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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Head2Head

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Personal stories

Sally

One Sunday morning in March 2013, like a bolt out of the blue, a subarachnoid haemorrhage changed mine and my families' lives with no warning.

The John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford became our life saving world for several frightening weeks. I spent a lot of time in the intensive care unit and then was moved to the neurosciences ward.

We came through, I recovered and it was now time to go home. Not the joyous time we imagined. We all felt very scared, no one was there now, for advice, no one holding our hands!..

Then two nurses, realising the lack of any back up and support for patients and their families, but the tremendous need of a point of contact and some written information started to put the wheels into motion and the SAH focus group was born.

It went from strength to strength, the first meeting was amazing, giving patients and carers exactly what they needed, not just a point of contact. Speakers such as consultants in neuroradiology, neurosurgery, research and psychology, came to speak with us. Sitting informally, explaining the whys and wherefores, answering all of our questions. The opportunity is always there to ask questions and get answers, chatting amongst ourselves with some delicious cake and coffee. These meetings are a vital contact point for families and patients, with so many questions that need answering; the SAH group provides the forum for this.

Now we have our own specialist nurse at the John Radcliffe which for new patients and old will be amazing. A real lifeline, she has the knowledge, enthusiasm and forceful nature and will make such a difference in the lives of those affected by this devastating illness when it strikes so suddenly.

Steven Brookes - Hampshire - IT Director (International Consultancy) - 47 years old

My stroke happened on a client site while I was in a meeting. There was no warning and it came out of the blue. I personally don't have any memory of it happening (apparently a good thing). I collapsed and vomited at work and my colleagues rushed to call an ambulance. I ended up at the John Radcliffe where I underwent life saving surgery that evening, I was coiled and later had a drain put in for hydrocephalus. I'm currently in recovery with little or no physical signs of injury, most of the problems are memory related and so I look completely normal from the outside.

I am putting the pieces of my life back together one at a time. Starting to drive is next with the final goal of returning to full time work. The support I get from my family is incredible and I can not imagine what it would be like with out them, this is why Head2Head is such an important resource both for suffers and carers. This is also why I decided to help by setting up this site and the related Facebook group.