Newbie’s story of a rupture

I’m a newbie. I empathize completely with how you feel.
My brain aneurysm ruptured @ home in the washroom, I went into a coma immediately (did not experience any headache but do remember feeling nauseous). Thankfully, just retired, my husband was in the kitchen. He heard the thud of my fall. He yelled out “are you ok?” but, of course, I didn’t answer. He found me leaning in a corner of the washroom on my knees. He tried slapping my face (as seen on TV!) but quickly realized I was unconscious. He called 911 & started chest compressions until the OPP arrived. The OPP took over until the paramedics arrived. We live in rural southwestern Ontario & unbelievably, the paramedics arrived within 5 minutes. I was transported to a small local hospital where they did a CT scan & found the brain aneurysm rupture. They contacted University Hospital in London. I was bussed with a nurse within a couple of hours to London. Upon arrival, an exterior ventricular drain was put in (at my 2 year follow up appointment with the neurosurgeon this past March I asked if that was the first thing that was done & was anesthetic used > yes & no!!!). Within 6 hours of “the event” embolization coiling was completed. I spent 10 days on life support, had the exterior ventricular drain in for 2 weeks. Spent the minimum 3 weeks total in hospital (given Nimodipine to prevent vasospasm). Obviously, this recount of events is as conveyed by my husband as I also have zero memory of said events.
I’m also in disbelief that I survived. I’m trying to reconstruct the 2 weeks of missing memory. Apparently, I had visitors that I had conversation with & have no idea what they said, nor what I said! Once the feeding tube was out, apparently I ate yummy treats visitors brought me! It’s unnerving.
I spent months with those terrible recovery headaches & slept 20 hours a day for months as well.
I had my first follow up MRI @ 6 months, another @ 1 year. I then finally got to “meet” my neurosurgeon. In March 2021 I had my first annual follow up appointment with him. I said “thank you for saving my life & nice to finally meet you”, he said “ my dear, I assure you we’ve met several times”. I laughed & said “sorry, I don’t remember”. He responded “young lady, don’t be so hard on yourself, you had a catastrophic brain injury & you will most likely never remember. You’ve definitely beat the odds”. When I asked when the fatigue would subside he responded “let’s hope that next year when I see you you’ll tell me you’re back to 100%”.
I’m not 100% physically but pretty close!!!
Cognitively, I tire more quickly. I call it being zonked. I can’t spend any length of time concentrating. I received clearance to drive @ my two year follow up this past March but only drive near where we live where there is zero traffic. I’m dealing with depression & am having difficulty accepting “the new me”.
Reading your post I felt a feeling of belonging where someone finally “gets it”.
The general population thinks they emphasize but they don’t, they can’t, they haven’t experienced it.
Reading all of the replies I was in tears:)
We don’t want a pity party, we’re just trying to put pieces together & understand what happened to us & why we’re so lucky to have survived!
I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that what we’ve been through puts real meaning to the phrase “life is short” & we know ours could have been much shorter :heart:

7 Likes

Welcome Charlene! I’m so happy to read that your husband was there so you could share your story! I’m always amazed at how quickly those of us who don’t live in big cities can still get the emergency medical care needed and I think your story might just top the list. I realize you responded to @JonAndrewA but I think your story needs to be under its own topic so I’m going to create one, hope you don’t mind…

Hi Mandy (I’m sorry if I got your name wrong, my memory is horrible :disappointed:).
I’m touched that you thought “my story” was one to read. I’ve been having a bought of depression lately & am having anger outbursts quite often for no reason at all. I’m so glad I found this group.
Lots of love to everyone :heart::heart::heart:

1 Like

It’s all good! I go by Moltroub on here. It’s a combination of our cat and dog we had back when I joined (Molly and Trouble).

For your memory, be kind to yourself it takes a bit to get it back somewhat. When you feel up to it there’s a lot of memory games free to play through apps and online. When I started Speech Therapy I had to practice remembering by telling BH what I just ate and then again a few hours later. It wasn’t easy lol.

For anger outbursts, I try to remember to close my eyes, count to ten and do my relaxation breathing. If I’m really stressed those two skills can go out the window and it’s when I need them the most. Walking away from everyone and anyone before I open my mouth is helpful and I should practice this more. Once I can calm down enough to do my breathing I realize whatever tried to set me off isn’t a big deal usually. I have learned to do what I taught my clients and identify the first physical sign as soon as possible. It can be holding one’s breath, a tightening of jaw, clenching hands or even a tight stomach feeling. Many people have different signs, it’s helpful to learn and maybe when you’re having a calm moment, ask your husband what he’s seen you do first. It has to be the first sign or it doesn’t work as well. Good luck and let us know how it goes for you!

Thank you for your hard work on these postings… these forums have been amazing for me to read.

