An account told by the wife of a brain injury survivor

Description of Injury Event and Initial feelings: How does one put this in words? Roger was found unconscious in Bushy Park, having come off his bike on the way to work. My initial feelings were fear at the thought of his death

How did you learn about potential injury impact on survivor? Difficult question because I’ve no idea what you’re asking. Do you mean did someone explain how badly Rog would be affected? Or how he would feel about how badly he was affected? In either case the answer is – I don’t remember anyone doing either. But the whole event is clouded. All I remember is knowing I had to get Rog home and then get him as well as I could.

How did this make you feel? Terrified

Where did you learn where you could seek help? Nowhere

Where treatment took place: St George's Hospital, Tooting, London

Thoughts which you feel other survivors families should hear about: It’s overwhelming initially, but that passes. Juggling what you feel is right and what an impatient patient feels they can do takes a certain amount of diplomacy. And it’s scary when you don’t know if what you’re doing is right. You have to learn a whole new way of living together. Unless you’re incredibly lucky, you’re never going back to how things were.

What did ‘helpful help’ look like? And why do you feel it was helpful?Family/friends/colleagues dealing with other things so I could concentrate on helping Rog. I had no official “help” and to be honest I would probably have rejected it. In the early days my sister took over as ‘social secretary’. She fielded all calls and emails asking for information. She also kept me sane and made sure I took care of myself. She’s an amazing woman and I would have found everything much harder without her support.

What did ‘unhelpful help’ look like? Why do you think it was unhelpful?

Constant demands from other people in the early days to know how he was, what was happening, can they pop over. Most meant well, I’m sure, but some felt they were feeding their own vicarious needs. I needed all I had within me to deal with caring for Rog to start with. It was a new way of living and very scary. I didn’t know what I was doing and everything was done on instinct.

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