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snopes
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Today I saw yet another sitcom episode in which one of the characters suffered a concussion, and then hilarity ensued as -- at doctor's orders -- the other characters had to keep her from falling asleep for 18 hours.

I believe there's legitimate medical concern that sleep could mask some important symptoms in a concussion patient, but do doctors ever really order such patients to be kept awake for extended periods of time? And if so, wouldn't those patients be in the hospital for observation rather than merely being sent home with a warning not to fall asleep?

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BlackForge
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Yes, they do ask you to say awake after a minor concussion without a stay in the hospital. It was never 18 hr for me in both cases, but 12 hr. There also have to be someone around to keep a eye on you as well or they will not let you go home.
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DemonWolf
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My one experience was having the doctor order me to stay awake 2 hrs. But I was also quite young and it was already late at night, so that may have been a factor.

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Gibbie
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We were ordered to wake my daughter up every hour through the night to make sure that everything was ok. She had a mild concussion from a fall. They had wanted to do a CAT scan but she was too terrified of the machine to be able to submit to it (she was 6). Given that the worst of the symptoms were over (confusion was gone, no complaint of pain) they allowed us to go home with the order to wake her up. If the symptoms return we had to return immediately to the hospital.

Gibbie

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Jonny T
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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I once had a mild concussion (punched in the eye in class, was next to teacher at the time) and was ordered to stay awake. Nobody would tell me what the purpose for this was, and I fell asleep as normal that evening.

They didn't tell me not to sleep for a specific length of time - the basic idea seemed to be that I should do my best to keep to normal sleep patterns rather than falling asleep in the middle of the day. Not sure of the rationale behind it though.

Jonathan.

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My understanding is that you want the person to remain conscious so that you can gauge his or her level of neurological damage. An unconscious person can't exhibit clear signs, such as slurred speech or limb paralysis, that might indicate a problem more serious than a concussion. Also, a person who is believed to be sleeping might actually have slipped into a coma, though I'm not sure how much of a difference this makes. If he or she doesn't regain consciousness when attempts are made to rouse him or her, you know there's a problem.
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Eanar
I Saw Three Shipments


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I had a fairly major concussion after I fell and smacked my head into a solid oak coffee table. I must have been 8 years old or so. I ended up going to the hospital and they were going to send me home until I relieved my stomach of its contents on the doctor. They woke me every hour to make sure I was ok. I was never hooked to any machines at the time but this was 20ish years ago. My 2 cents.
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Casey, making hot chocolate
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Boogity, boogity, boogity... Darrell Waltrip fan, I believe? [Wink]

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LizzyJingleBells
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The one time I had a concussion, my mother was instructed to not let me fall asleep for 8 hours.

This site says the following about children and concussions:
quote:
For the first 24 hours after a concussion, you'll need to check in with your child every two hours, waking him up if necessary to make sure that he's not nauseated, unconscious, confused, or unusually weak or dizzy. This is because signs of brain trauma don't always show up right away. He should respond normally to being woken up. You can also give him children's acetaminophen every four hours if he has a headache.
I'm guessing it's pretty much the same thing for adults with head trauma as well.

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Cervus
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quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
Today I saw yet another sitcom episode in which one of the characters suffered a concussion, and then hilarity ensued as -- at doctor's orders -- the other characters had to keep her from falling asleep for 18 hours.

I remember this on an episode of Wings. The "plot" was that Helen had not been able to sleep for several nights due to squirrels running around in her attic, and when she finally gets rid of them (and looks forward to sleep), she suffers a concussion and has to stay awake for 18 hours or so. Out of curiosity, what show were you watching?

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Won't somebody please think of the adults!

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Eanar
I Saw Three Shipments


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Sorry to hijack,

Not really a Waltrip fan, But it is that season again and I got excited. Personally I am a Martin or Jarrett fan. I am all about the old guys. I didn't figure anybody here would get it. With all of the sophistication around here I thought I was the only redneck hick race fan. (I was putting me down not you)

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Casey, making hot chocolate
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Heck, my dad ran ARCA for years. I'm definitely a fan! No need to feel redneckian, there are plenty of us here. [Smile]

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"To be or not to be! That is the question! Now, will you answer, dare, double dare, or take the Physical Challenge?" --Mark Summers as Hamlet
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Nan8
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I saw this on the MASH episode where Hawkeye swerves to keep from hitting two kids playing in the road, and his jeep overturns. Real doctors were consulted to help write that episode (see the end credits) to see that they did everything right. It's also true that when they operated in cold weather, they warmed their hands over the steam coming from the patients opened bodies: This came from the episode about Clete Roberts doing the interview.

