Philip’s Story

On 28/07/2015 I am told that I was working in a back office, on my own, when I came out to my colleagues complaining of a headache and then proceeded to collapse on the floor. First aide was given (CPR) whilst an ambulance was called which arrived in a few minutes as a heart attack was suspected.

To cut a long story short it was later diagnosed as a brain aneurysm leading to a heart attack and four cardiac arrests.

They placed me in a medical induced coma and informed my family that ‘do not expect him to make the night’. Attempts to lift me out of the coma were aborted twice as I could not breathe on my own. After 17 days they succeeded in reviving me when I woke up blind and unaware of my condition or surroundings.

Being blind was a bit of a shock with the difficulties it presented which you cannot appreciate unless you have been in that position. I found the loss of dignity particularly hard to deal with, particularly regarding bathroom breaks, when I eventually managed to get to the toilet.

Unfortunately, there was no mention of possible treatment or recovery so as far as I knew that was it.

Sometime later (unclear when) I was transferred to Western Eye hospital where two operations later to relieve pressure in my eyes , drain fluid and I could see again, poorly, but I could see !!!!

Some basic physio was performed due to being bed bound for some time. To this day I still suffer with a degree of leg pain which is more of a balance issue

Four months later I was transferred to Queen’s hospital Romford with a view to my discharge home. Social workers visited me twice a day (at any time) even after explaining my wife was a 9-5 worker and there was no point in coming when my wife was at home. My aftercare was virtually nil.

‘Help thyself’, a friend suggested my local YMCA where they had a stroke rehab class which I found very helpful.

All this time I cannot fault my employer who took me back 1 year after my TBI, starting part time progressing to full time. Eight months later I am unemployed as I could not carry out my duties as a manager in the highly regulated, procedure orientated environment I worked in.

My career in casinos after 29 years has ended.

Currently looking for a job with less stress, fewer hours than a 60 hour week (including travel time) within my local area.

During my time in hospital all the information I have is third hand as due to my injury I was unaware of my situation or location. I do remember the practicalities of being blind and the huge impact this had on me.

What did ‘Helpful help’ look like and how why
  1. When I was transferred to the Western Eye hospital (Imperial College HealthCare NHS Trust) where it was decided to drain fluid and relieve pressure on my eyes. Two operations later I could see again, poorly, but I could see!

It’s difficult to describe in words how magnificent it was to finally see again and it gave my family and I hope for our future.

  1. Finding a local stroke rehab class in my local YMCA which I found very helpful.
What did ‘Un helpful help’ look like and how why
  1. My parents were told to ‘not expect me to make the night’ possibly to make them aware of the potential risks of ‘non-survival’.
  2. After the induced coma, waking up blind, no mention was ever made of potential sight restoration, again possibly not to give false hope.
  3. After discharge I was virtually left with minimal help from social services.
  4. At no time was there any mention of help/ information available.

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