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Carolyn's Story


Hello all!

My name is Carolyn. I live in Champaign/Urbana Illinois, US. First of all I want to thank all of you for being here and congratulate you all that you have the ability to be here. I have been reading this site for a few weeks and have grown fond of you all. Wish I could hear Win sing!

I don't remember any of the following: June 3, 2014 my husband and son woke to the sounds of me screaming and vomiting. My husband realized something important was happening and called for an ambulance. Initially I was taken to a hospital that - after an hour or so of examinations - turned me away to be treated at Carle Hospital in Urbana. Thank God and unbeknown to me this hospital has one of the best neuro men in the country. The ambulance guys were thrilled, I'm sure, to be able to dump me somewhere as I fought them every step of the way.

Dr. Wang discovered I had a ruptured aneurysm on the right side and set about to perform the coiling procedure on that. After that emergency procedure it was discovered I had 2 more aneurysms on the right side and these were clipped the following day. After a few days of measuring how much spinal fluid was draining from my brain Dr. Wang implanted a shunt. My family were told I had approximately 30% chance of survival.

I was held in ICU/CCU for approximately 4 weeks where I was mostly blissfully unaware of anything. As I began to slowly come around it became apparent that I was going to be difficult to deal with. I wouldn't eat and had to have a feeding tube installed in my stomach.

I said very bizarre and sometimes insulting things whenever I was lucid enough to talk. i.e. A very sweet young Mennonite nurse told me she had a chicken that laid green eggs and I told her that sounded like a bunch of horse.... to me!

That became a theme for me. I also announced we were all in the Pacific Northwest and that I had an account where anybody could donate funds to plant trees for Israel!

I know a lot of you are familiar with the crazy behavior thing. I guess I lost my filter for a while.

My memory kicks in here:

4 weeks in I was transferred to the Therapy Unit where I stayed another 3 weeks. My recovery rate was astounding the docs and nurses. In a week or so I could walk without assistance and perform most therapy tasks in record time. A therapist took my husband and I (at my husband's request) back up to the CCU where I walked around unaided and hugged the nurses I don't remember and thanked them all for helping to save my life. It was very touching.

Meanwhile I fell in love with most of the nurses in the therapy ward and actually have gone back to visit them. I'll never forget them.

Forgot to mention that, while I was still in CCU, my second son was in a serious car accident and came to the same hospital with a head injury. Crazy stuff! He is fine now.

Anyhow...I am home now - since 7/17 and am doing relatively well. There are a lot of things that frighten me such as weird feelings in my head, etc. But I read your stories and I feel much better.

The things that are the most annoying are the changes in my senses, i.e. taste, scent, sound etc. I hate almost everything I used to like to eat and it is heartbreaking to me. Today I had a great moment in that I made chocolate chip cookies and still loved the cookie dough! Win - this one is for you - I played my favorite Beatles CD the other day- and couldn't stand the racket! I almost wept!

I'm losing weight - 24 pounds so far; not sleeping; still taking anti-seizure medication and narcotics for post-stroke headache. But, all in all, we are doing much better. Doctor says I can't work for another year or so so if I can live that long with the boredom and lack of paycheck I guess we'll be good.

Thanks for listening and bless you all! Stay healthy and happy. Me...I'll be singing for Win.

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Carolyn. Glad you are home and starting to make those baby steps and as you say if you can live with the boredom and lack of finances then the year would be a good plan...I took a year and even now I realise I won't get back to levels previously but I have a different way of living now. Win gives the best advice and I find when things are hard I sing a little song and think 'win would get that' , bet a few of us do that. Keep going and welcome as one of the shunt gals!

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Hi Carolyn :) a very warm welcome to BTG !

Thank you for sharing your story. Great to read the information and posts on the Forum have helped you feel better. It is a very scary time.

I agree a year to recover would be a great plan! Take things really slowly.

Feel free to join in the banter and singing in The Green Room :) Stay healthy and happy too, bless you xx

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Hi Carolyn,


My 1st Fan  whoo hoo  I'll give it a week lol

I'll let you sing and I'll dance but only a few twirls as I cannot stand too

long and the dog jumps up at me.  Hope your son is doing well.

