My SAH was just under eight weeks ago. It was a glorious sunny Sunday in the heat wave that we had been having and our magnificent ancient ash in the back garden spontaneously shedded one of its large boughs. Not one to be daunted by this I set out with a friend to prune all of the smaller branches off the bough so that it was ready to be cut up with a chain saw.
All was going well until an awkward overhead branch fell and caught me a glancing blow on my head, jolting my neck. A little surprised I carried on pruning. Two hours later whilst dragging the very heavy green bins up to the compost heap I started with a pain in my neck. This rapidly escalated and within a matter of a minute or so I realised that I had done something serious.
I downed tools and headed inside for an anti inflammatory and ice pack. Nothing touched the pain at the base of my skull and neck and by the time I was inside the house I was sweating profusely and starting to feel sick. My hubby was working on our boat and I rang and asked him to come home. By the time he arrived home I had started vomiting we made a decision to head to the local A&E.
I was fast tracked through A&E and an out of hours radiographer was called in. Two hours and a CT scan later and with a diagnosis of SAH I was ‘blue lighted’ to the local neurosurgical department an hour and a half’s drive away. Memory is a funny thing I can vividly remember thinking that this is possibly the only time in my life that I will be in an ambulance as an emergency and as the traffic on the M6 was so light at 3 in the morning we didn’t need the lights and sirens. I felt cheated!
I spent the next ten days in hospital. It took me a while to realise how serious my bleed was and how lucky I had been. The first few days are a complete blur. My memory of me at this time is a visual one and it is this tiny shrivelled amorphous mass on the hospital bed. My headaches were excruciating and the additional pain whenever I vomited was just grim. Better moments were the intrigue at the different workings of my brain.
Touch became pictorial and the movie screen of images whenever I closed my eyes was great entertainment. Low moments included a cranial nerve palsy and double vision and dare I mention the horrendous constipation with the pain meds! Several scans and an angiogram later the staff were no nearer to finding a cause to my bleed. I was discharged home into the capable hands of my hubby.
Bit by bit I am improving. I have been scouring the posts on this site and found great help and inspiration from them. I am following the charted path of fatigue and headaches which are worse when I do too much (no surprise there I hear you all mutter!) I sleep endlessly and horizontal has become my new normal. I drink water by the bucketload and find that it is medicinal.
My short term memory is a real issue at the moment. I rely on lists and then forget to look at them and miss things! Aphasia is producing some interesting moments with me asking my hubby to get the radiator out to make toast. Week by week I am doing more. We walk and rest and recently I have started to try and play the piano again. I wasn’t very good 40 years ago so don’t expect great things but I am enjoying sitting and trying to work out the music and the beats. I drove for the first time over the weekend. It felt so good to be able to do something ‘normal’ again.
It’s taking some adjustment to the fact that I look well and normal but inside my brain is injured and recovering. People look at me and expect me to be just as I was and don’t understand my limitations or that a slightly different me has emerged like a phoenix from the bleed. I am meditating daily and being so grateful for all that I have and so aware that it could have been so different. We are survivors and have been given a wake up call to choose how we look at life and how we live our lives. It’s a privileged position.
My short term goals are two fold. I need to get my blood pressure under control and it has been up and down like a yo-yo. I am working on this with the help of my GP. I also want to see the end of the intermittent nausea that I am experiencing. I don’t know whether this is a side effect of my blood pressure medication or a result of the SAH or both. If anyone has any thoughts or wisdom on this I would be really grateful. So far I am drawing a blank with this.
So I join the ranks of people who have been through a life altering experience and have come out the other end. I look forward to picking up the pieces of my life that I love and leaving the bits behind that I don’t. I can’t change the fact that I had a serious bleed but I can choose how I respond to it and I feel so grateful to be in that position. My thanks go to everyone whose posts have sustained and inspired me over the last few weeks and I look forward to meeting you through this site.