Welcome to my survivor story! MY name is Naomi Baldini, after years of feeling alone I started Alphabet Brains in May 2016. It's a community for brain injury survivors on a mission to raise awareness of life after brain surgery and brain injury by publishing survivor’s stories, guest blog posts and much more!
Brain Injury: Large right frontal extradural hematoma
Brain Surgery: Right frontal craniotomy and evacuation of EDH
Date: 21st February 2013
It was a cold February night and I was visiting my friend in York at the time. I was just about to go and brush my teeth when I tripped over my feet and fell down the stairs.
I passed out for 10 minutes in a pool of blood. When my friend woke me up he asked if I wanted an ambulance, in my dazed and confused state I said no. I went to sleep.
I woke up the next day at 4pm after my friend had been trying to wake me up for hours.
All the above is what my friend told me as I have no memory of the fall and what happened after apart from a few seconds of blurred memories:
• I went for a shower (I don’t remember the shower but I know I went for one)
• I threw up a lot of times. I know now that I was throwing up brown stomach bile, my friend called an ambulance after this.
• The ambulance came. The paramedic looked in my eyes and said something about a concussion.
• My last memory is throwing up in the ambulance and apologizing.
The next thing I remember is waking up in the ICU at Hull Hospital after my surgery.
Now, it gets quite scary from here. Something I haven’t been able to get over:
My sister said I called her twice while waiting in the hospital. I said “I’m in A&E I fell down the stairs” and then about a minute later I said “I’m in A&E and I don’t know why” she rang my mum. When she called back we had a conversation for about half an hour. Then all sudden she said it went silent and all she heard was people shouting. I assume I passed out. Not only that but the fact I was alone in hospital for god knows how long and I went for a CT scan that I have no memory of scares the hell out of me even to this day.
I don’t remember much from my hospital days, I slept a lot and ate bad food. My friends and family came to visit every day. I remember there was a draining tube in my brain and when they pulled it out I was scared, rightly so – it felt horrible.
I had a bad black eye due to the fall. I later learnt that I had a fractured skull and jaw.
I went home 5 days later. My mum stayed with me to look after me, she was incredible. After 3 days, I was violently sick and threw up about 20 times. I was rushed to A&E, was given fluids to re-hydrate me and admitted for a week and a half. This night they came to do some tests to see how I was. I could only walk about 2 steps and this was with the help of my mum and a doctor.
One thing I’ll never forget? Getting staples pulled out of my head. There’s nothing else to say on that really.
I went home and my mum stayed with me for 2 months. She was so amazing during this time (and still is now) if it wasn’t for her my recovery process would have been almost impossible. We even made headbands together to cover my scar when I was in public.
I’ve had a lot of appointments since then, including:
• Neuropsychological Assessment
• Memory Tests
• Occupational Therapy
• Cognitive Behavior Therapy
• Group Therapy
• CT Scans
• Maxilla-Facial Surgery
Charities and Services, I’ve used:
• Northumberland Head Injuries
• Northumberland Talking Therapy Service (MHCO)
Problems I’m currently living with:
• Chronic fatigue – This is the one thing that frustrates me and gets me down. I’m constantly working out what I can and can’t do because of how it will affect me. When it’s bad, my body feels like it’s made out of rocks. I must take naps every other day. Everything is a thought-out decision because of fatigue.
• Mixing left and right up
• Placing shapes in the wrong place (Like after I clean the hob I can never put the hob rack on the right way. Like a child who hasn’t quite figured out how to do a jigsaw yet)
• Remembering new things and them staying in my head
• Walking into a room and forgetting why (I know this happens other people without a brain injury but it happens a lot more with me)
• Forgetting what I’m talking about half way through a conversation
• Noises. I can’t concentrate on things if there’s too much noise. If someone is talking to me and the tv/radio is on I’ll have to turn it off. Little noises in the backgrounds can make me feel like this too.
• Taking too much information in at once
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Thank you for reading :)