kempse Posted January 16, 2010 Share Posted January 16, 2010 Having visited this site several time since discovering it about 3 weeks ago and reading, with interest, other peoples experiences, I thought it was time that I shared my own! My next plan is to make a donation to “behind the gray” which appears to be a very worthwhile site. It is my only regret that I didn’t find it earlier, as I know I would have found it invaluable at times during my own recovery. Firstly, I will apologise that this might be a bit lengthy, but like someone else on the site said, writing about it does get it off your chest and is therapeutic, so here goes….. My name is Sarah, I live in a village in the Derbyshire Peak District, I am married and have three children - two teenagers and a nine year old. My story starts on 8th November, 2008 which was a Saturday. I was 46 at that time. I had had a very busy and stressful week of which I will give you a quick insight as I am convinced that these events contributed to my blood pressure being raised and subsequently causing me to have a heamorrhage. Apart from the normal hectic family schedule of being a part time worker of two jobs, a mother, a wife and a taxi driver for my 3 kids, that particular week also included 3 parents’ evenings at two different schools, my daughter having a bad panic attack at school with a subsequent meeting with the headmaster and my eldest son nearly being arrested for not signing a statement that he had given to the police. The latter happened on 5th November - after giving the statement, which he had no idea he had to sign, he had left the house to rejoin his mates to go to a local bonfire, but rather than come back down stairs and past the two policemen he had left the house via his bedroom window! At this point one policeman said to the other “go and arrest him”, they then told me that they wouldn’t arrest him if I got to him first so off I ran, heart pounding, along with my 77 year old Dad in tow, who had just called by to drop my other son off from football training! I did manage to get to him before the police did, which I thought was quite impressive particularly as they were at an advantage coz they had radios and had already radioed colleagues at the bonfire to watch out for him, which I thought was a bit unfair! My son was never charged with anything so all that hassle and the stress it caused me was quite unnecessary. Also my stress levels had not been helped by the fact that I had just lost most of my savings which had been in shares in one of the big banks that nearly collapsed around that time – a bank that I have worked for since the late 1970’s! Still feeling uptight by the week’s events on the Saturday morning, I decided I really ought to try and relax a little; I went into the lounge to sit down at about midday. No sooner had I sat down and I got a sudden headache, which I remember thinking was a bit strange as it was round the back of my head. The pain was not too severe but I did nevertheless take a couple of paracetamol. Then, for some unknown reason, I felt I ought to go and tell my daughter about it -who, with my youngest son, were the only ones in the house at the time. My husband was at work and my other son had gone to a football match. When I got up the two flights of stairs to her bedroom I began to feel a bit odd and lay on her bed for a few minutes. I then got up and sat at her computer desk. At that point I could feel something awful was happening in my head and my peripheral vision was going. As my vision was getting narrower and narrower I thought any minute I'm going to pass out so I quickly said to my daughter, "If I pass out will you ring 999". The look on her face read "Do I have to??" which given that she was only 13 at the time and faced with this situation, was perhaps understandable? However, as I wasn’t sure that I could rely on her doing it, I quickly dialed 999 myself. I remember telling the operator that I thought I was having a stroke, although I really didn't have any idea what was happening - apart from I knew something serious was going on in my head. She told me not to jump to conclusions and to calm down, (easier said than done) Fortunately, I did not actually pass out and my vision soon came back to normal. The local Rapid Response unit was at my house within 2 minutes, and the ambulance was not far behind. The paramedic did all the usual checks, bp etc. but to my surprise he eventually left saying "Well I could take you to hospital but you've probably got better things to do on a Saturday afternoon"!! Quite what “better things” he thought I could be doing in this state was beyond me!! I did, however, put my trust in him and took his comments to mean that I must be ok. My husband arrived back from work shortly before the ambulance left and I then managed to get downstairs. I lay on the sofa which is where I virtually stayed for the next few days. The next day, Sunday, my son woke me from one of my many cat naps to tell me that we’d had burglars! His relatively new trials bike and his rather expensive mountain bike had both gone from the garden shed. Feeling as I did, this was not news I wanted to hear! (I’d already had the house burgled back in 2000 when I was 8 months pregnant) but this time I was in no fit state to do much about it, so my son reported it to the police and sorted it all out. Needless to say the motor bike wasn’t covered by the household insurance and no one has ever been caught. Anyway "The" headache had set in and on the Monday I got the Doctor round to my house in the hope that he would see there was something seriously wrong. Unfortunately he didn't. By the Wednesday, about 4.30 in the morning and not having slept all night because of the pain, I rang NHS Direct who basically told me to take less paracetamol. I remember thinking I wanted more painkillers not less!! On the Thursday, my Dad, who lives near by, drove me the 5 miles to the Doctor's surgery where I saw the same GP who had been to my house on the Monday. Surely he would refer me to hospital for investigation this time? I couldn’t move my head down to my chin which even I knew was not a good sign, in fact I was hardly able to move my head in any direction. Again he did several tests, reflexes etc., but again he sent me home saying that if I was no better by Monday, then I should go back and see him! The next day, Friday, my parents came round to see how I was (they had been checking on me regularly since it