Life After A Brain Injury 7— A New Face

This Is Doin’ My Head In

Thanks to Kerry for the inspirasion for the subtitle. (You're famous now)

Raising awareness of Brain Injury for Headway.

This blog may read as if it’s a long, sorry story of me getting things wrong but that’s only because it’s true. The point is that I could have avoided getting all of this wrong if I had received the correct brain injury care when I was discharged from hospital. If you’ve joined the blog part-way through then you can read the full story starting with the preface.

In the last part it was getting towards the end of 2013 and about 9 months since my brain injury. I had concluded working for a while and was due to go and have my “face re-arranged” (this was a regular threat where I grew up) at the John Radcliff hospital in Oxford, but shortly before the appointment I was told that an emergency case had taken priority and so my surgery had to be replanned for January.

This was my first stay in hospital, yes I know I spent five days recovering after the accident but I’m not really cognisant of that. I wasn’t nervous at all despite previously being afraid of injections and not being able to watch any medical procedure on TV before the brain injury, now I’m not bothered about any of that kind of thing and looked forward to looking normal again after the surgery.

The whole experience of the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford was well executed with minimal waiting around. I think I must have been in the operating theatre within a couple of hours of arriving and I can still remember being on the trolley with the anaesthetist putting me under while I was telling her about how I wanted to change my job so that I could do something more socially rewarding instead of helping people to watch The X Factor. I started to feel woozy or drunk for a few seconds and then that was it. I was out. So my conversation was so interesting that she’d rather knock me out than listen to me…..

Early January 2014

In what seemed like the blink of an eye I looked around and was in bed in a different room. A nurse walked towards me so I asked her “Was that it?”. She said yes and I’d been out of theatre for about half an hour and did I need the loo. How did she know that? Yes I did need the loo but I just couldn’t use one of those cardboard bottles no matter how much I tried, so eventually gave up as I could use the real loo when I get back to the ward.

I think I spent a couple of days in the ward until the doctors thought I was stable enough to go home. I don’t remember that much of my time there except shuffling to and from the loo wheeling the drip stand along with me and when my sister and partner blagged their way in outside of visiting hours.

Mid January 2014

I spent the next three weeks or so sitting around the house looking like Hannibal Lecter and taking a photo each day to track the bruising.

My general mood started to improve even though I was feeling beaten-up, I could now breath properly and my sense of taste started to return, very slowly at first but it was coming back.

something that hasn’t returned completely is the hearing in my left ear, it’s down slightly compared to the right.

Late January 2014

What I’ve only just realised from looking at these photos is that (apart from the obvious mucking about on the second photo) my right eye isn’t in the middle. Just checked in the mirror and yes, I’m slightly cock-eyed because I look the same now, just thinner.

The bandages came off in late January last year but it was still some weeks before I had the confidence to go out in public. I was that self conscious about the bruising.

So things are improving for me at this point because the damage is almost repaired, well the damage that I knew about at the time.

Next update: Getting Back To Work