Portrait: Kevin

After waking up in the morning, Kevin felt a pain like he had never felt. It subsided for a short time, then bang! It was back again. A brain hemorrhage had occurred.

A little bit about Kevin 

September 2010. Aged 43 

On the morning of the event, I woke up normally, got showered and dressed, made myself a coffee and went to my home office. Whilst I was logging on, I felt a sharp pain or a cramp at the rear of my head on the bottom right area.  It was as if I had stretched and a cramp was up my neck, but in my head. Then, the pain went huge! A pain like I had never felt. It subsided for a short time, then bang! It was back again, but worse. 

I was instantly confused. I knew something was up but I couldn't think. I managed to call my wife who works 300 yards away in a school and she came home straight away. 

An ambulance was called, and they thought I was having an anxiety attack and my headache was a migraine so I was put to bed with a couple of pills.  After they left, I had another sharp pain and my wife called our GP. It's quite clear that he possibly saved my life. He insisted on seeing me and told my wife to get me to A&E straight away.  The initial diagnosis at Portsmouth Queen Alexander proved that I had had a brain hemorrhage of some kind.  


My recovery 

I was transferred to Southampton Neurological Hospital and prepared for surgery to repair the bleed, but the surgeon had to wait for the bleed to clear so they could see clearly. Three days later, a scan showed that the bleed had cleared and that the burst had closed. They believe the force of the bleed on the skull had stopped the bleed and the amount of blood was causing the pain. No surgery was required at the time and I have had no surgery since then.   


Symptoms I have to navigate 

I have no physical disabilities, apart from having a very unstable thermostat.  When it's cold, I am hot and when it's hot, I sometimes feel cold. 

Sadly, this is not the end of my problems. I suffered from a headache that lasted over 3 months. I had no way of looking after myself due to being confused.

I didn’t know who people were, the day of the week, whether I had taken tablets or even how to wash and dress. 

It took me six months before returning to work because I had an overwhelming belief that I would have another hemorrhage and that I would die. My anxiety levels were off the chart. When I did go back to work, I tried to pick up where I had left off. I had quite a busy role and I did work long hours beyond my 36-hour week.  

However, I found myself working double my hours and exceeding 70 hours a week every week. This was due to the fact that I just couldn't process data. I couldn't digest a report. Reading and understanding an email would take me so long and replying was another long process. Even writing this now trying to find the right words is a struggle. 

I still struggle with confusion or brain fog, as we now know it. Planning anything, holidays, weekly activities, even a short journey for a day out becomes a very stressing  time and results in tiredness and headaches. 


Moving Forward 

Obviously, I couldn't continue to carry on in my role at work, so at the age of 51 I took a package and left work.  

I have had to realign both my and my wife's lifestyle to enable us to live on a reduced income but there was no choice. I am simply unable to concentrate for any length of time, so even the simplest activity creates brain fog and causes headaches and anxiety. 

I am now retired and coping, as long as things are OK.

I know I have been lucky. It could all have been a lot worse. What still upsets me is that people think I'm the same as I was before because I look the same. But I'm not and I know I never will be.  Kevin invites you to view the fundraiser he has set up for SameYou here.


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