On Monday 13th May 2007, I did not feel at all well, but went to work. During the day, I went to get myself a coffee and I was coming back with it, when inexplicably the cup fell from my left hand. I thought ‘that’s weird’ but took no further notice and got myself another cup. I worked all day, then went home, not feeling too well, so went to bed. I thought I was coming down with a cold. My only other symptom was my sinuses hurt, but thought that was sinusitis which I have had before. I never, ever experienced the thunderclap of a headache I have read about.
Next morning, I got up to go to work, but again felt decidedly ill, so phoned to say I would not be in. Stayed in bed all day. Wednesday morning, got up to go to work and the next thing I remember is waking up on the floor. I got up but felt sick, managed to get to the bathroom and I was sick and that hurt, as I had not eaten in two days. I turned to face the mirror and saw my left eye was closed. I could not open it and thought “Ann, you’re ill, go to the Doctors”. Fortunately, where I live there is open surgery in the afternoons, so I got in my car and drove down, parked and went in. To cut a long story short, my Dr. called an ambulance who took me to Worthing Hospital. My Dr. explained to me that I would be bypassing ER and would go straight to an Emergency ward.
He then asked if he could notify my next of kin – my partner Terry who lives in London – only one problem – I had left my mobile at home and could not remember his number! I offered to drive home (5 minutes) to get it! Well did not realise how ill I was. Poor Terry, he was beside himself not being able to contact me on either my landline or mobile so, as it was well past 6 o’clock, phoned the Met Police who contacted West Sussex Police – they evidently sent around a Patrol Car and Paramedics who found the spare key, saw the mess in my bedroom and bathroom and realised something was not right. They found me in Worthing Hospital.
All I remember was having the scan, seeing the inside of my eyeball (I think) ....fascinating, I was not afraid, being driven to Hurst wood Park Neurological Centre in Haywards Heath, so had spent the whole of the 16th out of it. I remember signing the form and then being annoyed at being woken up and asked silly questions like “who is the Prime Minister”, “Where was I” – do you think I could remember kept saying Harefield Hospital – soon worked it out though through word association as no way were they going to beat me.
Terry was told by the Consultant that I was seriously ill, that they were unsure whether I would survive as the haemorrhage was severe and that if I did survive, I may be severely disabled. I was blissfully unaware of all of this.
I remember opening my eyes and seeing Terry and his son (now the 17th) feeling my head, felt the bandage and that was it. I was in ICU for 2 weeks and was then moved onto the Ward. My eye was still closed. I became paranoid about my blood pressure as on the first day on the ward, I was put in a chair, the next thing was on the bed opening my eyes with lots of medical people around me. I was petrified I had had a fit but was told I had fainted. It took me well over a week to get out of bed, I had lost all my confidence. The nurses were fantastic, I cannot praise them enough. Oh. The joy of having my first bath and hair wash in 4 weeks – I cannot describe how I felt. I was discharged back to Worthing Hospital and from there home.
My eye had started to flick open which was a good omen – gradually that first week home the eye stayed open longer and longer. The one downside was I now had a squint and could not see properly. I had no depth of vision so getting out of the shower (bath) needed Terry’s help. Went to my Drs. to thank him for saving my life as I am convinced that without his insight and quickness in getting me to hospital, I would not have made it. He gave me an eye exercise and by the end of that week, the eye was centred however, when Terry drove, I would see the road straight ahead and going off to the right. Weird. Went back to my Dr. who told me to put a shield on my right eye which worked a treat as the left had to work and hey presto, my double vision disappeared.
The fatigue – cannot believe how tired I was, what an effort it was initially to walk a few yards. When Terry went home as I could not drive, I needed to walk down to the main road in my village about a ¼ mile to get the bus. Had to think, “if I get down there, will I get back”. I can honestly say the worst aspect of my SAH was not being able to drive. I realise why but………. Lovely neighbours to take me shopping but…………… I was allowed to drive a full six months after my SAH.
My reason for writing this all down and posting it, is to let those to come know that it is not all doom and gloom. My eye did open, I got over the fatigue, drove again, went back to work, and have come out of it with virtually no side effects whatsoever. My left temple is numb, my hair has got curly (don’t ask me why), I have not had a headache since then and now no longer take my health for granted. I feel so humble that my outcome has been good when I read the other stories.