weeks.

But the impact on her life has been massive. She hasn't been able to work and has had to stay home. Her options of what to do at home have been limited as she hasn't been able to read, listen to music, use a computer, watch television or do any physical activity. Just recently, she was able to start going on short walks.

"My balance was really off," she said.

"So I spend most of my days just looking at the ceiling. It's kind of like watching paint dry."

Huot admits the whole situation has been difficult.

"I had a huge meltdown because I said I can't deal with this," she said.

"It mirrors a lot of depression because you're unable to do things."

But now, she's celebrating the small wins, even if it's just being able to clean the bathroom counter.

"That's a victory," she said. "I'm going to celebrate that probably by meditating."

Imagine no television, no bright lights, no walking, no physical activity, no reading, no listening to music. That's what France Huot of Sudbury has been dealing with following a concussion that happened two months ago. She is getting better though... slowly. She shared her story with us. Then we heard more about concussions in general from northeastern Ontario acquired brain injury clinician Carole Di Salle. 14:33

With files from Markus Schwabe

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