Portrait: Catherine L

I remember nothing of this...I was found sick over the toilet saying I had a excruciating headache and I thought I had a brain hemorrhage.

A little bit about Catherine 

I remember nothing of this - On 10th August 2006 my husband came home from work - he was a police officer and had finished around 1 in the morning. He found me sick over the toilet saying I had an excruciating headache and I thought I was having a brain hemorrhage. I then slithered down to the floor and one side of my face fell. He immediately thought I was having a stroke and dialed 999.  

When I was taken to Bradford Royal Infirmary the doctors said I had suffered a brain hemorrhage and there was nothing they could do - I was too far gone.

My family were called in to say goodbye, but my mother didn't give up and said she wanted me to go to Leeds General Infirmary - they had a neurology department unlike Bradford. I was blue-lighted via ambulance to Leeds and the surgeon there said I was still young (I was 37) and he'd operate to give me a chance. They operated and removed the clot. I'd had an AVM which had burst and hence the bleed on my brain.  


My recovery 

I was in hospital for 3 months and then had appointments with doctors who said I was unfit to go back to work.  I was an IT teacher in secondary school. I fought this because I couldn't afford to live without my wage and ended up going back just before the summer holidays, less than a year after my brain injury.  

When I was in hospital after my hemorrhage, I used to wander the wards at night - seemingly lost.

I was even found on the men's ward in someone's bed! I had and still have no sense of direction following the hemorrhage - it was fine before the incident. Now, I get lost walking back to my table in a bar/restaurant from the toilet!  

I have recently found my leg dragging more than usual and I have been tripping up and falling. I went for an MRI scan to check if all was ok, and that was when I saw the scan image of my brain. It sounds like Emilia's scan in that it seems I have a lot of my brain missing. I went for an appointment with a consultant after the scan and he explained that the dark areas were fluid and I did actually have a brain underneath. I did mention that I no longer had any fear or anger and he said this was because I had those areas of my brain removed in the operation. I don't actually mind this! My memory slowly improved over the years, but it'll never be back to how it was pre-hemorrhage, I've just learnt to live with it. 

One thing that is missing from my life now is a life partner. My then husband helped me through the recovery, but our lives eventually took us in separate ways.  


Seeing the humor in things 

My tag line could be from the posters they put up on my ward walls and doorways - "Catherine turn around, your bed is not this way" 

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