A-Z

Marina

Age at interview: 54
Brief Outline: Marina's son Daniel (Interview 12) sustained a serious traumatic brain injury just over a year ago in 2011. Thankfully, Daniel survived and has made significant progress in his recovery. Marina looked after him during his recovery.
Background: Marina is married with two sons, aged 22 and 15. Daniel (Interview 12) is her older son. He had a traumatic brain injury just over a year before she was interviewed. Marina runs a cr'che. Ethnic background' White British.

More about me...

Marina cared for her son Daniel (Interview 12) during his recovery from a serious traumatic brain injury sustained in a car accident. Marina, her husband, their younger son and Daniel’s girlfriend were told that each hour was critical in Daniel’s recovery. 
 
In the initial stages of his injury when he was in a coma, Marina spent a great deal of time in hospital or telephoning the ward when she was at home to make sure Daniel was ok. She said she hated it when the doctors came to speak to her because they never had any good news. Fortunately, Daniel made a good recovery, much better than expected of someone with his level of injury. Marina believes that having the television on in his room and having lots of visitors stimulated his brain and aided his recovery. 
 
Daniel was discharged to a rehabilitation unit for around three months where he had physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and neuropsychological assessments. When he returned home, one of Marina’s main roles was to make sure he was safe. He could be “disorientated” and unsure “where things were kept”. She explains that his balance was quite badly affected and he needed help in the shower. They got a rail fitted on the stairs and aids fitted in the shower to help him. As his mother and carer she feels “quite fortunate that for toileting he was able to manage himself. He was independent”. 
 
Marina also ensured that Daniel claimed the disability benefits that he was entitled to although neither she nor Daniel want him to have to stay on benefits for the rest of his life. Daniel is currently preparing himself to get back to work and is attending courses to improve his skills and CV. 
 
Marina feels “lucky enough that Daniel’s brain did recover”. When she saw patients in vegetative states she was reminded that “your whole life can be turned upside down”. She is very grateful for Daniel’s outcome and wanted to “thank God, the neurosurgeons, the doctors and the technology”.

 

 

Marina begged the consultant not to give up on her son (Daniel).

Marina begged the consultant not to give up on her son (Daniel).

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

I did ask him, “Had he seen injuries as bad as Daniel’s before?” And he said he had. He said, “But I’ve also seen MRI scans where there have been very bad injuries and the patient hasn’t made a great recovery.” So to me then that sounded as though there might be hope. But when he’d finished talking, I didn’t really have any questions. By this stage, you know, we were crying quite a bit. As he was leaving I said, “Please don’t give up on Daniel, that’s all I ask of you. Just try, try, try and do all you can.” And he did say that he would do all he could, but he would have to see what would be in Daniel’s best interests and I thought, ooh! You know, he was straight talking with us, as gentle as he could be, but the enormity of it was, was quite horrific and he left us then, it was 3 o’clock on the Friday afternoon and Daniel took quite a turn for the worst and at 7 o’clock the nurses came out to say that only Mum and Dad could visit Daniel as he was extraordinarily poorly.  

 

When Marina’s son opened his eyes everyone was overjoyed, but it took time for him to become aware.

When Marina’s son opened his eyes everyone was overjoyed, but it took time for him to become aware.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
So, that was all fine and then three weeks Daniel was still in the coma, and another consultant came to see us who spoke along the lines that when they’d, when Daniel had been brought into [hospital], he was already in his own very deep coma and they had sedated him further, but in their opinion they didn’t think that Daniel would waken from his own deep coma. So they were preparing us for the fact when sedation was off, he might still not come round. And they were then thinking long term that he could be in hospital for six months and then require specialist rehabilitation and they thought they would refer us to [rehabilitation unit]. Well it’s a big centre, and because there’s such a long waiting list, they wanted us to start the paperwork straight away. For Daniel’s needs that was going to be the best hospital, the best rehabilitation. 
 
So we said, “Yes, fine, you know, start the procedure.” So we never knew when they were going to take off sedation, they didn’t ever let us know. But the next day when we went in his girlfriend, Daniel’s girlfriend and brother went in to see him, and they came running out and said Daniel had opened his eyes. And we were ecstatic. And I thought this is it. This is it. You know, he’s back with us. Totally naïve in how a traumatic brain injury affects. And of course, although his eyes were open, he wasn’t aware. And I definitely wasn’t aware that just by having your eyes open, it doesn’t mean to say that you have any knowledge or recognition of anyone. 

 

 

Marina phoned and visited the rehabilitation centre until she secured a place for her son to...

