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Hazel's SAH story


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Let me thank you all for a forum which I have just discovered but has made me feel a lot better to read stories so close to my own experience.

On January 23rd 2011 I suuffered a SAH whilst at work.

It came on as a headache at the back of my head which suddenly became the worst pain in my head that can only be described as my head was about to explode.

My husband works with me part time so I told him to call an ambulance, being a person who has to be forced to go to the doctor my husband new there was something serious and called them straight away.

I had passed out at that point and according to my husband as he was told by the emergency services what to do I had stopped breathing, he kept shouting my name and I could here him as if he was a long distace off, he said I took a long deep breath and then I came too.

When the ambulance arrived they tried to talk to me and get details, At that point I was sick.

I was walked to the ambulance and taken to A&E at Tameside hospital and given Paracetamol for the pain.

I was then left for 4.5 hours before being sent for a scan.

My husband was then told to get all next of kin to the hopital as I would probably die as I had suffered a big stroke.

At that point my husband passed out of shock.

I was transferd to Hope hopital (Salford Royal) where I recieved te best treatment you could get in the world.

I had a coiling the following day and was out of there after 10 days.

On the 9th of March I had to go for a check up and my specialist was suprised how well I looked.

Being one who like to keep active I asked about going back to work which he said I could but part time.

This is where my problem starts.

I am the stewardess of a social club and eveyone tells me to take it easy and not do to much.

My husband has been covering my shifts as well as working a further 8 hours a day at his full time job.

This is why I feel the need to get back to full time work.

Everyone at work has been very supportive to me.

I get tired quickly but also get bored eailsy and feel like I should be doing more.

This has stared to depress me and I am feeling low and have found that people are annoying me by starting to tell me not to do to much to quick after such an operation .

I know they are probably right but I am not the type of person who sits back and feels sorry for myself.

Sorry for the length of this story but has anybody else gone through the same feelings and how do I cope with this.

I can't wait to get back to full time work.

Thank you for your time to read my story and any advice you can offer me

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Hi hazel & welcome to BTG

It is very hard to come to terms with an SAH & I understand your need to be busy but you have to see the tiredness as your brains way of telling you it's working too hard. If you had any operation on a limb you would rest it as required to heal properly but with your brain because it's hidden & functioning ok we neglect it.

The only way to get your brain to heal it to rest it as much as possible & allow it to recover from what has been a huge shock to it. In the articles tab on the home page is a passage called,'letter from your brain' & I think it would help you to read it.

We all try to do too much in the early days & truth of it is if you overdo it too soon you actually set back your recovery. Listen to your body, drink lots of fluids & take it easy are words that used to make me scream but when I did all those things I felt & got better quicker!!

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Hi Hazel,

Welcome to the forum. I too got quite depressed a few months into recovery. I was shocked by it and knew I had to get help quickly. My doctor prescribed an anti depressant for me. I was quite concerned about having to be on such things, but they really worked wonders for me and I am now off them completely again. Gill has said it all really. Give yourself plenty of time to recover at a consistent rate. Doing too much too soon can be derogatory. This site is great when you need support and reassurance. Hope you will join us again and keep us updated with your progress.

Take care,

Sally x

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Welcome Hazel!

I had a hard time in the beginning with not working and just taking time to rest and recover. Ive worked since I was 15 years old and I was 46 when by brain exploded. Sitting quietly was not something I was comfortable with. I also had monumental feelings of guilt over not being at work.

I wasn't doing any good for anyone though. I was ignoring my symptoms and I wasn't being a good role model for my team of 20. I was emotional and snapping at people, I was near tears most of the time. My boss would phone me and I would use all my energy to hold back tears. This was all a result of extreme fatigue and not letting myself rest. The symptoms I was trying to ignore developed because I wasn't resting and recovering, double vision, dizziness, inabilty to focus, inability to follow complex conversations and ideas. Normally when I'm well I'm the positive and happy one at work. I'm a manager who is somewhat like a cheerleader, I motivate and keep my team enthusiastic and excited about work. I love my job!

People here at BTG and a counsellor and an occupational health advisor helped me understand that I was ill and needed to take some time to heal. I started to write down my symptoms daily so I would pay attention. By doing this I was able to accept that I'm ill which helped to remove the guilt. It also helps to see the recovery as we get better. I learned that by sitting in the quiet I could refuel my energy tank which had become so depleted.

You will find your way Hazel. But please, don't push yourself too hard and please give yourself the respect that you would give someone else who had a life-threatening event. This is an opportunity for you to care for yourself.

Sandi K. Xo

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Hi Hazel

I can only echo what everyone else has said.

