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Dave S - Grade 5 SAH


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I am not really sure where to start, it's funny I used to come on BTG everyday back in early 2012, then I eventually weaned myself off the site. No issues with the site or the content of the site just felt that for me to move on from the whole episode I needed to let go and get on with my life, so I did. I never registered just viewed stuff and took comfort from people 'brave' enough to share their experiences with a wider forum.

Why the sudden change? Not sure but this week I have had my second annual check up after suffering a grade 5 SAH in December 2011 and I think I am one of the lucky ones, hence I am writing this so someone reading this can hopefully derive some hope knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

December 2011 - I was 42, overweight but not obese, ate too much of the wrong stuff and drank too much alcohol. Was not at deaths door but got into bad habits over the years and these began to take their toll. At work I also was pretty forthright, I would tackle things head on, was not afraid of confrontation and would not back down in an argument.

When I was younger and things started getting heated or the pressure was on I would get a buzz out from that and work that little bit harder, push myself that little bit more. All the time I delivered and worked well producing quality work. Through what I now see as a lack of maturity I continued in this manner through my 20s, 30s into my 40s.

When you're younger the stresses are less, there is less responsibility etc etc. The older you get the more responsibility and are more accountable. Therefore the pressure is more severe than previously encountered, pressure = stress, this as we all know takes it toll on you.

December 2011 - Work had been stressful but it was the night of the Xmas party. I decided to drive in as I had been suffering with a sore neck for most of the week and was not really feeling like going out and having a few drinks. If it all went ok and the neck pain eased I could leave the car at work - no worries.

The day went by as normal apart from the sore neck and at the end of the day I was in a weekly meeting where I lost my temper (which was out of character in this particular forum) with my project manager. At the end of the day I dipped out of the Xmas party and went home where I had dinner with my family and sat down to play on the Wii with the kids.

From memory I was happily playing along/sitting there when all of a sudden something happened, to this day I cannot remember the exact details but from what I recall I stood up and then I think I fell down. I have no recollection of any pain, the worst headache ever or anything like that. I do recall my wife talking to me asking me if I was ok and my girls crying and asking about Daddy. Laterly recall some guy talking to me, not sure what or who, assume that it was the paramedic who got to the house before the ambulance.

That's it on the memory front, I am told by my wife that ambulance arrived, I was taken out to ambulance and the ambulance just stayed outside the house for about 30 minutes, after which time someone came to the door and informed my wife that they'd just got me stable and are taking me to Epsom not St George's. No idea what went on in the ambulance but I don't think it was good. Anyway as it happens I must have rallied as my wife later got a call saying that I was in St George's in Tooting.

In there that night I had an EVD and was coiled the day after. Came out and was in ICU for a few days, wife says that she was at the time quite positive as although ill I was in a better state than a lot of the other people in ICU. According to my wife the care was incredible, the nurses are magnificent, incredibly skilled and knowledgeable about what they do in ICU.

After a few days I was released to the neuro ward where I stayed for a couple of weeks. Apparently I was talking gibberish a lot of the time, didn't really know where I was, what was going on and what had happened, all typical complaints I believe. I apparently also kept complaining about my eyesight but as the rest of my communication was gibberish it passed my wife and the nurses by. Towards the end of my stay I got some clarity back and informed my wife that I couldn't in fact see through one of my eyes and we found out that I'd suffered Terson's syndrome. Anyway spent Xmas and New Year in hospital and was released in early 2012.

On getting home spent a lot of time initially asleep. This is where my memory of things comes back, post event Dec/Early Jan I still can't remember stuff but have just let it go, thought with time it might come back but can't see that happening.

Jan 2012 - kids went back to school/pre-school and one morning my wife suggested going for a walk. It had snowed and there were some nice places to have a walk and a chat close to home. First walk I commented on how heavy my boots were and how the muscles on the front of my shins was hurting, I think this made my wife realise just how weak I was after my stay in hospital. After that we did a lot of walking (and a lot of talking) in the coming weeks which helped get my strength back gradually.