Marina phoned and visited the rehabilitation centre until she secured a place for her son to...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
So the next day a speech therapist rang, and I said to her, you know, “He’s only 21. He’s had a traumatic brain injury. He’s still not communicating and needs, has problems walking.” And she said, “Well, you know, you can’t jump the system.” But I said, “Well you know, he can’t swallow properly and breathing can be difficult.” And she said, “Okay, well have him come in for an assessment next Monday.” So I thought great, you know, at least that’s a start in the right direction.
He had an assessment of like between one a half hours to two hours. They asked us a few questions, but it was really Daniel they were focussing on, which was brilliant. 
 
And at the end of the meeting they said, “Yes, he was urgently requiring rehab.” And they had an appointment booked within two days for him to start speech therapy. And we were so delighted. But I did feel that he was, when Daniel was discharged from [rehabilitation hospital], he was well enough to come home, but then there was a lack of the next step, and again you know, I feel passionate that without us ringing ourselves the [hospital] team, Daniel would not have made any progress whatsoever because, although we were sent home with exercises for him to do, he wouldn’t do them for us. “I’m tired. I don’t want to do them.” And because of the emotion within the family, of course, we’re not going to pressurize him. Or, you know, say, “If you don’t do the exercises then you won’t get better.” But when you have your third party and they knew when he didn’t do the exercises because they could tell by his progress.

 

 

Marina’s son’s friends came to visit him in hospital when he had come round from his coma. She...

Marina’s son’s friends came to visit him in hospital when he had come round from his coma. She...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Meanwhile, he had so many visitors and lots of friends and family and each one would go in and offer a different story to him and he would obviously just look. He wasn’t responding to any of us. If we asked him to squeeze our hand, he wasn’t able to. If we asked him to blink on command, he wasn’t able to. Fortunately, in Intensive Care they have televisions in there, and he always loved music and sport. So we constantly kept those channels on. And his eyes would look across at the TV, but he wouldn’t sort of respond to anything. 
 
So, you know, this went on really probably for another three weeks. There was no response from him. And if he saw anyone coming to his bedside he would shy away like he would when he was a 2 year old and he was sort of in my arms, and wary of someone, his head would go to one side and he’d look strange at them as much as to say, I don’t know who you are. 
 
And as I said, this went on for like nearly three weeks, and then one Sunday, friends went in and he, he smiled at them and everyone was sort of, you know, amazed, “Oh smile for me, and smile for me.” But he would only select the certain ones that he would smile for. And then we realised that he was beginning to become aware, and, you know, that was quite amazing. He would sort of have sort of half recognition by the smiles, for people.

 

 

Her son has begun to play football with his friends again. They worry about him heading the ball.

Her son has begun to play football with his friends again. They worry about him heading the ball.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

He was at the park two weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon and, as I said, he’s only just started playing football again. So you know, it’s all aches and pains and, “Oh my legs”, and yeah, “Oh great, great, fine, have a bath, you’ll get over it”. And he came home this one Sunday evening and he said, “Oh I was playing football today.” And I said, “Yes, great, that’s good.” He said, “And I headed the ball.” I said, “Oh that’s great.” He said, “Yeah, but,” he said, “All my friends shouted out, ‘Daniel, what are you doing?’” And he said, “What? What do you mean? What am I doing? I headed the ball.” He said, “I forgot I had a brain injury.” He said, “I forgot all about the accident.” And I thought that was totally amazing. I said, “Well that was excellent.” And he said, “Yeah, but he said they went mad. They said, ‘What are you are doing that for? You know you can’t do it.” And then he said, “And then I thought, oh so I can’t.” You know, “I hope nothing happens.” And I said, “Well if it happens it happens. And if it doesn’t that’s great.” And he was absolutely fine. No problem.  

 

Being in London probably made a huge difference to Marina’s son after his brain injury. He...

Being in London probably made a huge difference to Marina’s son after his brain injury. He...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I suppose we’re fortunate that the trauma centres were set up, not long before Daniel had his accident. He had, he actually had the accident in [place] in [place], which is a good like, 30 minutes away from here; we’re in [place]. And then he was taken straight to hospital, which is in London. If the trauma centres were not in place we have been told that had Daniel been taken to a local hospital from [place] and then transferred to a specialist unit dealing with neurological issues, vital time would have been wasted and he probably wouldn’t be here now. By sending him straight to the trauma centre where they had neurosurgeons on site straight away, he got immediate care straight away in the, I think it’s like the ‘golden hour’ they call it. He had medication straight up. So that made a huge difference.
 
So I feel by living in London. Having those, accessibility to those services definitely made a big huge difference. You know, without HEMS coming out to him, getting his airways clear and getting oxygen straight to him. He was worked upon the whole way in the ambulance up to hospital. And then having the trauma centre on site, neurosurgeons on hand, operating, you know, within a few hours of, you know, after the accident, definitely no time was wasted. And, you know, looking back I think that’s what I see is why his recovery was so, you know, was so good. Because everything was just there 

 

Previous Page
Next Page