Hospitalisation and Recovery Timeline

Road Traffic Collision on 31st July 2015

  • I experienced a severe traumatic brain injury at 11AM.
  • I was admitted to the critical care unit of the Royal Stoke hospital.
  • Surgical evacuation of right extradural haematoma (brain surgery).
  • Insertion of Intracranial Pressure (ICP) monitor.

    Critical Care and Neurosurgery Ward from 31.07.2015 to 25.09.2015

    • Coma (natural, then induced) from 31.07.2015 to 27.08.2015.
    • Upon leaving my comatose state I exhibited locked-in syndrome symptoms for one week.
    • I was discharged from the neuro-ward on 25.09.2015.
    • I have no recollection of anything in August and September 2015.

    NHS Rehabilitation Unit from 25.09.2015 to 04.11.2015

    • Haywood Hospital, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent.
    • I was assisted in walking safely, and encouraged to integrate with other patients.
    • I was set minor tasks, such as making porridge, to get my brain active.

    Discharge from NHS Rehabilitation Unit on 4th November 2015

    • Ruth took the month of November off work to support me.
    • On my first day of discharge Ruth took me to see my life-savers who'd taken care of me in critical care, I didn’t recognise / recall anyone or the surroundings.

    Big Dip in Progress from December 2015 to February 2016

    • Ruth advises I struggled very badly.
    • I was still trying to overcome some of the residual effects of the brain trauma.  I had tingling fingers and lips, very early onset of tiredness, I strained to swallow anything other than liquids.  I struggled to find a satisfying purpose in my life.
    • I enjoyed Christmas and being close to my daughter.

    Volunteering from June 2016 to July 2017

    • I undertook volunteer dog walking for the infirm from June 2016.
    • I sorted donated material for the Midlands Air Ambulance charity from August 2016.
    • I worked in a befriending role for the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) from September 2016.
    • I volunteered as an IT buddy at my local library from November 2016.

    Driving Licence Reinstated on 14th November 2016

    • 16 months after the TBI.

    Professional Work on 24th July 2017

    • I returned to the Metropolitan Police, who I'd been working for prior to the TBI.
    • ​I worked as a freelance IT security consultant with different customers for 2 further years.

    Professional Retirement on 1st July 2019

    • I recognised that keeping up with technology was not possible for me anymore as I am unable to retain new information.
    • I was content that I'd had a satisfying and enjoyable professional career.
    • I felt that a future of worthwhile volunteering opportunities was about to open up.

    Volunteering from September 2019

    • Roles typically leveraging my IT skills to help the elderly.
    • Participating in NHS studies focussed on TBI survivors gaining purpose in life.


    500 Word Summary Written in January 2020

    David was a 45 year old man (in July 2015) from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England who worked as a freelance IT security consultant.  He experienced a severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) following a collision between a car and his bicycle while on a leisure ride in Nantwich, Cheshire.  In a comatose state, David was airlifted to the nearest major trauma centre (Royal Stoke hospital) whereupon a neurosurgeon operated to relieve the pressure building up from a blood clot on his brain.  David was consistently assessed as having Glasgow Coma Scale 3 (severe) during the 2 weeks following his TBI.  David emerged from his comatose state after a further 2 weeks in the critical care unit, whereupon he exhibited locked-in syndrome symptoms for a week.  David spent 8 weeks in a specialist rehabilitation centre, before being discharged to home.  In summary, David spent a total of 14 weeks in NHS care following his TBI.

    Despite what he described as fantastic support from the NHS, David said it was only after coming home that he understood he was embarking on what he now calls the "real journey" of recovery.  David was incapable of doing anything other than get through each day during the first nine months back in what he called "the real world".  David recognised that he needed a new purpose in life, so in June 2016 he began pursuing opportunities to undertake voluntary work.  David started in a charity shop sorting clothes, then took up a befriending role with senior citizens via the Royal Voluntary Service.  David progressed to become an "IT buddy" at his local library, enabling him to leverage some of his legacy IT skills as well utilise his newfound capacity for empathy.

    In July 2017 after a year of volunteering, David returned to professional work as an IT security consultant with the Metropolitan Police Service in London, where David had been working at the time of his TBI.  The Met had pursued David’s availability over the previous 2 years, during which time he didn’t feel capable of returning, so his eventual acceptance was unexpected and unplanned for.  David was surprised to find that despite having countless other limitations as a consequence of his TBI, he had lost very little of the expert IT security skills he'd had prior to the TBI.  David worked on a further number of freelancing engagements for other customers around the UK before retiring in July 2019.

    Following his professional retirement, David became involved in voluntary work again.  He is currently (in 2020) engaged in charity work supporting the elderly with “tech”, as well as taking on a friend / mentor role with NHS TBI patients experiencing their own brain trauma "fog".  David is also involved in university / NHS research evaluating how best to get people who have experienced TBI back to a position where they can resume work.

    David is now 50 years of age and content with his lot in life.  David still has numerous limitations as a consequence of the TBI, but chooses to focus on the positives.