Just shy of my 25th birthday, I was on a date saying goodbye to a friend. As I stepped out of his vehicle, I got a whirling sensation in my head and high-pitched ringing in my ears and dropped to the ground.
A little bit about Kelly
It's been 33 years since my intercranial aneurysm. June 1989, just shy of my 25th birthday, I was on a date saying goodbye to a friend. As I stepped out of his vehicle, I got a whirling sensation in my head and high-pitched ringing in my ears and dropped to the ground. He didn't see me walk around his vehicle, so he got out to find me lying in the street. Immediately, he got me back into his vehicle and drove me home, which was only a few blocks away. The paramedics were called, and thankfully, one of them indicated it might be a brain bleed.
I never suffered from any migraines or other ailments that may have indicated a problem. Except for an episode 2 months prior, where I had that same immediate whirling sensation and onset of dizziness. I did seek out medical advice and basically was told it could be all sinus related.
I was rushed to the nearest medical center and for the next 12 hours, I had to endure a bunch of tests to locate where the bleed was. The angiogram located the aneurysm right in the middle of my brain behind my eyes. Surgery was my only chance of survival but not without risk of course.
With my entire family at my bedside, I had to say goodbye and sign papers not holding the hospital nor the doctors responsible if I was to pass. A moment that I will never forget.
Resulting changes from the brain injury
Luckily the surgery was a success. My cognitive and physical abilities were for the most part intact. However, my vision in my right eye was permanently blind. I also have permanent ringing (tinnitus) in my head. Both of which are manageable and small nuisances in a grand scheme of outcomes.
My recovery was a few months just to heal from the surgery. I bounced back quick and was able to continue my 25th year with a survivor badge. I didn’t have any need for rehabilitation. However, it left me with so much fear of what if? PTSD was part of my everyday life. Even more so when I get the occasional headache.
Living through such an ordeal just reminds you of what you don’t have control of.
What was missing from my recovery
I try to embrace it as it wasn't my time and live for each day. But I wish, at the time of my incident, that counselling had been offered to me. It would have helped me with my recovery. Years later, I try to keep myself in a positive place.
I think hospitals should offer counselling to those who survived to help them deal with such a life altering event.
Advice to other survivors
For survivors like me, express your fears to those who will listen. Remind yourself how lucky and how precious life is. Be grateful for every waking day. 33 years on, I still remember it like yesterday. I am blessed.