I am a secondary school teacher and on the 24th October, 2019, I was about to get up and get ready for work when I sneezed. Although I did not know it yet, a Blister-type aneurysm had ruptured in my brain and I was experiencing a Subarachnoid Hemorrhage.
A little bit about Janine
I am a secondary school teacher and on the 24th October, 2019, I was about to get up and get ready for work when I sneezed. I immediately felt very strange - I had a severe headache and I could feel something seeping around my head and neck. I was soon vomiting profusely. Although I did not know it yet, a Blister-type aneurysm had ruptured in my brain and I was experiencing a Subarachnoid Hemorrhage.
I rang my husband who quickly came home. We considered calling an ambulance but decided to go see our GP who immediately sent us to our nearby hospital. There I was quickly seen. I had a CT scan which showed "extensive hydrocephalus and SAH", then an angiogram. I was put into a high dependency ward. That night, I deteriorated and had a seizure. An EV drain was inserted and I was admitted to ICU.
My hospital stay & health specialists involved
I stayed in ICU for 9 days - initially on many tubes, intubated and unconscious. I dreamt about dying and almost welcomed it as I was in so much pain. I gradually got better although my speech was delayed and slow for quite a while. After a few days, the multi-disciplinary team found the blister-type aneurysm and I underwent surgery so that a flow-diverting stent could be inserted. Eventually, I was moved to a neurosurgery ward where I continued to recover and began rehab with OTs, physios and other health professionals. One of my doctors (a Junior Doctor) was a former student of mine, which was so lovely. He knew me "before" my illness and was very caring towards me. All of the staff were wonderful. I had a lot of cognitive assessments and slowly did a little better. After 3 weeks in hospital, I was sent home to carry on working on my recovery.
I am now surprisingly ok apart from fatigue.
A year into recovery
When I returned to the hospital for follow up scans, 12 months to the day after the hemorrhage, the staff all remembered me and were happy and teary to see me ok. I was surprised that they remembered me a year later. I've since read my notes fully, and spoken to my doctors, and know more about the rarity and severity of my aneurysm. It was a blister-type which is rare, difficult to treat, fragile and prone to rebleeding, often leading to severe complications. Having to give me blood thinners to avoid clotting around the stent while I was at risk of rebleeding was a problem and the hospital staff are so happy I'm ok.
Advice to others in recovery
If I had to offer advice to someone going through a similar experience I would say "Allow your body to rest". A friend sent me a message when I was in hospital reminding me that the body has an amazing capacity to heal. I found that to be true, provided it is given adequate rest.
Being reliant on others in hospital and while recovering can be frustrating but it is a humbling and beautiful thing. There is a lot of love and care in the world!