Londoners’ experiences of life-changing injuries

Christopher

Male
Age at interview: 58

Brief outline: Christopher was on a skiing holiday when he fell 120 metres. He sustained a traumatic brain injury. He feels he has made a great recovery, but still has some memory and speech problems.

Background: Christopher is married and has three children aged, 14, 24 and 25. At the time of his injury he was the director of consultant surveyors firm. He has since left this job and is setting up his own consultancy service. Ethnic background' White/Caucasian.

Audio & video

Four years ago, Christopher was on a skiing holiday in Italy with his wife when he fell 120 metres and hit his head. They did not usually wear helmets, but decided to on this occasion. He was flown to hospital there and was later transferred back to the UK. He spent several months in hospital. Christopher remembers being in hospital, but at the time had no recognition of why he was there.
 
Since his injury Christopher experiences some memory problems and difficulty finding the words he wants to use to express himself. He worked with a neuropsychologist and a speech therapist to improve these problems. He also was supported by an occupational therapist, who assessed his ability to use public transport and manage his daily life. 
 
To help deal with his memory problems, Christopher makes sure he keeps a note of everything he has to do in his diary. But, he describes this as a two-edged sword because when you’ve written something down you might think, “Well, I don’t need to remember that anymore”. He also keeps reminders in his mobile phone, “which is fine as long as you keep it” up to date. 
 
Christopher returned to work after his injury, but spent fewer hours working than he used to. He had a difficult time convincing his insurance company of the impact his brain injury had on him. Before returning to work, he underwent testing by neuropsychologists and received rehabilitative care from an occupational therapist. In the end, he left the job and received a lump sum payment from his insurance company. 
 
Christopher informed the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) of his brain injury and gave back his driving license. Later, after observation tests carried out by a doctor his licence was returned to him. 
 
Christopher says that his wife has been instrumental in his recovery. He also received practical support from his children, who searched for information for him on the internet. 
 
He recommends that other newly-injured people “Be patient. Don’t expect that one day you’ll wake up and everything will be back to normal”. He also advises that you should “work out your own itinerary as to what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it”.

 

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