Depression is also a side affect of the SAH. You've been through a huge ordeal and the only way to get through it is to rest. Don't push yourself too hard otherwise you could end up putting your recovery back by months. Take it easy and listen to others and, more importantly, listen to your body. Plenty of fluids will help but your brain needs to rest and sleep is usually the best way for this.

Take care of yourself hun and don't rush back into things - normality will resume at some point.

My favourite piece of advise "Its a long road to recovery but you're allowed to make as many pits stops along the way as you need to."

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Hi Hazel,

Just try not to worry too much ....easier said than done!!.....Think of your fave song and sing

it all the way through....keeps the memory working ...plus it gives those around you headache also lol

All will be well so just keep your chin up....and give your partner a great big smile.

Life is for living so let us be happy and do not let us get down ...after all we are still here....

Be Happy Hazel ...thats an order lol



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Hi Hazel,

I rushed back to work very early in recovery. I'm a single mum & have worked all my life so staying at home wasn't a comfortable option. Looking back, I can see it was just too soon & I came home exhausted, snappy & rubbish at trying to cook tea, help with homework & walk the dog. It was easier to be annoyed at all the demands being placed on me than to accept that I was ill & still recovering.

All the above advice is great, especially Sandi about noting down how you feel so you can see patterns when you have overdone things.

Best wishes with your recovery.


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Hiya Hazel and welcome to the site,

I to rushed back to work to early at 9weeks, this only knocked me back in my recovery , i felt worse than when i came out of hosptial !! Now 11months on i'm back to work and doimg alot better, still get exhasted but can handle it better now.You and your family only suffer if you go back to early and push yourself to hard. My husband and four kids did'nt know what to do with me. I to suffer with depression and have learnt to cope with it, i'm in couselling and find this a big help. I think it is part of recovery and expecting what has happened to us and our family.

Don't be to hard on yourself ( my husband and kids would be laughing their heads off if they read that advice, as i am hard on myself) but it gets you nowhere. Remember your not alone we are all here to help you through:-D

Take care Rhiann xxxx

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Hi Hazel,

Welcome to BTG, it really is a wonderful place to find the answers & support. I can only re-iterate what is being said, keep hydrated (really does keep away the headaches) and listen to your body. If you feel tired, rest. It doesn't have to be going to bed, just sit somewhere quiet for a while. For me, a bit of fresh air clears my head as well.

I'm 5 months post coiling now and still get tired, but can do so much more than when i first got out. I don't work now, but have 2 young girls who have a lot of energy who i want to keep up with. To start with it was hard for me to even watch them without feeling ill (headache, nausea...) & then feeling guilty for not being able to do everything for them. Now i just have to remind them to keep the noise down cos it hurts mummys head! But even thats getting better - might still use the excuse to the girls though!!:lol:

I'm generally a very positive person & have been lucky not to get depressed about whats happened. But i can see how anyone could after going through this. It's pretty crappy & stressfull for everyone involved. But the support on this site is invaluable & your Dr can help you too.

Hope you're feeling ok, take care

Juliette xx

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Hi Hazel

Welcome to the site as the others have already said it is important to listen to your body and rest as much as you can. Rushing back to work too quickly can make your recovery a lot slower. It sounds like you have a lot of sensible people around who are trying to get you to take things slowly try to increase the hours you work gradually as if you become overtired the fatigue will kick in. Let us know how you get on.

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Hello Hazel

I am so pleased to hear you have done so well in your recovery so far. What a challenge you have regarding work and managing your recovery.

My financial situation and some guilt about not working prompted me to return too soon to work. I had SAH and operation early October 2009. I started part-time after only 4 weeks but was fortunate to do some work from home. I also wanted to test my mind and see what my brain could do. I could do a lot, but there were many things I was slower at and I felt I had to hide my diminished ability as I have slowly recovered.

Last year I worked full-time but was coming home from work and having to sleep to recover. I had a lot of small but painful health issues (dizziness, pain in jaw, scalp, and neck etc) that were exacerbated with commuting and being up all day and not having a rest. I also didn't get a chance to exercise much. The annoying pain and aching in my head & neck also tires me.

This year I have worked 3 days per week. I work Mon, Tues, Wed off, Thurs & Fri off. I just thought, damn it, I am not going to get better the way I was working and trying to heal at the same time. I make sure I rest and exercise on my days off. (I exercise in the morning to see how much I can do before I get tired). I also try to exercise on other days too if possible. My symptoms have lessened and I recover better now. I still get tired, but a rest does wonders if I allow myself.

It is now about 21 months on and I will need to renegotiate with work my hours. I think I will ask for 4 days per week for the next 3 months and have Wednesdays off.

I do wish you well in your recovery and hope you can monitor how much work you can manage and the down time you need for recovery. It's all a balance isn't it.

Best wishes


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