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Nick's Story - one lucky man by Nick the Greek


Hi all,

Having read a lot of the posts on this website, I have alternately been cheered and depressed as I've gone through them. In the hopes of adding to the "cheered" column, here is my experience.

19th December, sudden crackling sensation in my neck whilst out at dinner with friends. 5 minutes to see if it went, then 999, then to my local hospital. Their assessment needs a little work, they left me alone in a wheelchair for an hour, bleeding into my brain, although they couldn't have know that. After 5 hours, someone thought to get me a CT scan. I remember them saying they had found some blood in my brain and then - nothing. I woke up 18 hours later in Coventry hospital, having had a burst aneurysm, a sub arachnoid bleed and then a coiling procedure.

20th December - relief. Never mind the crossed eyes, double vision, headache and catheter - I'M ALIVE !!

21st December - Headache gets worse, I have an infection from the catheter and hydrocephalus (water on the brain).

22nd Headache worse, lumbar puncture number one. Pressure should be 10-12, it's 29

23rd, lumbar puncture number two, pressure 26

24th, no lumbar puncture, due to increased risk of infection etc.

25th, Oh god the headache, time for another lumbar puncture. Pressure 40!

26th. Headache easing

27th. Catheter out, and I con the night staff into thinking the day staff gave me permission to walk to the toilet for a number 2. Walk (stagger) over to the loo, with my bum showing (love those gowns). 2 and 1/2 hours of blessed relief. Headache still easing

28th Headache coming back, lumbar puncture 4. Pressure 17

29th Headache going.

30th Headache gone, also opthalmologist comes in and tells me my crossed eyes are the result of pressure on the brain. Cobblers of course, as I have no headache, but the only way to prove that is another lumbar puncture.

31st. I request another lumbar puncture, to prove that the hydrocephalus is gone and the opthalmologist is wrong. "No ones ever requested one before", says the consultant.

31st. Pressure is 13. Whoop whoop. 1 hour and 20 minutes later, I'm transferred to the general neurology ward, where I will stay for between 1 and 2 weeks.

2 days 23 hours later - Discharged !

Folks, the reason I'm sharing this is that I now understand, having had a heart attack 8 years ago, that your own attitude can make a difference. Not always, but the nurses in both cases confirmed my theory. I got out in 3 days by getting dressed, drinking every cup of tea offered, glugging down my 3 litres of water a day, sitting in the chair to eat meals and walking up and down the corridors so the docs and consultants saw me. I have transferred the same positive attitude to the post-hospital period and here's what's happened so far.

I live alone so asked my ex-wife and daughter to stay the first night, then just my daughter the second night. Cross-eyed, dizzy, absolutely knackered, with no interest in tv, reading or going outside the front door, I was very shaken by going home. That was 4 weeks ago. After 2 weeks, my eyes straightened out, I started walking outside. Last week, I played 5 holes of golf. Saturday, my consultant said that because I had had coiling and no seizures, I could start driving again. I didn't know how to tell him I had already tried twice, the second time driving my Porsche 911, 10 minutes before I sold it.

All the horror stories about people not being able to drive after an SAH are absolutely true. What isn't appreciated is that if you don't drive for 6 months, and your eyesight isn't 100%, and your confidence has taken a hell of a knock, then it's no wonder people are affected. So, without being patronising, get someone to take you to some private land and just drive the car for 1 minute. It WILL make you feel better. Get out of the house for a bit too, it's not helping you as much as you think.

We all know about those people who say "the glass is half full, not half empty". I could punch them too, haha.

For me, it's simpler: I either spend time saying "Why me? Oh God, I can't do this, this or this anymore" or say "I am one lucky *** to still be here, how can I get fitter, stronger, lighter (17 1/2 stone).

I still get completely knackered for hours at a time, I hate loud noises, can't take 2 conversations at once, or one conversation plus the telly, so I think I am the same as all of us. I set myself one job per day, if I can't do it first thing, I rest and do it later. If I can't do it later, I bump it till the next day.

I just want to share the joy of little steps (seeing straight) and big steps (driving!)

I wish you all a good recovery and if I've helped just one person feel a bit happier or more hopeful, mission accomplished.

Kind regards, Nick Metaxas

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