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Alexander64 - Recent SAH


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My story seems pretty similar to many posted here and great to read so many fantastic recoveries.


My Valentines day began at 730AM chairing a rare cancer meeting (i am a surgeon) when i suddenly experienced a headache so severe i collapsed. As i was in the hospital the arrest team arrived immediately thinking i had had a cardiac arrest.


I soon found myself in the CT scanner with a diagnosis of SAH


The NHS stroke system was faultless and i was soon in a bluelight ambulance heading to the neurosurgeons


A repeat CT followed by a angiogram (under general anaesthetic as i have seen enough local cases to know what i wanted!) thankfully showed no source of bleeding


The headache after the angio was worse than the original bleed and felt as if my head was in a vice not to mention the pain from the angio in my groin.


By the next day i was moved from intensive care to the ward and my headaches were already improving although i started getting severe pain in my back and legs due to blood in my csf


After 12 days in hospital i am now home and finally starting to walk as the pain recedes, although i am now on Gabapentin. To be honest i feel a bit dissociated/numb and i simply cannot sleep no matter what i do.


I dont feel that i can complain about my state as my care has been excellent and reading the posts here many people have had a much worse outcome than me


Any advice on sleeping gratefully accepted

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Hey Alex, thanks for posting here as well. Your story and thread  will Help some other person especially if you don’t mind coming back from time to time and sharing what you learn and what has helped you as you navigate this time in your life. 


Fab you got such such great treatment from your colleagues, I imagine it was a great shock to them. Yes angios awake not that fun so probably good decision there. 


i posted on your other reply on the FM post (FM who started that is also a doc but in the US so hopefully will be along and will post too) . Anyway I can’t emphasise the  importance of having agood wind down routine , something that’s really telling your brain, time to switch off, time to sleep.


one thing I did after finally Getting home from hospital and found useful and I still do is a body relaxation. Ipad quite a lot of pain post operat8vely as well so it helped me. I would turn off the lights, lie on my back head slightly elevated and then literally go through my body parts from toes to top of head, I tense the muscle or area and then relax it and say in my head.i relax my...[enterr body part. E.g shoulders] . I often drop off mid way through....I suspect you could even use the proper scientific name...good for memory ? seriously though i think it helped me to re-train myself to switch off. It helped me give my brain permission to let me sleep. .


Anyhow thought id share that...oh and lots of water and nothing as a  stimulant so cut out any caffeine  (or anything stronger ) before bedtime. Time for Horlick maybe? 


Good luck and go steady. We need great cancer surgeons but take your time here to recuperate and recover well. It may take longer than you think. 

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  • Skippy changed the title to Alexander64 - Recent SAH

Hi Alex, a warm welcome to behind the gray.  Sorry that you have had the misfortune to have experienced a sah, but appreciate you sharing your story which helps build a great forum for those in a similar situation.


I'm not sure what the answer is to not being able to sleep but during a recent spell of this myself I was prescribed something to help me sleep  which, although I only took  it for a few nights, it did enable me to get some much needed sleep - and then got me back into the routine of normal(ish) sleep pattern.


I agree with you, in fact I think the whole NHS system is faultless - I think me and my family have benefited from every department going, in fact I'm off there again next month for my 10th annual head MRI.


I hope your recovery continues to go well, but do be prepared that it could take quite a while and next year plan something more romantic!


Take care,





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Hi Alex, 

I had trouble sleeping but then I was out of it for approx. 1 year until shunt was fitted.


Then I was afraid of hurting Shunt and sitting up isn't a good way to drop off, so I decided to lay on side and watch the news.  Now what is going on in the world is an ideal way of sleeping, as we do not want to hear about doom and gloom do we !!  


You will get there just relax and I always think of a happy time in my life,  as we must not stress (I always put that) Good luck and try not to worry about what happened as we are survivors.  !!!



Win / Winb143 xx singing helps me but not my hubby xx

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Hi Alex welcome to BTG I did not sleep well at night when I first came home so I went to bed at the same time and got up at the same time every day and this helped me good luck in your recovery and I look forward to hearing from you again xx

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I cannot give you med advice here and that s for good reasons. First of all, I might not be a real doc. May be just some crazy person with med knowledge.

Another reason is we don’t know people s true past medical history here. Age, medicines, allergies, surgeries, family history etc. Even if we know all the history , we still have to decide what s best for the patient. You know that.


Please rest and drink lots of water. You ll see that this is a very helpful site. If you are like most doctors, you might be non compliant and type a plus personality and doesn’t want to admit you are sick. 

Take one day at a time. Don’t think too much about this and that. Goodluck.

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Hi welcome to BTG glad you found us and hope you are finding the site useful.


I can't say I had much problem sleeping post my bleed, in fact I could have slept for England. However more recently I have suffered from insomnia which is very frustrating when I have to work the next day.


I do find not drinking caffeine drinks up to a couple of hours before I go to bed helps, I try fruit or herbal teas instead. Alcohol too is a problem so I try and avoid that too near bedtime.  It's good to have a 'sleep routine' and not spend too much time on computer screens before retiring.


Hope things improve soon.


Clare xx

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  • 1 month later...

I would love to hear how you are doing???? This site was invaluable for me and my recovery and so while I am not as articulate as daffodil, any help I can give to people who have been on this terrible road, I feel obligated to try.Things improving? 3 months out was a great improvement for me, in all symptoms. At 3 months, I really felt like I turned a corner.


But that was me, everyone is different

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Hi Alex,


When I was young and could not sleep my Mum always told me to "Win start from toes and work way up body" She'd say "relax toes  wiggle wiggle then on to feet and work your way up your body until we both got up to neck and was sleepy or in hysterics with laughter.  


All I know is keeping happy is the best med for me and I think of my Mum and start to laugh and keep hubby awake as bed moves with laughter.  You will get there as I put earlier to you. (I think)


Relax and watch a boring programme on TV it works for me. Keep Well. 

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