Stories From Around The World

Christy from South Africa

The 10th of May 2008 was an exciting day for us as we were preparing to go to our Pastor’s daughter’s wedding. Added to that was that the next day was Mothers Day, 11th May 2008. Unknown to me, the next few hours were going to change our lives forever.

My son left for work at about 07:45 am on Sat the 10th May 2008 and my wife went into the bathroom to have a bath. A few minutes later my wife called out to me saying that her head was painful. It was not a loud cry nor did I notice any panic in her voice. I was still in bed at that time so I awoke to give her a painkiller, but the in the meantime my wife moved from the shower and sat on the toilet. As I approached, I noticed that she had diarrhea and was vomiting simultaneously.

I helped her get dressed and moved her to our bedroom. I phoned her sister to tell her that her sister was sick and she advised me to take her to the hospital and not wait for my doctor’s office to open. My wife’s sister and I both though that she had a severe bout of flu because of the symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea.

I had a bath, changed and tried to wake up my wife, but was shocked as I was unable to lift her up, there was no movement, no voice and she was limp. I knew something was wrong but did not know what it was. I called my neighbors and we carried my wife to my car. I drove with my wife to the hospital about 10 kms away.

She was wheeled immediately into the trauma unit and the trauma unit team tried frantically to stabilize her. All I could hear was the desperate attempt to find her vital signs and to establish what was wrong. Her heart beat continued to drop and her pulse was weak. I just stood there in tears praying to my God my Savior Jesus.

After about an hour, I walked out of the trauma unit unable to bear the sight any more and basically gave up any chance of her living. I called my pastor and my children and told them to come immediately to the hospital as mum was very critical. Many prayed, cried, and hoped for a miracle, but there was no sign of life.

The trauma team managed to stabilize her and about 2 hours later did a CAT scan and then an angiogram (requested by the neurosurgeon).

I found out when she was discharged that some scale(GL?) that they use to measure Coma was 3/15 when she was admitted.

We met the neurosurgeon at 15:00 hours the same day and he went on to explain what had happened. He mentioned that she had an aneurysm that ruptured and she would need to have surgery to clip the blood vessels. The term he used was subarachnoid hemorrhage. The operation was scheduled for the 11th May 2008 at 08:00 hours. It lasted 3 hours and she was moved into Acute Care. The surgeon told us that the operation was successful BUT we have to wait as this is a serious situation.

The next few days were very difficult for my family and me. My wife was alone in a separate room with all the machines, tubes in her mouth and she also had a ventilator to assist with her breathing. We prayed daily, read the Bible and I sung softly songs like, “You Are My Strength” and “Amazing Grace”. There were no movements at all for 6 days. The surgeon was concerned and requested another scan on the 17th May 2008.

On the 20th (9 days after the operation), movement was noticed on the right side. No sign of any movement on the left arm or leg.

This continued for another 8 days in the ICU and my wife started to move but could barely speak and was not able to get out of bed.

She started to progress, making frequent body movements, recognized most of the family and we were allowed to bring her home cooked meals like stew.

They had a speech therapist and a physiotherapist treating her daily and she was also assessed to go to a rehab center.

The problem was that there was a waiting period of 6 weeks. On the 6th ff June 2008, 1 day after my birthday, the surgeon told me that I could take her home.

My wife had spent 17 days in ICU and 11 days in a surgical ward.

I brought my wife home in a wheel chair unable to walk and she spoke in a very low voice. We did not give up at home as we prayed, churches, family and friends prayed, and a few days later we saw a miracle unfold before our eyes.

We waited for a place in the rehab clinic and in the meantime had the physiotherapist treat my wife at home. My wife’s speech improved significantly and she recognized everyone that came to see her. She was able to move her left arm and left leg. She started to read the Bible daily and spend time in prayer.

On the 13th June 2008 she went to church and stood up for prayer. Praise God this was the beginning of a miracle. She has continued to amaze us of her recovery and we are just grateful to God that she is well.

Today the 28th July 2008, my wife has regained full use of her whole body, cooking, walking, and performing light chores. Her memory of the Bible is absolutely amazing. She is able recite chapters of Psalms, like Psalms 115 and 116, without any problems.

If you did not see her in the hospital, you would not believe that she had brain surgery. It is amazing and an absolute miracle to see my wife the way she is now.

