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Big Al's Story


I suffered a SAH in march 1996 at the age of 27, I was stood in the kitchen washing pots and my 7yo daughter was playing in the garden when i heard an almighty bang in my head and got a weird noise which i can only describe as when you put a shell to your ear? also got a terrible pain down my neck, my instant thought was that something had gone seriously wrong and that i had better get my daughter inside the house in case i collapsed? I phoned my parents (always ring mum in a crisis?) as my partner was at work and told her something was wrong, she said we”ll come round and fetch some paracetamols? i started crying and told her it was much worse than that to which she started balling too?

When i arrived at A&E with my father i had to wait 2 and a half hours to be seen?(was just a bloke with a bad headache?) Eventually a doctor came by which time i was vomiting heavily and shouting out with the pain from the headache(as you well know?)i also had photophobia and the doctor was doing tests for meningitis( apparently the symptoms are very similar?)anyway along came his superior and he looked at me for a while and concluded that i just had a severe migraine and could go home with some strong pain killers? the doctor who saw me first then said he thought that i should be admitted overnight for tests ie; CT scans etc. the doctor in charge agreed to this and i personally think if it wasnt for the first doctor overruling his boss i probably wouldnt be telling my story now?

The CT scan revealed a burst aneurysm and i was transferred to hallamshire hospital in sheffield 20 miles away(the ambulance was going about 20mph to avoid any bumping and barging it seemed to take an age to get there?)on a monday and the surgeon came to see me the next morning and explained that i had to wait until the bleed had settled and clotted so it would be the following monday before they could operate?

During this time i never lost conciousness at all but did sleep a lot and suffer badly with the photophobia & headaches? id not eaten for the whole week of being there and when i came out of surgery ( 10 hours) the first thing i said to my mum was “im hungry”?.

I had to remain on my back for another 2 weeks and be bathed and changed by the nurses(what a joy! for me not for them maybe?) on the third week they sat me up for the first time(what a weird feeling?)and after another week started giving me some physio as my brain knew how to walk but my legs had forgotton how to?

Eventually i was discharged after 6 weeks and on my day of departure i was sat alone waiting for my parents to come pick me up when my surgeon came and sat next to me and asked if id got any questions to ask him about my 2nd aneurysm (WWHHHAAAATTT??)

I couldnt believe what i was hearing-apparently my family had been told and were gonna break it to me gently but you know how surgeons are? He explained that i would have to come back at a later stage for an angiogram(not another?)and take things from there?.

When i arrived home i felt very vunrable for some reason, i would stay up until all hours on my own(maybe used to it in hospital?)and the worst side-effect i noticed was if i was sat halfway between two noises ie; telly in one ear and noise from kitchen in another it used to send me crazy! Luckily i stopped smoking and still have 11 yrs on!

Went back for the angiogram and was operrated on for a 2nd time 7 months later in oct 96.

In total i had 13 months off work, got full pay for first 6 months then half pay but got some help from social security to make up the wages and had the mortgage covered thank god?

My recovery was slow but no problems whatsoever!, I used to walk a lot-take my daughter to school, I went from 11 stone to 18 and a half stone but i think that was a lot to do with me stopping smoking and lack of exercise in early stages? luckily the weights sorted out now(back to a happy 15 stone?)

About 2 years after my 2nd op i felt i was back to my best and got in touch with my doctor and asked about the chances of me playing football again??(i know youre probably wincing at this point but football was the only thing i was any good at and it ruled my life before the ops?) and he said to just go and lead a normal life? so i got myself pretty fit again and got back into the team i was playing for before? I must admit that every time a cross came over i volleyed it instead of heading it and all the other lads used to laugh at me until one day the ball came over and i thought this is it-i just closed my eyes and prayed that i heard no bangs! anyway nothing happened except the ball went in the opposite way to where i wanted it to(never was my strong point heading?)

and im still playing 8 years on?

To be honest i never even think about my SAH unless prompted!

I know mine is a happy story with no side-effects and i do feel for all the SAH victims and their families who arent as lucky as me and boy do i know how lucky i am?

I have since met a new partner 4 years ago and we have a beautiful boy named ALFIE who is two yrs old and my daughter who is 17 now(and dont i know it?)

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