I had my SAH in September 2011. I had a thunderclap" headache beforehand, then lost my speech and had a very severe headache the next day, which was incorrectly diagnosed as a migraine. Four days later the severe headache returned and I became unconscious. My husband called the ambulance, and I remained unconscious for most of the next 2-3 weeks. When I came around, it took me a long time to piece together what had happened.
It turns out that I had 4 surgical procedures, and several CT scans, while I was unconscious. These procedures included a drain to my brain, a coiling, AVM and stroke procedure, a craniectomy and laminectomy, and a tracheotomy. Then the bleeding stopped.
After I regained consciousness I was sent to a rehabilitation hospital for a further 6 weeks. It turns out I had had an intercerebellar haemorrhage, secondary to a rupture of posterior right-sided aneurysm. I presented to rehab with double vision, ataxia and dysphagia. In fact, fortunately my mind pretty much remained intact, after series of terrible dreams where I could not remember things! I could still see, and think, and move my legs, but I couldn't really do anything - read, email, phone text messages, writing were beyond me. I later joked that my mind was the only part of me not affected by this illness.
After 6-7 weeks of rehab I was sent home with lots of aids - walker, shower stool etc, one eye patched, and my speech kind-of working again but needing lots more work. I could write very untidily.
I thought that once I got home, everything would be all right again, but of course this was far from the truth. It was 6 months before I could move independently, 3 months before I stopped vomiting every couple of days.
I really wanted to get back into all my former activities, and be a good wife and mother, but this was not to be! It has taken, and still takes, me a very long time to regain former functionality. An electronic reader has been a great help.
Now almost 18 months on my vision is much improved. I have some residual double vision, my speech needs improvement, and I still have "balance issues", and fatigue. But I am much better than I was. It is very hard not to be impatient about the pace of recovery, but everything is heading in the right direction. I still don't drive, but I hope to drive again soon.
This has of course had a profound effect on my husband and children. I am still coming to terms with what has happened. I am not someone who used to get ill, in fact I worked at being fit and healthy. I guess this has stood me in good stead! We learn so much about preventing illness, but I never saw this coming! I am alive, and greatly thankful for this, and I guess eventually this illness will become part of the fabric of my/our lives, but I desperately long for recovery!
This website and others have been very helpful, and I realise that I am not alone, and that the difficulty in sleeping, and the headaches, and the "emotional lability" are all par for the course. Wonderful people who have experienced brain illness have been very encouraging about my recovery. I do appreciate that. I am thankful for what I have, and how far I have come, and I pray that the healing continues.
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