Providing practical and emotional
support for all people affected
by brain haemorrhage

      Brenda Wallace's Story

      Hi friends,

      I had a Subarachnoid Haemorrhage (S.A.H.) on Tuesday the 17th July 2007.  Unknown to me, I had 3 aneurysms inside my brain.  I had constant headaches, but was told time and time again, that I was suffering from migraines.  I must add that until 6 months before my S.A.H. I’d never as much had a sniffle, let alone the sudden onset of migraine's, but I just trusted my G.P. and kept walking out of the Surgery with yet another prescription.

      However, on the evening of Thursday the 12th July 2007, I went to go to bed about 10.00 p.m.  My hubby was already there and we were chatting normally as I sat on the edge of the bed, but suddenly I felt the worse pain I have ever felt in my life.   I can only describe the pain as like having been hit on the back of the head with a cricket bat.  Instantly, my hubby knew there was something wrong with me.  Although I was looked like I was in pain, my face had frozen.  He was asking me if I was all right, but I couldn't answer him.  I could clearly hear him, my brain was telling me that, but I couldn't move my mouth or eyes to reply.  The rest of my body moved fine.  Naughty of me I know, but I wanted to tell him to be quiet, but I couldn't, bless.  But, what had happened was a terrifying experience.

      My hubby telephoned NHS 24, and spoke to a Nurse, and explained what had just happened. During this call, I should add, that my facial movements were returning and I started to talk, albeit slowly to my hubby.  The nurse asked to talk to me. I was very shaken, and found it hard to really talk to her, so she said she would be getting a Doctor to call me back. Within 10 minutes I received the call.  The doctor asked what had happened. I told him and guess what?  He said it was a severe migraine. Again I explained that I was never in the way of having these, but he told me to go to bed and sleep.  He would send a fax through to my G.P.'s Surgery, which they would receive the next day, and I had to make an appointment to see my G.P.

      Bewildered and frightened, I drifted off to sleep. Next day, Friday, I awakened to a feeling like I had a nasty hangover, but was glad I hadn't a headache.  I telephoned my Surgery as instructed and explained to the receptionist that I was told I had to make an appointment.  She asked "We only have emergency appointments, and do you class yourself as an emergency?" I replied sheepishly " Yes, I think so". (It since transpired that the ‘cricket bat’ feeling in my head was my first aneurysm which had burst). I was lucky to have opened my eyes next day, let alone telephone for an appointment.  Believe it or not, I got up, showered, dressed myself, and drove down to the Surgery for my appointment.  I do remember thinking, as I walked into the Surgery "Hunny, concentrate, you feel drunk".  When I walked the corridor to see my G.P. I felt as though the floor was made of sponge.  I explained all that had happened and how I was feeling. He again said it was a nasty migraine. Again, I left with another prescription. I returned home.

      The days from the Thursday to the Tuesday, are a bit of a blur to me.  The rest I will tell you, is only what I have been told;
      But, on the Saturday morning I do remember clearly. I got up feeling fine and I remember thinking I didn't have a headache.  My hubby was out working and my son was in bed.  After a coffee I went for a shower.  On putting my head back to rinse out the shampoo, the same sudden "whack of a cricket bat" hitting me on the back of the head again.   Frightened, I managed to wrap a towel around me, and sat on top of the toilet seat.  I felt very faint. I was scared. Somehow, I managed to open the shower room door.  After a few mumbled failed attempts, I shouted on my son.  He came through quickly and asked what was wrong. I explained and he said he would drive me to the Casualty Department at our local hospital. How I dressed I don't know, but with hair still wet, I arrived at Casualty with my son.  I remember keeping my head on my son's shoulder.  I told him that I felt so ill as we waited to see a Doctor.  

      Eventually, I was taken to a cubicle to lay on a bed.   I lay holding my head, crying.  I was in a lot of pain. When the doctor came, the conversation was a usual one; what's wrong, what happened etc, and how do you feel?  He too said it was a migraine and I should go back home.  (It later transpired that this had been my second aneurysm that had burst).  Leaving casualty, holding onto my son, I can clearly remember saying to him.."Elliott, your mammy's not right.  There's ‘defo’ something wrong".  There I give you the last memory I have.  I seemingly went home and took to my bed.  My parents, sisters etc, visited me while I was in bed. They were very worried about me. I had even asked my dad to go and fetch my sunglasses out of my car, as my eyes were hurting and I couldn't see him properly. He makes me giggle about this now as he said I looked like Sophia Lauren sat up in bed… love him, ha!.

      On the Tuesday the 17th July 2007 my hubby found me behind my bathroom door.  It appeared that I had got up out of bed to be sick.  It was lucky for me that my hubby had returned from walking the dog or I may not have been here now.

      The next thing I've been told is my heroes arrived; Ally, Alan, and Norman, the three paramedics who helped save my life.   Without those guys I would not be alive today.  I was taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and given all sorts of tests. I was never conscious again until after my operation, so I have no memory of this.  My family were told that it didn't look good.  I had had a brain haemorrhage. They were sending me down to Edinburgh General Hospital, where I would be looked after. It had transpired that there was a third Aneurysm still in my head.
      To cut a long story short, after having been operated on by my Consultant at the time, Mr Robin Sellars , I am now the proud owner of a platinum coil which filled the other aneurysm to stop it from bursting.  I awakened to have had all this done without even knowing I had collapsed.  I remember opening my eyes in I.T.C. to find lots of tubes in me, on me, and being alone in a strange place.  Best thing though, was the most beautiful view of Edinburgh I had from my hospital window.  I was later joined by family etc, and was told everything.
      I spent one week there in Edinburgh and one week back in Aberdeen, before going home.

      After taking five months off work, I have now been back to work fulltime ever since and guess what?? No headaches!!! Ha! Ha!

      I have been very lucky. Not one day goes by when I don't think that.  But I don't think much about my coil.  I work with people who have an alcohol or drugs problems; one day I told my story to a client of mine. As my hair is blonde, he said I was a true "Platinum Blonde" and that sums up my outlook on this.

      Thank you for reading my story. Love n hugs to you all,

      Brenda x x x