SHAKEN BABY SYNDROME & HYDROCEPHALUS
Last night one of our local tv stations aired a piece about a string of sites online that promote shaking babies as a positive thing. The reporter & the anchor mentioned that someone might think of this as a joke, but no one here is laughing. Neither is the mother who went to the media when she saw one of these sites. Her son was shaken a few years ago & sustained a severe brain injury that has changed many lives, forever. He will never able to live to what was once his full potential, because someone, for whatever 'reason' lost control & inflicted unimaginable damage to a young child.
No one who understands what happens inside the skull during one of these shaking episodes can think there is any humor in this. The inside of the skull is rough & jagged, not intended for the soft brain tissue to come in contact with it. Cuts, brain bleeds and bruising can easily result. These can lead to swelling & pressure being put on the brain, impacting a child in many ways, depending on the areas of the brain impacted.
Frankly, this is also what happens inside the skull when a concussion happens to someone older than a small child. While it isn't called the same thing when it happens to an older child or adult, the results can be the same. This is what happens when heads collide, be it on the football field or a car accident.
Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any information about the statistics of what damages take place, or how many cases of acquired hydrocephalus result from such impacts, but given that there is often significant brain bruising, bleeds, swelling & pressure (whether temporary or permanent) on the precious cargo, the brain, we know that it is a very real possibility of being one of many causes of acquired hydrocephalus.
Brain bleeds can be slow & unknown to the person or those around him/her. Someone with an undiagnosed brain bleed can think that everything is fine, when it definitely is NOT. Anyone with a brain bleed, adult or child, can think that nothing is wrong, go to bed & never wake up! It is also not something those around the injured person would know about by just looking at the person either. There can be some signs, but most of those aren't going to be picked up on by others. Personality changes, thinking that they are doing one thing when they are doing something else, disorientation, getting beligerant, throwing up or having a headache can be present, but not always. Taken out of context, these could all be attributed to someone coming down with a 'bug', being impossible to deal with or simply being 'a brat' (or in the case of an adult, they could be drunk).
Babies may be fussy or sleepy. Not things that most caregivers are going to necessarily associate with a brain injury.
There is NOTHING funny or positive about brain damage. While some can overcome the challenges resulting from the damage left by brain injury, it is hardly something to put a positive spin to. It alters many aspects of the person's life, & those around him/her. I can only hope that ignorance is what is behind someone thinking that there is anything 'funny' about this.