Hospitalisation and Recovery Timeline
Road Traffic Collision on 31st July 2015
Critical Care from 31st July 2015 to 25th September 2015
NHS Rehabilitation Unit from 25th September 2015 to 4th November 2015
Discharge from NHS Rehabilitation Unit on 4th November 2015
Big Dip in Progress from December 2015 to February 2016
Volunteering from June 2016 to July 2017
Driving Licence Reinstated on 14th November 2016
Professional Work on 24th July 2017
Professional Retirement on 1st July 2019
Volunteering from September 2019
500 Word Summary
In July 2015, David was a 45 year old man from Stoke-on-Trent in England who worked as a freelance IT security consultant. While on a cycling trip from his home to Nantwich in Cheshire he suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) following a collision between a car and his bicycle. David was taken by air ambulance to the nearest major trauma centre (Royal Stoke Hospital), whereupon surgery relieved the pressure building up from a blood clot in his brain. David was assessed as having Glasgow coma scale 3 (severe) during the first two weeks of a four week comatose period. After emerging from his coma, David exhibited locked-in syndrome symptoms for one week. David spent a further eight weeks in a specialist NHS rehabilitation centre, before being discharged to home. David had spent a total of fourteen weeks in NHS care following his TBI.
Despite what he describes as fantastic clinical 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 life recovery journey." David was incapable of doing anything other than get through each day during the first nine months following discharge. However, David recognised that he needed a new purpose in life, so in June 2016 he began pursuing voluntary work opportunities. David started off 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 IT skills, and enhanced capacity for empathy.
Following a year of volunteering, in July 2017 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 since his discharge from critical care, 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 he had lost very little of the expert IT security skills he'd had prior to his TBI. The biggest challenge David experienced in returning to professional work was his severe short-term memory limitations. However, David had developed numerous coping strategies which he was able to successfully rely upon.
In June 2018 David enthusiastically embarked upon a four-day training course to learn new IT skills - Amazon Web Services (cloud). Despite immersing himself in the learning experience, he found that he hadn't retained any of his newfound competences each following day. He concluded that his professional career should come to a close. David worked on a variety of freelance IT security engagements around the UK, before retiring in July 2019.
Following his professional retirement, David became involved in voluntary work again. In 2020 he was engaged in charity work supporting the elderly with tech and taking on a friend / mentor role with NHS TBI patients experiencing their own brain trauma fog. David was also involved in university / NHS research projects whose aims were to establish return-to-work programmes after serious injury.
David is fifty years of age (in 2020) and content with his lot in life. He still has numerous limitations as a consequence of the TBI, but chooses to focus on the positives.
David has a profound passion for the UK NHS - you can read some of his thoughts on it by following this link.