I appreciate the insight about moods. I have found in the last couple of weeks that I am having swings that I do not see coming… my husband just hugged me yesterday morning when I was having a bit of a manic moment and he just calmed me. It has been a little weird not feeling like it was me that was mad, felt bad. I am starting with a neuro psychiatrist in the next couple weeks, hopefully part of it will be to get some of these meds trimmed down, so many pills.

I am still having issues with sound, I was playing a board game with some friends and had a moment. They were justifiably happy with the game but it was getting me confused what I was doing and then my ears started to ring, I had to go to a quiet place and sit for a minute to try and get my head back on… it was overwhelming.

Wild how the body heals…

@CharleneW welcome! Thank you for responding to my post, it triggered me to get back on here after a couple of days… I thank the universe each day for the guardian angels that got me to safety and the ones today that are working to keep me healthy.

2 Likes

Hugs increase endorphins, the feel good chemistry reaction! As survivors we realize the importance of hugs more clearly than those who haven’t had a trial by fire so to speak.

I have a very deep respect to the Neuro Psychologist I went to early on. We had never met but had shared numerous clients as I referred many to him. The MMPI I took wasn’t sent to Minnesota thank goodness. It’s a bit of a conundrum for me to take as I studied it in college and took it in the USN prior to discharge though I don’t remember why. I recall Dr. Gary saying if he didn’t know what I’d done for a living and what I’d gone through, he would have put me on the 7th floor in a heartbeat. :joy:. Oh, the 7th floor is our local hospital’s psych ward. I met many a client there so I’m glad he didn’t think I’d need it and I’m really happy there’s no record of it at a place that doesn’t know me.

I don’t take any medicine for my rupture. In the beginning, the Neurologist tried a variety of meds and I didn’t tolerate them well. I believe most of them were for epilepsy as he was concerned with my tremor. I’ve learned to tell the docs that the tremor doesn’t effect my quality of life so just ignore it. Like you, I’m not happy with taking medication and often want to reduce what I do have to take. Lately, I’ve had a hard lesson to learn and finally accepted the fact that I will be on some the rest of my days and most likely those few will increase as needed. I do hope you get to start weaning off some.

For you to play a board game so early on is fantastic! Better yet, you knew you had to go to a quiet place! I also had to chuckle as I think folks with any military background be it the ones in uniform or their family tend to play a lot of board and card games…

Sound and light can be our nemeses it seems. Tinnitus is common amongst our members. I believe one of our members was going to an audiologist affiliated with the VA that helped with a solution, as it’s common with TBI’s as well. I apologize as I don’t remember where she posted it. It may have been in the last six months.

Hi Charlene. I’m in Ottawa but have family in London. That’s an excellent hospital and I’m sure that good care contributed to your beating the odds, as my care here did for me. I’m really glad to hear that you’re doing so well. I was talking to a dear friend last night about how nearly dying puts the focus on what really matters. Warmest wishes as you continue this journey. You have friends here.

1 Like

Charlene
I read your note and my heart gave a heavy sigh. Our stories are so similar. Here I am 16 years out and I still miss my old life. Yes I am thankful to be alive but I’ve lost me
I worked as a surgical scrub nurse, that’s where I was when my brain exploded. Flew me out to a neurological hospital. I have no memory of it but a coworker found me on the floor in the supply area. After a craniotomy and clipping,I found myself coming around @ a month later. They say I was speaking to people very soon after surgery
I feel pretty much the same as you. I know you understand
We must remember we re still here. I was 48 when this happened
I have seen my 3 children get married and I happily am a Grandmother of 8
I don’t want to sound ungrateful but I miss my old life

2 Likes

Today as most was an emotional one. I like you, miss my old self. I was 42 when I had a failed coiling, stroke then craniotomy to correct my aneurysm. I’m grateful for this group, as it seems I can write what I truly feel. Thankfully I have a friend of 60 years…yes, 60! We grew up 5 houses apart, officially met at age 3. My son has been the best son. He was 11 when all this happened to me. He has been as understanding as anyone can be. My best friend was a tremendous help to me through my recovery. I still get what I call brain tired, and also have cognitive issues. I do best with 1 on 1 interactions as I become overwhelmed if there are to many people, or a lot going on. The old me was very vibrant and enjoyed being out and about. I’m assuming age is now also a factor in regard to my emotions, and my inability to engage in most activities for more than 4 hours. Thank You for sharing, and I pray all the best for you. Continued Blessingz~

1 Like

Welcome Charlene. It certainly sounds like you have been on quite a ride. If I had a nickel everyone of us said that we are tired, or tire easily, noise is a problem, short term memory loss occurs, sensitive to lights. But the doctors don’t like to say that it could be the result of having saved a life. I guess that it is a pretty small price to pay, but it can still be frustrating. You will figure out ways to deal with the fallout and sometimes you will just take the results because whatever you are doing is important enough that you will just deal with the exhaustion. For me, it has been four years and I wouldn’t say that the problems are any less severe now than they were at the first year. But I am more accepting of them. God bless and best wishes.

1 Like