Part 18 – Home sweet home
So who lives in a house like this?
Unfortunately not me..but never say never hey! I’ve always dreamt of living in a beautifully bright coloured house, so who knows maybe one day my dream will come true.I chose this image not only for its beauty but also because it is a perfect visual representation of how I felt when I returned home from the hospital. Just arriving home filled me with so much joy and in my eye’s my home radiated all these beautiful and wonderful colours – I was so happy!
My partner phoned me as soon as I had arrived, he was so happy to know that I was back home and on the road to recovery. I could see that he was now more at ease, it was so hard for him being so far way in Jamaica while all of this was happening. And even harder as we were not able to video call until I was moved to the neurology ward.
I had gone through the most traumatic experience in my life and he was not able to be by my side…It was just awful! Being in a long distance relationship is hard at the best of times, let alone when going through what I had just gone through.
Back to my comfort
Initially being home felt both strange and wonderful at the same time – it felt as though I had been away for such a long time! I remember taking note of the most basic of things…such as being able to sit in the comfort of the living room and watch TV, the wonderful home cooked food, although my sense of taste had changed a little and my appetite for food had declined at the time.
I was now back in the comfort of my home, my environment, my safe haven and it felt wonderful!
Such a fragile state
Being back home was a realisation of the fragile state that I was in as I wanted to do the things I would normally do, but found I couldn’t do most of them. Simple things like walking up the stairs, washing my hair, I couldn’t do any these things for myself. I didn’t even have the strength to walk a few metres from the kitchen to the living room while carrying a drink.
It was 5 weeks on from the date that my brain aneurysm had ruptured and I would still wake to a pounding headache every single morning. I had painkillers and a jug of water by my bedside so I could immediately take my medication upon waking. I would have to wait for the medication to kick in before I even had the strength to sit upright let alone get out of bed and make it downstairs to the sofa.
I was on so much meditation that my mum created a chart with the times and the medication that I needed to take throughout the day, she would literally have to remind me to take my medication throughout the day and every single day for months…this was down to the short-term memory loss I was suffering from at the time. This was a realisation for me that if I lived alone…there is no way that I would have been able to go home when I did.
Sleep…making up for sleep deprivation
I would say for at least the first month of being home I did nothing but sleep, I was absolutely exhausted from the lack of sleep I had in the hospital. But also due to the amount of medication I was taking, along with the extreme fatigue which is a common symptom for anyone who has suffered a brain injury.
At first, I couldn’t make it through the day without having to take constant naps, luckily over time the need for constant naps became less and it was a huge milestone when I managed to make it through my first day without the need to take a nap at all.
Over time I learned to listen to my body and knew when I needed to rest. In the early stages of my recovery I didn’t always rest when I needed to and as a result I would literally shut down and found that my memory became worse when I was fatigued. Therefore I quickly learned that rest was essential to my recovery and to the improvement of my cognitive brain function.
So what about work?
I emailed my sick note to my manager and remember saying something to my dad along the lines of..I wonder if they’ll issue me another sick note and if I’ll be signed off for longer…When I look back now I can’t believe I actually doubted whether I’d be issued another sick note. What had happened to me still hadn’t fully sunk in. I was clearly still in the shock and in the denial phase of dealing with what had happened to me.
My dad told me that I needed to be careful, I needed to rest and that I won’t be returning to work for some time. I remember raising my voice at him and saying…
“What are you talking about? I don’t have time to be sick, I don’t have time for this. I have my life to live and things I need to do.”
Little did I know the roller coaster cycle of recovery that was heading my way and the many obstacles I was about to face in life and in relation to my work.
My mum updated me on conversations that she had with many people to let them know what had happened to me, including my manager at work. There were many voicemail messages left on my phone which apparently my mum had told me about, but again I had forgotten about these conversations we had.
I was due to have an interview the week that my aneurysm ruptured, I had completely forgotten about this until I listened to the voicemail messages on my phone nearly 5 weeks later. I then phoned my recruitment consultant back. I have a great working relationship with these guy’s as I’ve worked closely with them for around two years and they have successfully placed my in roles, so I can speak to them on a personable level – not like your average recruitment agencies…
Anyway I decided to give them a call and I spoke to my usual contact, she said that they were so worried about me and they knew something was wrong when they hadn’t heard from me. She went onto say that they interviewer contacted them to say that I hadn’t turned up for my interview, she said at the point they were worried because of this was out of character for me…I wouldn’t just decide to not attend an interview without notifying them and without good reason.
Anyway, I went on to explain what had happened and this was the first time I said the words…
“I’ve had a ruptured brain aneurysm.”
Until this point I didn’t realise how just saying the words out aloud would suddenly make all of this real…I was no longer in denial and this had actually happened! Just saying the words caused me to break down in tears down the phone, to the point that I could no longer speak…
It was no longer a dream, it was now very much a reality for me!
More forgotten pieces of the puzzle
When checking my voicemails, I came across a number of messages from the company which I did my weight loss consultant training with a few days before my aneurysm ruptured.
Again, I called them to explain what had happened and that’s why I hadn’t completed my online assessments. They agreed to give me an extension for 2 weeks…to this day I do not know how I thought this was even possible…I couldn’t even remember what I had been taught!!
A few weeks later I phoned them back and was convinced that when I spoke with them they told me that they were going to give me a callback – I went on to explain that I had never received the phone call. The lady reiterated what we had discussed and that they had followed up our conversation with an email…I then checked my emails and to my shock there it was!!
At this point, I felt incredibly frustrated that I couldn’t remember what we had agreed and felt incredibly vulnerable.
“I felt as though I was losing control of myself, my life as a whole and there was nothing I could do about it! How could this be happening to me?”
This was a huge warning sign for me that I wasn’t well enough to just pick up my life where I had left it. I needed the time to recover and for my brain to heal.May 16, 2018 7:30 pm