Hospital Rehabilitation: Month 3
There are general observations about my time at the Haywood Hospital. There's also my diary entries I made to record my recovery progress at the Haywood and events which happened to me, or around me. Click on this link to view the page.
I became frustrated in trying to explain how my brain felt - I used the term "cloudy", but I doubt anything could convincingly describe how brain trauma feels. I have now regained a reasonably healthy command of English language and can still remember what thoughts crossed my mind. However, I remain at a loss in attempting to describe how it felt. I believe it is one of those matters which has to be experienced to be properly understood, and it's not a journey anyone takes by choice.
I think the term recovery may have been confusing for me, as I wrongly interpreted recovery as meaning getting back to how I once was. When it seemed clear that this would not happen I felt I was never going to recover. For me, having some very modest expectations aligned to the term recovery might have helped me feel like I was making progress.
Measuring my recovery progress appeared to me to be arbitrary. I may have benefited from being told that the measures were not necessarily an indication or likelihood of a satisfactory recovery. I seemed to struggle accepting the psych tests that were done to me. I knew I was going to be rubbish at the short term memory tests because I didn't have access to any of my coping strategies.
I wasn't prepared for the outside world - despite getting as much advice as humanly possible from the wonderful staff.
Acceptance: Month 4
I wrote about my thoughts on how I managed the frustrations which I knew I was susceptible to. 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. Click on this link to view the page.
Neurosurgeon Review: Month 5
Click on this link to view a letter my neurosurgeon (who operated on my brain on 31st July 2015) sent to my GP following a meeting with him 2 weeks after my hospital discharge on 4th November 2015. He mentions the severity of my injuries and the remarkable progress made in the rehabilitation 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 9 months after my TBI. There's nothing particularly insightful in the list (which is rather personal), but I thought it useful to record anything that came to mind. Click on this link to view it.
Home Rehabilitation: Months 8 to 13
I kept a diary and notes of how I felt about 8 months after my TBI, you can view it by clicking on this link. I used the records as a barometer as without reference to how poorly I had felt previously it was difficult to recognise the progress which I was 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 kind comments.
External Support: Months 10 to 22
Click on this link to view minutes of meetings and some tasks I underwent under their instruction of a group of occupational therapists, psychologists and physiotherapists assisting me.
Physiotherapist Assessment: Month 10
I was given an assessment by my physio 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 and helped me understand how I felt about myself at that time.
Speech and Language Assistance: Month 17
During my recovery at home, I had speech and language assistance. Part of my speech assistance was actually making me aware that I wasn't as limited vocally as I thought I was. Part of my language assistance had me doing simple exercises like I might have done at a school age. With hindsight I can see how this assistance 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 the voluntary work I did is recognised as a recovery approach by the name of "vocational rehabilitation". When I undertook my volunteering path it wasn’t with any objective towards getting back to work, as I never dreamt it would be possible. I pursued volunteering simply because I wanted to have a vocational purpose. With hindsight, my path through various volunteering positions was a structured approach which I don’t think I could have improved upon if I was consciously deriving a way back into professional employment. However, at the time, I simply did these things because I wanted to get more satisfaction from my life. 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 was an enormous event for me, fraught with concern / anxiety over whether I was still up to it. Nevertheless, I was delighted to be back doing something I enjoyed and kept a detailed diary record for each day during my first week. I came to realise it wasn't the work I enjoyed so much, it was the interaction with people and dealing with challenging situations. Click on this link to access a page where you view my diary entries.
Retirement: Months 49+
I retired from professional employment in July 2019, facilitating my continuance of volunteering from which I have found much satisfaction. Click on this link, then scroll down to the bottom of the page (My Future) to view my volunteering activities.
I have a very positive outlook on life where I consider every lived day beyond my TBI as a bonus. I can sum up my recovery in a single word, contented. Click on this link to see my thoughts about contentment and my life perspective.
I pondered the role of the NHS in my recovery and created a page containing a few comments about my NHS passion, click on this link to view it.
At the Haywood Hospital during my early days of recovery, about 90 days after my TBI.
At my local library in my volunteer role as an 'IT buddy'