On 28/07/2015 I am told that I was working in a back office, on my own, when I came out to my colleagues complaining of a headache and then proceeded to collapse on the floor. First aid was given (CPR) whilst an ambulance was called which arrived in a few minutes as a heart attack was suspected.
To cut a long story short it was later diagnosed as a brain aneurysm leading to a heart attack and four cardiac arrests.
They placed me in a medical induced coma and informed my family that ‘do not expect him to make the night’. Attempts to lift me out of the coma were aborted twice as I could not breathe on my own. After 17 days they succeeded in reviving me when I woke up blind and unaware of my condition or surroundings.
Being blind was a bit of a shock with the difficulties it presented which you cannot appreciate unless you have been in that position. I found the loss of dignity particularly hard to deal with, particularly regarding bathroom breaks, when I eventually managed to get to the toilet.
Unfortunately, there was no mention of possible treatment or recovery so as far as I knew that was it.
Sometime later (unclear when) I was transferred to Western Eye hospital where two operations later to relieve pressure in my eyes , drain fluid and I could see again, poorly, but I could see !!!!
Some basic physio was performed due to being bed bound for some time. To this day I still suffer with a degree of leg pain which is more of a balance issue
Four months later I was transferred to Queen’s hospital Romford with a view to my discharge home. Social workers visited me twice a day (at any time) even after explaining my wife was a 9-5 worker and there was no point in coming when my wife was at home. My aftercare was virtually nil.
‘Help thyself’, a friend suggested my local YMCA where they had a stroke rehab class which I found very helpful.
All this time I cannot fault my employer who took me back 1 year after my TBI, starting part time progressing to full time. Eight months later I am unemployed as I could not carry out my duties as a manager in the highly regulated, procedure orientated environment I worked in.
My career in casinos after 29 years has ended.
Currently looking for a job with less stress, fewer hours than a 60 hour week (including travel time) within my local area.
During my time in hospital all the information I have is third hand as due to my injury I was unaware of my situation or location. I do remember the practicalities of being blind and the huge impact this had on me.
What did ‘Helpful help’ look like and how/why?
- When I was transferred to the Western Eye hospital (Imperial College HealthCare NHS Trust) where it was decided to drain fluid and relieve pressure on my eyes. Two operations later I could see again, poorly, but I could see!
It’s difficult to describe in words how magnificent it was to finally see again and it gave my family and I hope for our future.
- Finding a local stroke rehab class in my local YMCA which I found very helpful.
What did ‘Unhelpful help’ look like and how/why?
- My parents were told to ‘not expect me to make the night’ possibly to make them aware of the potential risks of ‘non-survival’.
- After the induced coma, waking up blind, no mention was ever made of potential sight restoration, again possibly not to give false hope.
- After discharge I was virtually left with minimal help from social services.
- At no time was there any mention of help/ information available.