happened) and I broke down saying that I couldn't wait till Monday, the thought of trying to get through another weekend with this headache and no doctors surgery open, filled me with horror. Although, my Mum didn't say anything at the time, I think by now alarm bells were ringing with her because her father had died from a SAH about 20 years earlier. Likewise he was delayed in getting to hospital by misdiagnosis from two doctors. My parents left and I must have fallen asleep because at about 4pm my Dad returned saying that he had rung the Doctors and had asked that I see a specialist a.s.a.p. The Doctor then contacted the Hospital and luckily, there was a Neuro Clinic that afternoon so he arranged for me to attend. I asked my Dad what time we had to be there and he said “Now!” If I had known I would be staying in there for 11 days, I might have packed a bag!! Despite a long 5 hour wait at the clinic, I eventually saw a consultant, who sent me for a scan - this revealed that I had suffered a heamorrhage. I then had an angiogram which confirmed it to be a ruptured aneurysm. At this point I had never heard of an aneurysm but I do remember feeling relieved that at last someone had found the cause of that horrendous headache and that I wasn't inventing it! The panic set in when they told me that it needed coiling. Well not so much that, as the list of things they told me might happen whilst they did it! I now know that they have to tell you all the possible risks etc, but at the time I didn't. I just remember thinking how will my children cope if I don’t survive this and I haven’t even made a Will. I was bombarded with statistics of the chances of stroke/survival etc. which meant nothing much to me so I asked the surgeon bluntly, “Have you ever killed anyone off whilst doing it? When he replied “no” I felt a lot better!! Needless to say, the relief when I came round from the anesthetic was tremendous. I woke to a nurse saying "Sarah you're being very awkward" I was trying to get the mask off my face - I thought I was in a Cattle Market Auction!! Probably triggered by the sudden noise from a deep sleep? Luckily I recovered very quickly with no visible problems. I do however have another aneurysm up there but it is too small to operate on. On 14th October 09 I had some more coils put in the aneurysm that had ruptured. (This operation had already been cancelled twice – once on the morning I was due to go in - because they couldn’t find me a bed! The second time, I actually cancelled it myself, as it was right in the middle of my fortnight off work and no way did I want to spend my holiday in hospital! An angiogram in April had revealed that blood was still entering the aneurysm. Apparently they had not wanted to put too many coils in it during the first operation for fear of them coming back out into my artery/vein and causing me to have a stroke. (My arteries/veins at that time were badly in spasm and having seen a computer image of them following the heamorrhage, I'm surprised any blood could flow through at all!!) I have since read that the spasm usually occurs 5-7 days after the heamorrhage and can be devastating – another reason for me being annoyed I wasn’t sent to hospital sooner. This time I went into hospital on the Tuesday, operated on the Wednesday and out on the Friday. I had been very anxious and tearful in the days leading up to it, I didn’t think I would have been able to get to sleep the night before in the hospital but I did drop off at about 11pm, but an hour and a half later was woken by a Doctor to take blood etc in preparation for the op! It then took me ages to get back to sleep again! I was given something to relax me in the morning (by request) and hey presto, it was all over and what’s more I didn’t even have the usual enormous bruise round my groin!! My husband, parents and two eldest kids came to visit. (My youngest is apparently too young to visit on that ward). No sooner had they arrived than I threw up – not much of a welcome! The nurse who came to help, advised me that I was born on the same day as her!! I went for my follow up appointment on 11th Jan this year (a nice way to spend your birthday!!) –apparently they are pleased with the result of the recoiling. I am due for another scan in October – so that’s something to look forward to!! Somewhere along the line I took part in some research into cerebral aneurysms – I think it was quite a big study and is still ongoing so hopefully when it’s completed and analyzed, even more will be known about the subject. At least I felt that I had done my bit. The only side effect, apart from the usual tiredness/ memory/recalling words/emotional turmoil etc, that I have suffered from, since the SAH is that I get "flashing lights" from time to time (13 times since October’s operation). These apparently are like those experienced by people who suffer migraine, but as I have never had a migraine and even now, when I do get these zig-zag flashing lights, I do not suffer any headache, I do wonder what causes them. Anyway my Consultant, who has already referred me to an eye specialist, hasn’t yet been able to come up with an answer so I guess I will just have to live with it! I consider myself very fortunate to have come out of this as well as I have, luckily it has not stopped me from doing anything. The past 14 months have not been the easiest but looking back, I think I can be quite proud that I have managed to do and cope with what I have, whilst recovering from have a SAH – namely my husband loosing his job, (from May to October) decorating three bedrooms, the lounge, hall, stairs and landing, getting my daughter out of her school and into another one, on appeal, and back again coz she didn’t like it! Having to decide whether to apply for voluntary redundancy, which, two weeks after brain surgery is not the easiest thing to have to think about! My youngest son having a bad injury in football training in November and ending up in A&E (a broken nose which later needed operating on) and then, more recently my central heating packed up for 3 days during this cold spell!! Oh and the exhaust has gone on my car! Good job I walk to work!! I am therefore hoping that 2010 will be a good, or at least better year for both my self and all of you who use this site. Anyway, I think I have rambled on long enough so will end my story here! Sarah Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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