Dave W Posted December 27, 2022 Share Posted December 27, 2022 Hi everyone, First of all, let me say how fantastic it was to find this forum and how grateful I am to everyone who has shared their experiences here. It has given me some basic knowledge of my condition and some hope for the future. My story: I am a 60 yr old male who lives in the west of England with my wife and 2 of our 4 children. I am an active outdoors kind of fellow with many physical past times that keep me fit and (up till now!) healthy. I'd had a busy week with some heavy lifting in amongst the usual range of weekly activities. But on the Saturday (17th Dec) I'd had a relatively quiet day, so nothing that jumps out as the cause for a classic Thunderclap headache (as I now know it is named) which hit me at 7pm in the evening. I'd never experienced a '10' on the 1-10 pain scale but this had me moaning involuntarily and within a few minutes, when it didn't subside, I knew something was badly wrong. We tried the health services (111 and 999) but there was a long wait just to get an answer and we were told it would take several hours to get an ambulance to me. So we set off to the local A&E department with my wife driving. Then the vomiting started... Casualty was not a pleasant experience as they were so overloaded. At some point in the evening they put a cannular in my arm and the intravenous paracetamol gave me some relief, and at some point the vomiting stopped, but it was a very long and uncomfortable night... After about 7 hours wait a duty paramedic came and saw me and made a quick, accurate and effective assessment. He sent me straight for a CT scan and then, having reviewed that, straight off for another one with dye in my veins, all the while consulting with the neurosurgery consultants based in Bristol. It was confirmed that I had suffered a brain bleed and they decided to transfer me to Bristol for further diagnosis. After another 12 hours or so, an ambulance became available and I was transferred to the neurological ward at Bristol Southmead hospital. From there on, things were very efficient: I was sent for two more CT scans straight away (as their scanner would give them more detailed views of the bleed) and by the following morning the consultants had reviewed the findings and were leaning towards it being a PMNASAH type of bleed. They confirmed that they would look at it very thoroughly and if there was any doubt I would be sent for a follow up angiogram. Their protocol is that only if 2 Consultants agreed on the diagnosis would the angiogram be cancelled. And apparently they look at the scans in the radiology department because they have the biggest screens with the best resolution! They came by early in the afternoon and confirmed that I had had a PMNASAH and as such there was no follow up surgery required or any further specialist treatment so I could be discharged later in the day. All very positive and straightforward (medically). Alongside that, I was (and am) still suffering from blinding headaches. They transitioned me off the (lovely!) intravenous paracetamol onto Oramorph... which I did not get along with, and codeine... likewise: problematic. I found both of these drugs made me feel hot and 'livened up' my brain... neither of which helped with the headaches. So, I was just establishing a regime of oral paracetamol when they sent me home. All our children had rallied round so I was taken home and cossetted but pain relief continued to be a problem. Paracetamol wore off after 4 hours and with only 4 doses every 24 hours I ended up in a lot of discomfort a lot of the time. I'd say that pain levels from the headache were in the 7 to 8 range when not treated with pain relief and around the 3 to 5 level when the paracetamol was working. I struggled through a couple of days but then had a very bad night... something needed to change. A call back in to the neurology ward was unhelpful and, in the run up to Christmas, another trip to casualty was not really an option. Fortunately, the nurse who discharged me had mentioned that Paramol sometimes worked for people who don't get on with codeine. (This is not a recommendation or a medical opinion... I'm just sharing what has worked for me so far!) I started taking Paramol and this helped relax my brain a bit (I found I could finally stop ****** thinking!) and things became more controllable. The other surprising learning for me was not to take the full dose of 2 tablets every 4 hours: I'm a large chap (6ft 2in and around 100kg), so when medicines say to take 1 or 2 tablets, I will always go with the 2 tablet option. But that left me with 4 x 2 hour gaps each day, which were pretty unbearable. So I moved to taking 1 tablet every 4 hours, only doubling up once or twice a day if I became really uncomfortable. What I have discovered is that (for me, for this particular condition, at the moment) 1 tablet is so much more effective than one might expect from a 'half dose'. So I've settled into an ok regime that took me through Christmas with my very understanding and compassionate family. Pain is managed at a level of 3 to 5, I'm getting some rest and when not resting, doing nothing more strenuous than watching telly. Typing this message is a new 'high' in terms of exertion levels at the moment! My neck is still very tender at the top, around the base of the skull. I've had shooting pains in my legs which (from this forum) I'm putting down to sciatica, possibly blood draining into the nervous system (I originally thought it was pressure pains from sitting around so much but it really doesn't feel muscular or like atrophied tendons... its sharper and odder than that). For a few nights I resorted to sleeping upright because any sort of pillow or cushion touching my neck or my head just made the headache worse. But hopefully that is past now... sleeping upright is an art I really have not mastered: getting the support in the right places is so difficult! Are my sore neck and continued headaches normal? I'm hoping those symptoms will subside in a week or two. Or 3 or 4? One consultant said I'd have sore head for a few weeks. The other (more accurate perhaps?) said I'd be out of action for 6 to 8 weeks. But both said I should make a full recovery, did not need to change my lifestyle and was at no greater risk of a recurrence than anyone else in the population having it. I'm currently finding that hard to believe and will be happy and eternally grateful to get back to even some of the activities I enjoy so much. But I'm in no rush. I've delayed all plans for an initial 3 months and will reassess that as time goes by. Another thing this forum pointed out was that I must notify DVLA and cannot drive again until I am cleared to do so. This was not mentioned in the hospital and would not have occurred to me on my own (I had no blackout, loss of consciousness, no altered vision etc). However the DVLA website is very clear on the matter and I think it's perfectly reasonable. So there's another task... form B1. Perhaps for tomorrow... As commented by others on the forum, the lack of information or guidance from the hospital about how to manage ones recovery is very disappointing. This forum is a godsend and in my more wakeful hours I shall be trawling for more shared experiences, tips and suggestions. Thank you all so much. I hope this has been useful. Best wishes, Dave 6 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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