The last memory I had was NEW YEARS EVE 2000, seeing in the new year at my home, with friends and family. The next thing I knew, I had woken up in hospital and my husband was telling me I had suffered a Brain Haemorrhage.
All what I am going to tell you, has been told to me by my husband, (my soul mate) as I have no memory of it at all. The day was the 16th January 2001 and I had got up in the morning as usual and got my children ready for school. They were then aged 11 and 14. I had made the beds, put the washing on, done the breakfast, washing up and then sat down and ate my breakfast ( I know this because my breakfast things were still in the living room when my husband found me). My husband returned home at his usual time, 2.30pm, as I started work at 3.00 at the supermarket in the village Gordon (my husband) used to drop me off there.
He knocked on the door several times but there was no answer, he never used to take a key, as I was always at home... he looked through the windows, but could not see me.
He now started to get a little worried, so he ran to the phone box at the top of our road, but of course did not get an answer. On his return he knocked again (well not really knocked by now he was really worried it was more like banging on the front door) he looked again through the window into the living room and I was then standing looking not at him, not really at anything .....He started shouting at me to answer the door, but I just walked out of the room.
Now my husband was very worried, as he said that what was looking out of the window was not me..... so he knew that something was seriously wrong. He went to our back garden and smashed the bottom piece of our back door out and crawled through. As soon as he got in, the smell of sick was revolting, he walked into the living room and could see that I had been sick everywhere. He then rushed upstairs to see me under the duvet in bed. He was asking me what was wrong and I was just holding the back of my head making the most awful sounds.
He went downstairs and called our doctors and when the receptionist answered the phone she asked if it was urgent, he said I don’t know you tell me I have just come home from work and found my wife collapsed and sick everywhere. (The receptionists at our doctors can be very rude sometimes) The doctor came straight out and he tried to ring our home number on his way but because we had recently moved and changed our phone number he could not get through, so he called a ambulance straight away. Which was a very good idea. When they all arrived at the house, I was very unco-operative and the only person I would take any notice of or listen to was Gordon. I even went into the bathroom and started to try to eat my eczema cream OH MY GOD. They finally managed to do most of their checks and wanted to sit me in the chair to take me to the ambulance, which I would not do and ended up walking down the stairs with one paramedic in front of me and Gordon behind me, I cannot believe that I have no memory of any of this, but I could walk down the stairs.
What was quite funny, was that when we were halfway down the stairs, my phone rang and Gordon said to our doctor, you will have to answer that. It was my work, because by now it was 3.30 and I should have been there half an hour ago. He just told them that I would not be in, as I was on my way to hospital. The really horrible thing was that as my son Ashley turned the corner into the road, he saw the ambulance pull off.
Gordon had to come with me to try and calm me down, so a neighbour was waiting for my son. When my daughter Leah was on her way home from school, she called into see me at work and was greeted with OH MY GOD LEAH, IS YOUR MUM OK? When I think about what they all had to go through I feel sick in my stomach.
My father-in-law had to come and bring my children to the hospital. The other thing is, is that when they both came into the house, they saw all the sick over the floor. When we arrived at Hillingdon Hospital, they told Gordon that it was either Meningitis or a Brain Haemorrhage. I went for a CT scan and that is when they knew that it was a SAH. By this time, they had sedated me to calm me down, the doctor then went and told my husband, children and quite a few of my family what had occurred.
Gordon was so concerned, and he asked if there was any chance I could die. The doctor replied yes OH MY GOD. They explained that they had to get me to another hospital - either Charing Cross or the Southampton Hospital as they could not treat my condition there. They phoned Charing Cross, who said that they did not have any beds and then explained to my husband that I would not make the journey to Southampton. It was only when my head started to swell, that all of a sudden Charing Cross had a bed available.
