A quick warning: This blog contains very grim and potentially upsetting scenes. I would recommend you avoid reading it particularly if you have experience of serious head injury, I would hate for it to trigger any traumatic memories!
If you haven’t yet read previous editions please start from the beginning by clicking here:
Ok so last time I left you I had just been taken to Hope Hospital (now called Salford Royal) via ambulance, my parents and family following behind. Upon arrival at the hospital it was to be another 2 hours before they could see me because I needed to be stabilised. The last time they saw me was in Manchester Royal Infirmary covered in blood, glass and grit from the pavement. My head was held together in a clamp to prevent the large cut on my forehead from opening any more than it already was. I was unrecognisable to my own mother and my mate Tim who I shared a house with had walked straight past the scene of the accident not thinking for a moment that it could have been me. I was critical and the objective was not to make me look presentable but to keep me alive, and at the time that wasn’t likely that I would be still there the next morning.
The next time my family and friends saw me it was in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) of Hope Hospital and they had stitched the cut on my head, cleaned me up and while I was still swollen I looked a lot more presentable. The surgeon explained to my family that I had sustained a very severe brain injury and the next 48 hours would be crucial. The impact had caused my brain to bounce about inside my skull causing bruising all over my brain including the stem. The brain stem is responsible for the fundamental functions of the body that go on without us knowing about them like breathing rate and sleep patterns, I haven’t had a good solid nights sleep in 9 years and I do wonder if that is to blame. There was that time I stole one of my Nana’s sleeping tablets but enough about that!
One of the first things that my mum noticed were the tubes going down my throat and one up my nose making me look quite uncomfortable, surrounded by mystery equipment making beeping noises. I had a nurse at all times giving me one to one around the clock care. My dad was working in Azerbaijan in the Middle East got an emergency flight to Manchester Airport and arrived at the hospital later on the first day. He asked the doctor to be direct with him about my chances of survival to which he replied about 30%. I’ve never made things easy! Ha ha.
Visiting in ICU is very restricted to a maximum of 2 people at a time 8am until 9pm, although the nursing staff did bend the rules and let my mum in til 2am as I don’t think she slept for about a week! Sorry mum! Things were about to get a lot worse before they got better however, the surgeon informed my family that they should expect my whole body to start swelling up on the second day. Nobody was too sure exactly what he meant by this but sure enough over the next few hours I simply swelled to a point where I was completely unrecognisable to anyone who knew me. Although everyone had been forewarned nothing could have quite prepared them for what I was to look like the next morning. It looked like my whole body had been inflated, my head was the size of a watermelon, my legs had doubled in size, as had my arms, hands and fingers. In fact everything had doubled in size, well I don’t know about ‘everything’ but if it had then every cloud!
Joking aside the extreme swelling had caused a lot of stress to everyone, none more so than my mum. The surgeon’s comment about the next 48 hours being crucial had my mum going over and over that in her mind and kept one of her eyes on the clock until she saw the 48th hour passed.
On the third day at 9am my mum entered the room with my niece Jess, they were quite relieved that the crucial 48 hours the surgeon talked about were up. They were to find a doctor stood looking at a computer at the foot of my bed. He was engrossed with whatever was on the screen, not knowing quite what to say mum nervously asked “Is he any worse?” She hoped that he would reply with something positive now that the crucial 48 hours were over. To their shock he replied with “there is no worse, Brooke is in a very bad way in fact I’m not even sure he will still be here at 9 o clock tonight there is a very real risk of him having heart failure”. The shock of this revelation caused my niece Jess to run out of the room and it was back to watching the clock for everyone!
Twelve long hours passed and I obviously didn’t have a heart attack but it wasn’t like that my family was given any assurance that I was in the clear. In fact they didn’t receive much in the way of good news from the hospital staff in a long time. The reason for this is quite fair; they don’t want to be responsible for giving any false hope but when all you want is a little bit of hope this is difficult to deal with. My family, were instead told that the risk of me having a heart attack hadn’t gone and in fact I was at risk from heart attack or having a massive fit at any time. After a traumatic brain injury you are at a large risk of developing epilepsy, again I have to thank my lucky stars I avoided that. However the hospital staff must have been relatively pleased with me because they decided to reduce my sedation in the hope that I would begin to come out of the coma. Mum and dad saw a change in me quite quickly, I started thrashing about and looked very uncomfortable this was not a pleasant way to leave me for the night.
First thing the next morning my parents were greeted with yet more bad news, I had had a setback during the night. My lungs had become blocked and they had to blow air into them to clear it, they had now put me back on full sedation and I was back to being motionless.
After a week I was less critical and my bed was given to someone who needed it more so I was moved on to the High Dependency Unit (HDU). I’ll pick up the story in Part 4.
I hope you found this interesting, if you have any comments or questions please write them in the comments below. 👇🏽👇🏽👇🏽 I love getting your feedback and I will be happy to respond. Cheers X