Paul’s subarachnoid haemorrhage story: “I had to relearn how to walk and fell into debt. The Brain Charity was a breath of fresh air”

Dad-of-two Paul, 55, had experienced severe headaches since 2012.

He underwent several scans in hospital, but nothing showed up – with doctors putting the pain down to tension and stress.

But in 2017, Paul, from Culcheth, Warrington, woke up with an extreme headache and began vomiting. When his daughter came in to check on him she found him collapsed on the floor, and he was rushed to hospital.

Paul was transferred to The Walton Centre, where it was discovered he had experienced a subarachnoid haemorrhage, a rare stroke caused by bleeding on the surface of the brain which can be fatal.

Cabin fitter Paul said: “I had to learn how to walk again, but I wouldn’t give up.

“From bringing up two kids on my own, I’d built up that resilience.”

Doctors found Paul’s subarachnoid haemorrhage had been caused by a brain aneurysm, a bulge in a blood vessel caused by a weakness in its wall which can suddenly burst.

He underwent a coiling operation, where tiny platinum coils are passed through a thin tube into the aneurysm, to prevent it growing or rupturing again.

Before his brain haemorrhage, Paul had been self-employed, working as a property maintainer.

But, unable to work as he recovered once he was discharged from hospital 10 days later, he started to experience financial difficulties.

Paul said: “I started getting into a lot of money trouble.

“Before the haemorrhage, I’d had a successful business and regular clients I didn’t want to let down, but now I was struggling to get up the stairs.

“Being unable to work full time meant I started racking up debt from bills and rent.

“I had so much going round in my head – the debts were swirling and I was feeling the pressure to provide as a single dad.”

Paul met one of The Brain Charity’s Info and Advice Officers at The Walton Centre in February 2020.

The Brain Charity organised for Paul to receive a grant on his utility bills, and have payments capped at a lower monthly fee.

His council tax debts were cleared and capped, his credit card debt interest was written off and this meant he was able to pay other utilities arrears he owed.

Most significantly, we assisted Paul to apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and he was awarded a monthly welfare benefits payment.

Paul said: “The Brain Charity being involved was a breath of fresh air.

“They took over all the paperwork and went through it meticulously, typed up things for me and got the ball rolling – something I never would have been able to do.

“The PIP process was incredibly trying and without the help from The Brain Charity I would have never got through that process.

“It’s a complicated and unjust system and is so black and white.

“The emotional impact was like a massive weight lifted off my shoulders. I compare where I am now with back then, and it’s a place I have not been for so many years.

“It’s as though the slate has been cleaned for me going forward. I am able to listen to my body and know when I need a day off.

“The Brain Charity and the Walton Centre has been a marriage made in heaven. They made such a difference.

“This is my life now, I’m really happy now and I know I can manage.”

Categories: Help in hospitals, Info & advice, Welfare benefits

Published: 28 April 2022

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