Kendra Jackson of Omaha, Nebraska counted herself lucky in 2013 when she walked away from a car accident with a minor head injury resulting from her head hitting the dashboard of the car she was in. The bruising slowly went away. The pain receded as well…at least temporarily.
Years after her accident Jackson began to be plagued with debilitating headaches, dizziness, sleeplessness and a constant runny nose. Her primary care physician diagnosed her symptoms as results of severe allergies that were causing sinus infections. When the symptoms never cleared up, Jackson went to Nebraska Medicine for a second opinion.
CBS Denver quotes Jackson as describing the non-stop nasal drainage:
“It was like a waterfall, continuously, and then it would run to the back of my throat. Everywhere I went, I always had a box of Puffs stuffed in my pocket.”
After conducting some diagnostic tests, doctors at the hospital discovered that Jackson was actually leaking brain fluid, or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), from a fissure inside her nose that most likely developed from her car accident years before.
According to Live Science, the brain produces 17 ounces of CSF per day. Any breach to the membrane walls around the brain or spinal cord can result in that fluid escaping into the body. Such tears or punctures can leave the victim susceptible to bacterial meningitis – an infection that causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.
Years ago, such an injury would have necessitated an invasive brain surgery procedure, but doctors are now able, in most cases, to perform outpatient procedures.
In Jackson’s case, surgeons used fatty tissue from her body to essentially plug the fracture. While this remedy may sound like something the little Dutch boy Hans Binker of dike-leaking-fame would do, the results for Jackson have been a godsend.
“I don’t have to carry around the tissues anymore, and I’m getting some sleep,” Jackson said after her recent surgery. Doctors added that Jackson is expected to make a full recovery.