Harris, chairman of the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, said Friday he suffered a Grade 3 concussion, the most severe form, when he slipped and fell at his home July 10.
Harris, Wal-Mart Logistics human resources director, was transported to Ransom Memorial Hospital, 1301 S. Main St., Ottawa, after the fall, he said.
“I don’t remember this, but they tell me I tried to get out of bed on my own at the hospital and fell and hit my head again,” Harris said. “So I suffered two [severe] concussions within a 10-hour period.”
The successive, violent blows to the head left Harris suffering from short-term memory loss, dizzy spells and problems with middle-ear imbalances, he said.
Harris was released from the hospital July 11 and has been recuperating at home, he said. He has been seeing his regular physician, a neurologist and a physical therapist in the interim as he tries to get ready to resume his daily routines.
“Dr. [John] Gollier told me the only way to treat [two major concussions] is rest and relaxation,” Harris said. “He said there is no magic medicine [to heal the brain]. The frustrating thing is the amount of time it takes.”
Harris is looking forward to returning to the county commission and his work at Wal-Mart, he said.
Harris is hopeful he will have a better idea when he can return to work and resume his duties as chairman of the board of commissioners after his doctor’s appointment Thursday.
“I turned 58 on July 15, and friends told me that’s not a good way to spend my birthday,” Harris said. “I feel better than I did a couple of weeks ago, but I know I have a ways to go.”
Harris had to use a walker to steady himself for a week after he returned home from the hospital, he said.
“I don’t have to use the walker now, but I still use a cane to steady myself,” Harris said. “I still have some problems with vertigo, and some short-term memory loss. Doctors tell me my [short-term] memory should improve, but they won’t guarantee it. My long-term memory seems to be the same as it was.”
Colt Waymire, vice chairman of the county’s board of commissioners and who has been running the meetings in Harris’ absence, said he has talked with Harris a few times since his fall and said he seemed to be in good spirits.
“We have good, level-headed people at the county, and we’re getting our business done [despite being short a commissioner],” Waymire said.
Harris has missed several meetings since the incident in his home and said he regretted he would be unable to attend the county’s budget hearing 6:30 p.m. Monday at the County Board of Commissioners Chambers, 1418 S. Main St., Ottawa.
“I’m hoping maybe I can come back to the county commission sooner — the meetings only last about an hour, so it would not be the same as a full day at work,” he said.
Harris is appreciative of the support he has received from family, friends, colleagues and co-workers, he said.
“I’m still alive and kicking,” the former U.S. Marine said. “I just can’t kick as hard as I used to.”