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HelenM's Story


My SAH happened very recently, on the 22nd August 2009. There was hardly any warning at all and I didn't suffer many of the symptoms other people have described.

The day started normally, I felt absolutely fine. I took my nine year old daughter into town in the morning to get new school uniform and we had a very nice girly time. We went for lunch and then made our way home. We had been invited to a BBQ later that afternoon and when I got back my husband asked whether I had remembered to get him some gluten-free burgers and sausages. I had forgotten, so we decided that I would nip to Sainsburys whilst he showered. Still felt fine and had no indication of what was about to happen.

On the way driving back to the village the ends of three of my fingers on my left hand went numb. I thought it was a bit odd, but because it only lasted a few seconds I didn't think any more about it. As I pulled onto the drive about 10 minutes later my whole hand went numb and I had pins and needles spreading up my left arm, with an incredible amount of heat, together with a lot of excessive saliva in my mouth. I realised something was very wrong and managed to get indoors and call my husband. By then the sensations had gone again. He told me to sit down for a while and he would make a cup of tea and call the doctor. However, as he came back in from the kitchen, the horrible sensations had come back and he could see the left side of my face had dropped and I was slurring my speech. He called an ambulance and ran to get our neighbour.

In the minute or so that it took for them to get back I had become unconcious and was slumped in the chair. They pulled me onto the rug and put me in the recovery position. It was whilst they were waiting for the ambulance that I had my first fit.

I had a second fit on the way to the local hospital and a third fit whilst I was in A&E. The local hospital decided to induce 'coma' and put me on life-support and I was then transferred to the regional unit at the John Radcliffe. I spent time in ICU and then another 18 days on a neuro ward. When I woke up in ICU I had no speech problems, no headaches, no weakness etc.I had a whole gamit of tests, CT,MRI, bloods and an angiogram. They confirmed a bleed but they all came back negative for any cause.

It is odd that nothing was found and I am finding it really difficult to come to terms with what happened. I am left with very few problems, short term memory is a bit patchy, I have the concentration span of a goldfish and my left arm gets shaky if I have overdone things. I get very tired and have to sleep most afternoons, but overall not too much to worry about - it could have been so much worse.

I know I am one of the lucky ones and I thank God for that every day.

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