Hospitalisation and Recovery Timeline

Normal Life

  • Lived in Stoke-on-Trent, England
  • Worked for the Metropolitan Police in London as an IT Security Consultant

Road Traffic Collision on 31st July 2015

  • Traumatic brain injury at 11AM, following a collision between a car and my bicycle in Nantwich, Cheshire, England.
  • Transported by North West Air Ambulance helicopter to the Royal Stoke hospital in Stoke-on-Trent​.

    Critical Care from 31st July 2015 to 25th September 2015

    • Surgical evacuation of the right extradural haematoma (brain surgery).  Insertion of an Intracranial Pressure (ICP) monitor.
    • Based in the critical care ward then the neuro-ward.
    • Coma (natural, then induced) from 31.07.2015 to 27.08.2015.
    • Locked-in syndrome from 27.08.2015 to 03.09.2015.
    • Discharged from the neuro-ward on 25.09.2015.
    • I've no recollection of the period between August and September 2015.

    NHS Rehabilitation Unit from 25th September 2015 to 4th November 2015

    • Haywood Hospital, Stoke-on-Trent, England.
    • Assisted in walking safely and encouraged to integrate with other patients.
    • Set tasks to get my brain active, such as cooking classes and group quizzes.

    Discharged from the NHS Rehabilitation Unit on 4th November 2015

    • Ruth took the month of November off work to support me.
    • I visited my critical care and neuro-ward staff at the Royal Stoke hospital.  I didn’t recognise any of the people or recall the surroundings.

    Dip in Progress from December 2015 to February 2016

    • Ruth advises I struggled with adjusting to my new life perspective.  I knew my sense of purpose was vastly diminished and I didn't relish the future.
    • Tingling fingers and lips, early onset of tiredness and I struggled to swallow anything other than liquids.
    • Diagnosed as having focal epilepsy.

    Volunteering from June 2016 to July 2017

    • Volunteer dog walking from June 2016.
    • Sorting donated material for the Midlands Air Ambulance charity from August 2016.
    • Worked in a befriending role with the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) from September 2016 until July 2017.
    • 'IT buddy' at my local library from November 2016 until July 2017.

    Driving Licence Reinstated on 14th November 2016

    • Sixteen months after my TBI.

    Professional Work on 24th July 2017

    • Returned to the Metropolitan Police Service in London, who I'd been working for at the time of my TBI.  I spent eight weeks with the MPS, until September 2017.
    • To gain new IT skills, I attended a three-day training course on Amazon Web Services in June 2018.  At the end of each day I retained zero knowledge of what I had learned.
    • I spent a further two years working as a freelance IT security consultant with various customers - typically banks and police forces.

    Professional Retirement on 1st July 2019

    • I recognised that keeping abreast of new technology wasn't possible.
    • I was content that I'd experienced a satisfying and enjoyable professional career.
    • I felt that a future of worthwhile volunteering opportunities was there for my taking.

    Volunteering from September 2019

    • Roles typically leveraging my IT skills to help the elderly or folk with brain injuries.
    • Participating in NHS and university studies focussed on assisting TBI survivors gain purpose in life.

    I wrote an anecdotal, 'photograph driven' summary of my recovery timeline - see link.   The document was part of an exercise for the Centre for Trauma Sciences.

    Return to Work in June 2021

    In June 2021 I was offered an opportunity to become involved in designing a PKI solution.  I enjoyed dusting off my laptop and getting involved in professional work again.


    500 Word Summary

    David was a 45 year old man from Stoke-on-Trent in England, who in July 2015 worked as a freelance IT security consultant with London's Metropolitan Police Service.  While on a leisure ride from his home to Nantwich (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 had locked-in syndrome during the following week - he couldn't speak or move his head, but he could move his eyeballs and hear spoken words around him.  David spent a further eight weeks in a specialist NHS rehabilitation centre, before being discharged to home.

    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.

    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, for whom David had been working at the time of his TBI.  The Met had pursued David’s availability since his discharge from critical care in September 2015, 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 three-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 2018 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 programs for folk after serious injury.

    David is fifty-one years of age (in 2021) 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, some of his thoughts on the institution can be observed by following this link.