As soon as we arrived at the hospital, I was taken into surgery to have a drain put into my head in order to drain off all the blood. I was then taken to the ICU. Gordon said that when he saw the surgeon before the operation, he looked as though there was no chance at all of saving me. However, the relief on his face afterwards was very optimistic. That night must have been a NIGHT FROM HELL for everybody. The next day, I was taken into the High Dependency Unit. This is where I spent the next four weeks. They told Gordon that they could not operate on me for the next two weeks as it would be too dangerous. They needed the blood to drain away before they could do anything.
The next two weeks are just a blur to me; I can only remember the odd few things. I can remember Gordon telling me on several occasions what had happened to me, and also the nurses asking me (god knows how many times) my name, what month we were in and what hospital I was in. It was the hospital part that I could never remember. They asked me one time how many children I had, to which I replied 10. I can also remember that I had a lot of people come to visit me when I was on this ward, but I cannot remember what I talked about or what they said to me. I also slept a lot. Gordon told me that I used to have this tablet, he called it the ‘Horse Tablet’ and every time I had taken it, I would start talking gibberish and would then fall asleep.
The day soon came around for the operation; 31st January 2001. Gordon and my best friend Sue were allowed to see me before I went down for the op. They both stayed at the hospital for the whole day. I think I was down in surgery and recovery for about eight hours. They could not decide before the op, if they were going to clip or coil but then decided that the coil would be no good. The operation had gone very well. Gordon and Sue were finally allowed to see me, I must have looked horrific.
The next two weeks I have no memory of at all. Gordon even stopped anyone coming up to see me as I was not well at all. It was just Gordon, Leah and Ashley and my Mum and Dad that came up. It turned out that I had contracted MRSA, and I have now have got a dip in the top of my head where they had to take the infection away from where the drain was. Then I was having trouble with the fluid draining, so they were now talking about having to put a shunt in. This is when I think Gordon got very angry and said that there was no way I could go through another operation. Then like a miracle, the fluid started to drain, THANKGOD.
Then I have got a few memories. I can remember one really horrid dream that the night nurses were going to kill everybody in the room. When they took my catheter out, which I had in for four weeks, I had no control over myself at all and had to have the sheets and myself changed quite a few times. The only other bad memory was when I had the drain taken out. OH MY GOD pain or what, but I suppose if I had any memory of the SAH, that pain would have been nothing.
The first day that I got out of bed after four weeks, they put me in a chair, the nurses knew that they were going to do it that day, but never told Gordon .... the joy on his face when he walked into the High Dependency Ward I shall never ever forget!
I was moved out of this ward into a normal ward on the Tuesday night. My memories of this room are very limited as well; the one thing I can remember is a few of the people that were in the hospital with me. One, especially a Chinese girl, very young in her early twenties and she had a blood clot. I think about her all the time and wonder how she is now; every Chinese girl I see now, I think it is her.
I was allowed home on the Sunday but only if I had 24 hour care, so Gordon had two weeks off. My mum had me for a week and my mother-in-law also looked after me for a week. Seven years have gone past now. I still have bad days and get very tired but the main thing, is that I am still here with my WONDERFUL husband and beautiful children who mean everything to me and have all helped me so much to cope and try to carry on after this awful episode in our lives.
There are a few other times and people I would like to mention. My first trip downstairs in the hospital, in a wheelchair, I saw my best friend’s boyfriend, Paul (now husband) walk through the doors. The look on his face is something I will never forget to actually see me out of bed. The day I walked out of hospital with my Dad holding me, whilst Gordon went to get the car, he said to me, OH SARAH I NEVER THOUGHT THAT WE WOULD SEE THIS DAY. You could just hear the relief in his voice. My best friend SUE, who means the world to me and who has helped and supported my husband and children all through this time, is still always here for us now. All of my other family and friends have given us so much during this time. Also, all of the doctors and nurses especially MR O’NEIL. To me, everybody else went through so much at this time. To me, I was just having a sleeping holiday.
And lastly, I cannot thank these three people enough. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH, they are MY WORLD and there are no words in the English dictionary to explain how I feel about them all.
GORDON, LEAH AND ASHLEY.