Graham with his daughter Joanne, aged 19, who visited him in hospital before her end of school prom

Graham’s brain haemorrhage story: “I went from working in intensive care to being there myself”

NHS pharmaceutical manager Graham, 58, started his 30-year career as a pharmacist at The Walton Centre, working across the hospital including in intensive care.

But in Easter 2017, the 58-year-old found himself a patient in the same hospital he had previously worked in when he suffered a sudden brain haemorrhage on his way back from the shops.

When Graham fell to the floor he hit his head, suffering an occipital fracture and was later put in a medically induced coma for four weeks.

His wife Jane, 55, from Liverpool, said: “Doctors were preparing us for the worst

“They literally saved his life in front of us. It was very surreal.”

As Jane had also worked as a pharmacist in intensive care early in her career, she could interpret all the medical information on Graham’s charts and machines – which was never encouraging.

But she forced herself to not look at the information while she spent those scary weeks with Graham on the ward.

Initially, Jane spoke to The Brain Charity’s staff based at The Walton Centre to seek legal advice over gaining power of attorney.

She said: “At the time I didn’t know what Graham’s recovery would be like, or whether he would.

“The Brain Charity helped me talk through different legal options.

“It was nice to have someone calm to talk to who could give me hope.

“When you’ve got a loved one on the verge of dying it was really good to be able to get good advice.

“I was also given a lot of information about The Brain Charity’s other services and it was a complete relief to know the support was out there.”

When dad-of-two Graham came out of his coma he had an acquired brain injury which caused him to struggle with his mental health, short term memory loss, mood swings and epileptic seizures. 

During the pandemic he received weekly calls from The Brain Charity’s phone befriending service.

Jane said: “The calls have been a lifeline, especially during the lockdown as Graham had been shielding.

“When mental health professionals fell silent during lockdown The Brain Charity were the first people to call to check if we were ok.

“For Graham to have someone who understands brain injury call each week has been very beneficial to his wellbeing and it doesn’t rely on him remembering to make the call.”

Photo: Graham with his daughter Joanne, aged 19, who visited him in hospital before her end of school prom

Categories: COVID-19, Help in hospitals, Info & advice, Legal advice, Phone befriending

Published: 31 August 2021

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