Londoners’ experiences of life-changing injuries


Age at interview: 36

Brief outline: Bryan was born with a visual impairment. He has also sustained two head injuries, which resulted in hearing loss and some difficulty concentrating.

Background: Bryan is single, lives alone and is employed in an administrative role by a charity, which supports disabled people. Ethnic background' White Scottish/British.

Audio & video

Bryan was born with a condition called congenital lebers amaurosis, which means he has been visually impaired since birth. He has about five percent of vision and is a long cane user. He has also sustained two head injuries. The first happened after a night out when he was a student, but he has no memory of how it occurred. He had emergency surgery to repair the damage to his fractured skull and was kept “heavily sedated because of the trauma of the injury”. A further operation identified that one of his hearing bones (the stapes) had been damaged and this was replaced by a prosthesis. This improved his hearing. 
Bryan describes being desperate to find out what had happened to cause this injury but was unable to because there were no witnesses. He says he had “a lot of feelings of guilt, of shame that it had happened” because it occurred after he had been drinking alcohol. He also worried that his friends would make judgements about him.
Bryan’s second injury occurred when he fell from the platform at an underground tube station. He hit his head and broke his ankle. After being discharged from hospital, he spent time recovering in his flat. He was unable to get out and about because he was not able to manage crutches and a long cane. He felt that some hospital staff were a bit judgemental of him because it was the second head injury he had. However, others were kind and reassuring and ensured he got the appropriate care he needed. 
Since both head injuries, Bryan has noticed that he cannot concentrate for prolonged periods of time. The strategies he employs to deal with this include moving on to a new task every half hour and ensuring his colleagues and boss know about his problems. 
Bryan still uses the tube with assistance from staff. He needs to arrange to have assistance 48 hours in advance and thinks this is unfair; he should be able to turn up and use the tube like everyone else. He believes that one of the most important things that helps him get by is being communicative with people.



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