Remember No Stress !! just sing and smile as we made it !!

Be Well Carolyn your Numero uno fan xx

Win xxxx   Thanks Tina and Miss Daffs also xx

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So glad to hear from you all!  I've had kind of a rough week or two with my emotions and headache, etc.  But...I recognize it for what it is - healing - and am sure I'll feel better more often than not.  My son is doing well, thank you.  He is bipolar and is always into some mess or another.  But..he is a great young man inside.  


So funny - I caught myself dancing in the kitchen yesterday.  Don't think I've danced since sah.  It wasn't much but felt good.  


Win - it is already more than a week as I read posts here for several weeks before I posted my story.  Your posts always made me smile. I called my whole family in when you posted your note as they knew of you by then.  


Thank you all!  Take the best of care.  More later.  Carolyn

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You will get there Carolyn, we have to give it time. grrrrr  lol

I want to get my back sorted so I can walk further as hospital said I'd never walk  1) proved them wrong ..tick   

Now you keep happy and smile oh and keep singing.

Be well pal.

Win (Your singing partner)

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Hi Carolyn and welcome to BTG,

It made me laugh when you said we knew all about that crazy thinking thing!


I don't remember this but when I came round after being coiled, I apparently thought it was the same afternoon as the morning when I went in to hospital.  It wasn't, I had been there a week!  I told the nurse she was the most beautiful person I had ever seen.  Nothing wrong with that except my fiancee and my sister were sitting next to me at the time.  I thought it was 1956 (which would have made me less than one year old!) and that we were in a nearby well known clothing store and that someone called Diane was prime minister!  As for losing weight so did I for a while as I lost my appetite and I didn't recognise some foods so I wouldn't eat them.  Sound familiar?


Congratulate yourself - you are normal, your brain took a pounding but you came through it and you are still in the early stages of recovery!


Here's a song for you - 'All I need is a miracle' - Mike and the Mechanics (It's Mike Rutherford from Genesis).


You are recovering thanks to the miracles of science and technology, skilled surgeons and modern technology!  As I said to someone the other day on here - you just won the jackpot in the lottery of life!


Count your blessings and stay positive!  Good luck Carolyn and please keep us posted!




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Thank you Macca for your great response to my story!.....and the song (but don't tell Win about the song as she's my current song stylist..lol).  A lot of people are shocked at how well I came through the ruptured any, coiling and clipping.  Even my in-laws thought I was rolling around in a wheelchair.  The surgeon was delighted by the state of my brain.  I do count it a blessing and see it as one of those moments in life that kind of changes your direction and puts you on the road you are meant to be on. 


The last couple of weeks have been difficult because of sleeping problems, head pain, memory issues, weakness, fatigue, and maybe depression - but I am soldiering through.  This site helps quite a bit. I thank everybody for being here for me.  I never was a "social" person as far as sharing my feelings, etc. but, since the any was on right side I feel like the social Carolyn has awakened.  I email everybody!  lol  Now they'll wish the social Carolyn would go back to sleep.


Anyway, thank you very very much.  I have read a lot of your responses in my research and find you to be a bright, intelligent, caring and wonderful man.


Love, Carolynusa

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It is good to see you coming on so well Carolyn but you must rest also as we need to practice our Barber shop quartet  lol j/k  Not !!


Now keep smiling and be you, rest when you need to xx


Good to see you like this, you make me happy.


Keep going pal you are doing so well.

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Aw schucks Carolyn, I'm blushing now!  Just trying to help that's all!  I'm just me!  (I've been away on holiday so sorry for the late reply!)


Win sings all the time, she has a song for everything, but we love her just the same!


Those problems you list above - we all have them at times - just stay positive -over time they may well get better and we all learn to deal with them or live with them in our different ways.


Keep posting Carolyn and keep that social Carolyn awake - why should you let them sleep when you can't?! Ha ha!


Best wishes


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