At the Haywood Hospital during my early days of recovery, about 90 days post-TBI.
In a volunteer role as an 'IT buddy' at my local library, about 18 months post-TBI.
Hospital Rehabilitation: Months 3 and 4
Click on this link to view a web page showing general observations about my time at the Haywood Hospital. There are also some diary entries I made of events which happened to me, or around me. The term recovery was misleading for me as I wrongly interpreted recovery as meaning getting back to how I once was. When it appeared clear that this would not happen, I felt sure I was never going to recover. Having some very modest expectations aligned to the term recovery might have helped me feel like I was making progress. I received much advice from the wonderful NHS staff about dealing with being discharged from a clinical setting into a normal home environment. I thought I was prepared for the outside world.
Acceptance: Month 4
I wrote about my thoughts on how I managed the frustrations which I knew I was susceptible to, see link. I was intelligent enough to recognise that dwelling on negatives would be a downward spiral. I focussed on the positives: I still had the love and support of my family and close friends.
Neurosurgeon Review: Month 5
Click on this link to view a letter the neurosurgeon who operated on my brain, sent to my GP following a meeting with him two weeks after my hospital discharge. He mentions the severity of my injuries and the remarkable progress made in the Haywood Hospital, furthermore, there is discussion of my intent to return to work.
Anxiety: Month 9
I made notes in preparation for a meeting with my rehabilitation consultant (nine months after my TBI), see link. There's nothing particularly insightful in the list (which is rather personal), but I thought it useful to record anything at that time which came to mind.
Home Rehabilitation: Months 8 to 13
I started keeping a diary and made notes of how I felt from about eight months after my TBI, you can view it by clicking on this link. I used the records as a recovery barometer, as without reference to how poorly I had felt previously it was difficult to recognise the progress which I was indeed making. People would often inform me how much better I seemed, as they could remember me being very poorly. It was only by having the baseline notes to refer to that I could properly evaluate their positive comments.
External Support: Months 10 to 22
Click on this link to view minutes of meetings, and some tasks I underwent following the intervention of a group of occupational therapists, psychologists and physiotherapists.
Physiotherapist Assessment: Month 10
I was given an assessment by my physiotherapist who assisted me during my period of home rehabilitation, the report can be viewed by clicking on this link. While the physio's role was nominally to work on my physical deficiencies, she gained great insight into my thoughts and feelings, which helped me better understand how I felt about myself.
Speech and Language Therapy: Month 17
Part of the speech and language therapy I was given helped make me aware that I wasn't as limited as I had thought I was. Some of the therapy tasks involved me doing simple exercises on vocabulary and the like, similar to what I might have done at a school age. With hindsight I can see how this therapy was extremely useful to me, you can view / hear the output of some of the sessions I had by clicking on this link.
Volunteering: Months 12 to 24
About one year after my TBI I felt sure that returning to my previous professional role as an IT security consultant (or indeed any IT role) was unrealistic.
However, I felt well enough to want to have more purpose in my life, so I became engaged in various volunteering roles. I learned that the voluntary work I did is recognised as a recovery approach by the term "vocational rehabilitation". When I undertook my volunteering path it wasn’t with any objective towards getting back to work, as I never imagined it could be possible. I pursued volunteering simply because I wanted to have a vocational purpose to give me life satisfaction. With hindsight, my path through various volunteering positions was a structured approach which I don’t think could have been bettered if I was consciously deriving a way back into professional employment.
Volunteering turned out to be very successful for me, eventually returning to paid professional work was purely a (wonderful) by-product. Click on this link to see an overview of my journey through vocational rehabilitation.
Professional Work: Months 25 to 48
My return to professional work as an IT security consultant with the Metropolitan Police Service in London was an enormous event for me, fraught with concern / anxiety over whether I was still up to it. Nevertheless, I was delighted to be doing something I enjoyed and kept a detailed diary record for each day during my first week back, see link. I came to realise it wasn't the work I enjoyed so much, but the interaction with people I respected on a professional level, and dealing with challenging situations.
Retirement: Months 49+
I retired from professional employment in July 2019, facilitating my return to volunteering roles, from which I had found much satisfaction during my recovery. Click on this link, then scroll down to the bottom of the page (My Future) to view some of my volunteering activities.
I've often pondered the role of the National Health Service in my recovery, following this link takes you to a web page containing a few of my thoughts about the NHS.