Like most people who've had a sub-arachnoid haemorrhage, the first I knew there was anything wrong was when I had 'the worst headache of my life' in September 2006. I also had a really painful neck and moving my head was pretty much impossible. Hmm, thought I, I've badly pulled a muscle......So, staying in bed with a bag of frozen peas for company, I drifted in and out of sleep, or so I thought, but for for sleep read consciousness.
However, starting to feel a bit better after a couple of days I got up and pottered around and all was fine apart from feeling ever so slightly 'removed'. A day later I got an even worse headache of my life and don't remember too much more for a few days. Initially taken to to the local A&E where I understand I spent a day in a corridor, I was eventually moved to Stoke where Mr 'Magic' Brydon clipped an aneurysm using his newly invented keyhole technique. He also found a second aneurysm about which I'd have to make a decision in the not-so-distant future.
It's a strange feeling, waking up from God knows where, to find your entire family around you whilst you're lying in a very comfortable bed listening to I Don't Feel Like Dancing (too right!) playing in the background. It was quite some time before I could take in what had actually happened, just going with the flow of hospital life.
Coming home was difficult, sitting in the back seat of my partner's car and flinching every time a car passed us. As we had to drive along the M6 there was a lot of flinching going on! Recovering from the surgery was hard as I really couldn't accept what had happened - it took three years before I came even close to that, the psychological bit is the hardest.
I made the decision to have the second aneurysm clipped a year later, same procedure, same Mr 'Magic' Brydon. The three times the operation was cancelled was cruel to say the least but eventually, on 30th October 2007, it was done. Was it a good decision? In some ways I don't know. It has changed my life in more ways than I could imagine as my partner left a year later feeling, amongst other SAH-related stuff, that the second op had affected my personality. I do know, though, that I couldn't have walked around with that time bomb in my head. Yes, it was difficult recovering and I'm sure I changed a lot, but now I feel pretty much normal again and life has certainly been put into perspective. I'm back to working full time and enjoying life as I know I'm lucky to still have it. My ex and I are still the best of friends, I couldn't have got this far without them, and I have an amazing family and friends, many of whom I met here, who have been with me all the way. My memory is pants, tiredness is always just around the corner but, hey, life's good!
And just who the chuff is Brian Pills? Well, fellow SAHers, you know those little pink tablets we had to take religiously after the SAH, the ones to prevent AVM? I'd put a 4-hourly brain pills alarm on my mobile. 2am one morning, pink pill time, the alarm went off and my partner, still half asleep, said, 'who the chuff is this Brian Pills that keeps texting you???'