She does get tired after a few hours and sometimes forgets what happened yesterday, but she remembered my dad died 5 years ago yesterday and prayed for him. She does not have to go to a Rehab as the physiotherapist says she does not need to go as she has reached a plateau.

There is hope and miracles do happen. Thanks to all the doctors and nurses who toiled so hard to stabilize her and to Jesus our God who still heals today.

Diana from the Philippines

My name is Diana and I’m from the Philippines. I want to share the story of my beloved sister Analiza.

I’m a 28 year old and I’ve been working at a hospital for 6 years as a medical secretary for a pediatrician. Whenever my family or relatives got sick or hospitalized, I was the one who first got notified.

It was Sunday morning 7 am, I got a phone call from my sister. My sister Analiza was rushed to hospital because of losing consciousness, but my sister told me she complained severe headache (Analiza by the way is 18 years old-2nd year of college and taking up BS Psychology). I immediately called my neurologist doctor and asked him to take my sister’s case and she told me that my sister might have suffered a brain aneurysm. I was shocked and hoping she would survive.

My family and I met up at the hospital. I was in total shock with what I saw. She was lying on a stretcher, a tube in her mouth with ambubag to help her to breath. The doctors at the ER did not give us any assurance, they say that we have 40-60% chance. I have never cried so much in my entire life. The CT scan was done and the results were very bad. The doctor said we would have to wait to see if my sister would respond to the medicine and wait for the brain to stop swelling and then they would see if they could operate.

Tuesday morning the neurosurgeon talked to us. I already knew what was he going to say and I was right. I got mad because the medical procedures here in the Philippines are very poor and slow. My family and I were very traumatized by what happened to us, especially me. I felt I missed something and that’s why my sister died. But the doctors said that my sister’s case was A/V Malfunction. It was already formed when she was still in my mom’s womb. We love her so much.

I hope somebody will teach me how to recover and how they managed to overcome the pains they had. God Bless.

Sharon, A Very Lucky Survivor from Malaysia

Nineteen months ago, when I was 36 years old, on Monday 11am 6th Nov 2006, I was rushed to the Subang Jaya Medical Centre by my husband Ken when he saw me acting different. My speech was slurred and the right side of my face drooped downwards. I couldn’t even stand straight.

At 5pm that day, I was wheeled in to perform a 5 hour surgery to save my life. The doctors diagnosed me with Acute Intracerebral Hemorrhage, having had a stroke and told my family members I was in a critical condition with only a 30% chance of surviving. I had a ruptured brain aneurysm and was bleeding massively with blood pushing my brains to the left side. The bleeding could have started a few days before. My neurosurgeon was able to clip my broken vessel.

My headache started on Tuesday and became very bad the next day. I went to a clinic and the doctor gave me medication. I didn’t give it much thought because I am used to having headaches almost every month since adolescence. Normally my headaches would go away after a day and sometimes once or twice a year, I would have a bad headache until I threw up. All these would go away after a rest in bed. However by Friday midnight, my headache got worse and I had to lie down all the time and I kept throwing up. Ken sent me in to the hospital but the doctor sent me home after giving me a painkiller injection. I felt really horrible and requested a scan on my head. The doctor told me to make an appointment the following Monday with a neurosurgeon there. Luckily Ken didn’t wait that long to send me in a hospital on that fateful day. Anyway I went home and slept for the next 2 days. It never crossed our minds that I could be dying!

Before my surgery during consultation, another surgeon wanted to perform coiling on me but my surgeon insisted on clipping.(I am thankful for my surgeon on his decision and that saved my life!) My aneurysm is a highly complex multi-lobulated one and it is dangerous to perform coiling as I was already bleeding massively at that time.

When I came to after surgery, all the nurses and doctors were very happy that I could talk and move all my limbs. Up to now my surgeon still says I am a very lucky person. Now I am living a normal life except for the occasional mood swings, forgetfulness and shorter concentration span. However I would still have to go for CT scans every year to monitor one aneurysm (residual part of my bi-lobed aneurysm and 2 very small outpouches in my head which could be aneurysms).

If I had gone for a scan on the first or 2nd day of my headache, I might not have needed to have had open head brain surgery. If the bleeding hadn’t started, I could have opted for the coiling procedure. My advice for people who have headaches is to at least go for a scan and do not wait too long to seek treatment. If I had waited any longer, I might not be here to tell you my story.