After about 10-11 weeks post-SAH I talked about going back to work, I work freelance so not working = not earning. I think if I'd have been on sick pay then I would not have thought about going back. Anyway I had a reasonable employer and they took me back initially 3 days a week, which was very difficult. Most difficult part of it all was the poor vision due to the Terson's syndrome, being amongst people and working the brain all helped me get better.

Carried on working 3 days a week for a couple of months, realised how bad I was when we went away for the Easter holiday and was completely thrown by the change to me surroundings and routine. It was particularly hard for my wife dealing with all of the stress associated with taking us all away and looking after us all. But going back to work had some real positive side effects. The brain was starting to function again, I was slowly getting some of the function back all though hindered with terrible eyesight.

Then in the August of 2012 I had a vitrectomy and my world changed. Almost from the moment I took the bandages off and started to see again was a massive step in my recovery, maybe the final step. At least now I could see and there was not the reminder that my head had "gone pop" 24/7, it also gave me a confidence that I had been lacking.

Around this time I had the opportunity to interview for a job that I had been trying for all of my career. I had come close on occasion to getting this kind of role but had never been successful in the near 20 years I had been in my industry. It was/is the acknowledged pinnacle (and the best paying), so I thought long and hard about it and decided to go for it.

At the end of the day if I didn't get it so what, nearest I had come before had been 2009. Anyway I was offered the job and accepted, it would help fill the void in my earnings from the 12 week period I was out. As it happens that contract has come to an end and I am now on another new contract, that one went well, it was hard work but I came on so much by pushing myself everyday. During the year there I applied myself like I have never done before.

Other notable dates were November 2012 when I got my driving licence back, the freedom to drive again was fantastic.

And here I am a year on, annual MRI complete and going to the consultant for my post-MRI check up. Went to St George's and was pleasantly surprised to see that it was the consultant himself this year that I was going to see, for one reason and another I did not see him at any of my previous appointments. We went to his office where he explained that the MRI results were good, in fact they were better than good. The torn artery had repaired itself so much so that the coil was no longer steming the blood flow the artery wall itself was doing that. Therefore I was being discharged as there was nothing to monitored!!

All in all an amazing turn of events in under 2 years.

I couldn't have done it without my wife and family. Just having the kids around gives you a reason to get better they are the reason you want to be here as they need you to be their Daddy and be strong for them.

My wife, where do I start? I cannot put into words what an amazing lady she is, I am convinced that I would not be here typing this if it were not for her. Strong, supportive, caring and loving all in equal measure, she has constantly pushed me to do better, to get better. Not an overwhelming pressure just a gentle hand on the back, support so that when you stop and feel like taking a step back the hand is there to hold you in place, make sure you don't go backwards and guide you forward, giving you the courage to do so and allowing you to be best person that you can be.

Completely selfless and an amazing caring job, I was blessed to survive and I was equally blessed to have married and share my life with her. Having her there to help me get better - words can't explain what that means to me.

I know that I have been lucky to have my wife looking after me and guiding me forward but looking back there are a few things that I have done that I think have contributed to getting better.

Acceptance - for me this was a big one. So you've had a SAH, you've survived don't make that survival worth nothing. You've got a second chance, embrace it and make the most of it.

Never get down - easy to say, easy to write, not easy to do. Remain positive at all times, look at the odds of survival that's a positive (sometimes the only one) so don't waste the 2nd opportunity you have. There are people worse off than you, yes really there are. There are people who died from this you didn't and there is a reason for that, don't waste the 2nd opportunity that you've been given.

Go with it - the medical people (in my experience) know what they are doing, trust them and go with them they know their stuff and will do all they can to get you better.

Stay positive - yes it's rubbish that it happened, it's not fair, why me, etc etc but there is a positive that you're here, make the most of it. You could have died - you didn't.

Thanks for all the stories and posts, although I didn't contribute they really did help me, especially in the early days. Good luck to you all.

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