Londoners’ experiences of life-changing injuries


Age at interview: 42

Brief outline: Adrian came off his motorbike in 2001 and sustained a traumatic brain injury. He has no memory of the crash or the initial stages of his recovery and rehabilitation. He has successfully learned to walk and talk again, but has some memory problems.

Background: Adrian is divorced and lives alone. He worked as an accountant at an investment bank until his head injury. He now volunteers at Headway, the brain injury charity. Ethnic background' White/British.

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Adrian and his friend were riding their motorbikes to Brighton when he crashed. His friend who was accompanying him called the paramedics and Adrian was flown to hospital for emergency care. 
Adrian was then transferred to a rehabilitation hospital where he had physiotherapy, and speech and language therapy to learn to walk and talk again. He relearned daily living skills, like cooking and cleaning, with the help of an occupational therapist. He has no memory of the early stages of rehabilitation, and says, “Only the scars I’ve got on my body show me what I’ve been through”. 
Since his injury, Adrian has problems with memory and stamina or fatigue. He uses his iPhone as a memory aid, making notes of the things he has done during the day and scheduling the things he needs to do. He gets tired quite easily after a stimulating day, so he takes naps when he needs them. For him, “Resting’s not fixing the problem. Sleeping is the answer”. He has also found that he has lost his sense of taste and smell. 
Initially, Adrian felt angry and questioned God, saying “Why me?” But then felt he was the best person to be put in this situation as he could take on the challenge. He has since become a Christian, partly because he knew people prayed for him while he was in hospital. One was his cousin’s friend, who he later married. He describes how they just clicked the first time they met, but did not make each other happy in the long-term and later divorced.
Despite having to give up work after his injury, Adrian is financially secure because he had life insurance before his injury. He now volunteers at Headway several days in the week and feels it is important for him to have a reason to get up each day. He has a close relationship with his family and friends who he sees often.
Adrian wants to encourage other survivors of brain injury to think positively' “Don’t think about what you can’t do, think about what you can do”. After brain injury you “learn all the time” new ways to cope with your new life. 



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