Brain trauma: a patient's perspective

21 September 2015

Interview with

Colin Shepherd

Pioneering medical treatments mean that more and more people are survivingOutpatient serious trauma. But being discharged from hospital isn't the end of the story. It can take months or even years to recover from - or adapt to - the consequences of severe injuries, particularly where the injury is to the brain, as Graihagh Jackson found out when she went to Headway Cambridgeshire, a charity that helps support families and people who've suffered a brain injury, and met Colin Shephard to hear about his experience.

Colin - I suffered a brain haemorrhage in 2001. I remember going down to a shop to buy a newspaper and I remember collapsing on the floor. The next thing I knew, I woke up in neuro critical care. It was strange. I had no idea where I was and what had happened. I had no idea what a brain haemorrhage was. When I was told I was paralysed, it hit me like a ton of bricks. The first reaction was, how was I going to cope at home? That was the first thing I remember. Concern for my wife: could she manage?

Graihagh - Was there anyone to support you through this? What sort of help was available?

Colin - I had home visits to assess my needs at home which was quite handy, because I really had no idea what I would need.

Graihagh - Was there any support that you wish you did have that you didn't get perhaps?

Colin - I would have liked some support for my family, they seemed to suffer quite a lot. I think the family were unsure how to treat me, because I didn't want to be treated any different really. I alaways had this fear that would be and I still do today.

Graihagh - What's helped you get to where you are today?

Colin - Headway has been my lifeline, it's been brilliant. The biggest thing I get out of Headway is bulding things like confidence, cognitive skills, and gives me a big understanding of what's happened. And I found that really important because when you have a brain injury, everything shatters your life. I know now why I get frustrated, why I can't remember things, but Headway has made me aware of those and given me support to put those things right.

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