If you've ever read the book, Phantom,(a more complete version of the Phantom of the Opera) by Susan Kay, there is another instance. Near the end of it, Christine bangs her forehead against the wall until its bloody because she knows she'll never see daylight again. Erik keeps her awake because he thinks she'll die if she falls asleep.

It's like not letting someone fall asleep during hypothermia, like what happened to that guy in jack London's story, To Build a Fire. I don't know about that, though.

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24K_ Kate
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[hijack]

quote:
Originally posted by Eanar Boogity Boogity Boogity:
I am all about the old guys. I didn't figure anybody here would get it. With all of the sophistication around here I thought I was the only redneck hick race fan.

Hey, another redneck race fan here [Smile] I like the old guys too. Schrader is my man.
quote:
Originally posted by Casey, looking in the mailbox:
Heck, my dad ran ARCA for years. I'm definitely a fan! No need to feel redneckian, there are plenty of us here. [Smile]

That's so cool! ARCA usually puts on a great show! By the way, whose your driver?[/hijack]

Swerving back on topic: When I was teaching preschool, I had a student take a pretty good whack to the head. We were told to watch her carfully at nap time, but we should let her sleep as normal.

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Jay Temple
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quote:
Originally posted by Nan8:
I saw this on the MASH episode where Hawkeye swerves to keep from hitting two kids playing in the road, and his jeep overturns. Real doctors were consulted to help write that episode (see the end credits) to see that they did everything right.

And he says plainly that he knows there's no truth to the belief that if you asleep after a concussion, you'll die. ("On the other hand, I have a very good reason for not wanting to go to sleep, which is that I'm afraid I'll die!" That ep is from Season 4, which came out on DVD last year.)

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Gale
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Nan8:
If you've ever read the book, Phantom,(a more complete version of the Phantom of the Opera) by Susan Kay, there is another instance. Near the end of it, Christine bangs her forehead against the wall until its bloody because she knows she'll never see daylight again. Erik keeps her awake because he thinks she'll die if she falls asleep.

Is this the same Susan Kay that wrote Legacy? One of the better books I've read on Elizabeth I. But it's a re-telling. The original book "The Phantom of the Opera" was written in 1910 by Gaston Laroux, and is quite possibly the worst book I've ever read.

Gayle "it was in the dollar bin for a reason"

Oh, put me in the catagory of people who've had concussions and got sent home with instructions to be woken up every 2 hours.

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Enjal
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When I was 8 or 9, I fell off a cannon at a military museum (Fort Knox in Maine - see the happy children in the picture playing on the cannon? That was how it all started except I had a blonde moment and tried climbing with only one free hand) and hit my head so bad, I lost consciousness. That night, Mom and my aunt took turns waking me up every half hour to ask me questions like "what's your name?" and "where do you live?". I thought they'd gone batty but they were just making sure no major damage was done to my little noggin.

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LeaflessMapleTree
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When I was skiing a few years back I took a bad wipeout and hit my head directly into the icy ground. I apparently flipped in the air after bouncing off the ground, but I was out cold for a few seconds so I don't remember. I was told to stay awake for 6 hours, but I fell asleep on the way home in the car and woke up with a completely purple face. Never found out why. It went way after an hour and I was fine after that.

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Tallon Roe, Supersized Beastie
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I had a minor concussion in high school. My sister and her husband called my mother, and she told them to make sure that I didn't fall asleep. Interestingly enough, all I wanted to do was sleep, and they wouldn't let me. It was awful. That's about all I remember.

-T.

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Jayne
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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My sister was in a car accident and got a very, very bad concussion. She was dicharged from the hospital very quickly, and she went home and went to sleep. She slept through most of the night, and when she woke up the next day, she was physically ill.

I had a concussion (don't ask how I got one), and I was incedibly tired. My mother, a nurse, said that it was okay to sleep, but I should be woken up every couple hours.

I guess it depends on how severe the concussion is, whether you should sleep and be woken up reguarly, or if you should stay awake for awhile (maybe not all 24 hours, though). The waking up, I feel, is just to check for any neurological injuries, especially in children and the elderly, and those pose the greatest threat for long-term damages, so it is a good idea.

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