HYPOXIC BRAIN INJURY: Hi my partner had a hypoxic... - Headway

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Hi my partner had a hypoxic brain injury, possibly upto 30minutes without oxygen.. The staff said he would not wake up from his coma and if He did, He would be in a persistant vegetive state due to moderate brain damage.. It has been 5mths, He is now awake, alert, feeds & shaves himself, walks with assistance.... They are saying that cognitively this is as good as he'll get and everyday, He forgets everything from the last day.... We as a family are going out of our minds with worry... He has proven them all wrong so far, Do anyone have a similar story and possible outcomes?

31 Replies

Yes, my story is like this. I was told to put my husband into care as he would never be able to do anything for himself. That was 28 years ago. He couldn't remember anything, dress himself, do anything really. Since then he has run a business, led a fairly normal life. He still has some memory and cognitive problems but no-one who didn't know him well would think there was anything wrong with him. Unfortunately he is getting older now and has ageing problems but don't be put off - 5 months is no time at all with a brain injury. Try to help him by doing things that stretch him a bit (without tiring him out), play simple card games, talk to him about things where he needs to think a bit harder, anything like that. Just give it time, his brain is still recovering and it will be many months yet before you need to start worrying about the outcome. He will probably surprise you!


Clgn83 in reply to Hidden

Thankyou so much Jan, thats so comforting at this horrible time... may I ask as I did not mention my partner can talk but does really struggle and tends to just mime... Did your husband have speech problems after his accident?

Char xx

Hidden in reply to Clgn83

No he didn't have speech problems - but he had a problem with everything else! He thought he was still a young man, forgot he had children and grandchildren etc. Don't worry, hopefully it will soon be back to normal


Clgn83 in reply to Hidden

Thankyou xx

Angelia1234 in reply to Hidden

As a family what things did you do to help him??

Some people make a reasonable recovery after HBI. It depend how long they were without oxygen, or how long they were getting some oxygen but not enough, did they get oxygen etc. quickly afterwards?

The Doctors give you the worst outcome.

Five months is still very early stages. Keep going, try to put in place memory aids so he gets in the habit of doing things. I had small clocks with the day of the week/month in the kitchen bedroom and bathroom as I couldn't remember what day it was, totally disoriented. Don't get snappy when he's struggling with words.

Hello Stardrop, thanks for your reply... They believe it was 30mins at the most... Anything after this and He was cooled with oxygen and stable..

Thankyou x

I can sympathise with you. My son also has a hypoxic brain injury following a cardiac arrest at age 18. We were also told the outlook was really bad but he amazed the doctors with progress made in the first few months after his collapse. He is now home but struggles with memory issues and cognitively, he has a university place but I doubt he will ever go now 😭. Life changing but do not give up hope, the brain is amazing but it takes time. Keep strong - I know how difficult that is but try to take a day at a time. X

Clgn83 in reply to Janeleverton

Thankyou Janeleverton xx

Would like an update on your son. is he continuing to improve. My son has an hbi too.

He is now on a rehab programme at the Wolfson centre in Roehampton. He travels there independently having learnt the journey and is now learning strategies to compensate for his shortcomings. His short term memory remains very poor. At times we feel despair but he has come a long way........

The Wolfson appears very good it’s where I’ve started my rehab, though my injury is mild.

How is your son?

How as a family did you help him?

No experience with this type of injury but give headway a call and check out their e books. Also try Tina M Sullivan ' Nourish Your Noggin' cookbook and have a look at drdiane.com for a book on brain injury. You can get both on amazon.

Your husband has made progress and it's early days. Keep up the good work to support him and remember to have some free time for yourself if you can. Those books will help you understand how complex a brain injury is.

I hope he continues to improve.

Clgn83 in reply to jayne_h

Thankyou Jane_h xx

Clgn83 in reply to jayne_h

Thankyou xx

Hi, my husband sustained a hypoxic brain injury in August. I was told he would not recover. Please message me if you want to chat more x x

Chris1082 in reply to MaryLou13

Hello Mary Lou.. My partner had a cardiac arrest 2 weeks ago and I was told today that he will probaby wake up but will not be able to do independant living and should be sent to a nursing home. I would love to chat with somebody who has been through this. I am terrified... Thank you..

How did he do?

How did he do?

Oh yes I can relate to this totally. My husband was also without oxygen for about 1/2 an hour. We were told he wouldn't survive the night, and as the next day was our daughter's birthday I was left hoping he would die before midnight and not after...

My husband walks, dresses himself, talks (when he wants to) etc but has severe memory problems. His short term memory is usually less that 5 minutes, which means he isn't safe to be left alone. We got lots of helpful advice from our local Headway group but nothing has brought his memory back. We were told that most improvement happens in the first 2 years so the more stimulation you can provide now could help in the long term.


Clgn83 in reply to mp3mills

Hello J, thanks for your feedback... When did your husband have his injury? X

Hi his was in May 2004 but after the first couple of months there has been no more improvement. He is still a very intelligent man in lots of respects but can't remember what he was doing a few minutes ago.

All I can say is that initially there were a lot of funny moments while we got used to his new foibles - washing his hair 4 times while in the bath for example - but now he rarely surprises us any more.

Hi! I would love to hear an update about your husband. Mine is almost 5 months since his cardiac arrest/anoxic brain injury, I'm his primary caregiver at home. He still has a short term memory span of only minutes. It seems the long term prognosis is so much more bleak for peopke with hypoxic injuries than it is for other kinds of TBI... has your husband's short term memory improved even a little? Wishing you well, thanks for posting..,

Hi, it has now been 15 years and no improvement at all in his memory. We have just got used to it. Every now and then something seems to stick and he remembers it but we haven't found a pattern to these random things.

I hope you get to see some improvement.

Wow. Sadly, my instincts say that will be true of my husband's prognosis too. It has been four months since his heart attack/hypoxic injury, and his short term memory is still virtually absent, a span of mere minutes (he'll eat a great meal I cooked, then literally minutes later, when he can still probably taste it in his mouth, he'll say "so what are we doing about dinner?")

Does this absence of short term mean your husband has always required 24 hr supervision? And are you his primary caregiver, but with help coming in? Sorry to ask, your situation just sounds identical to mine and I'm trying to get an idea of what's ahead. And I'm in the U.S., so it's interesting to see what kind of services might be available to you in the UK that aren't available to me here... thanks so much for any and all replies!

Yes, they do sound very similar. He will also eat a meal and have no idea what it was by the time he has taken his plate into the kitchen. He needs 24 hour supervision and I am the one who does most of it! We do get several hours a week from Social Services so that I can follow a few hobbies and go shopping etc.

One piece of advice I was given and I quote to all Carers that I come across is that we don't HAVE to care. Providing the cost of the help from social services costs less than if they were to put him in a residential home then they will give me as many hours as I need. This is probably totally different in USA though.

Hello... Two weeks ago my partner suffered a cardiac arrest and he is in a coma. The first week they had him sedated and cooled. He had shown sign of waking up and his mri showed normal and he is responsive to pain. But now he is having seizures and is unresponsive, although I have seen subtle responses, the doctors and nurses dont seem to take me seriously. Today the new doctor on rotation came in and just gave him a slight pinch on the shoulder and told the nurse to send him up to neurology tomorrow and then from there to a nursing home. When I asked the doctor if he thought he was never going to wake up he said "He will probably wake up but he is never going to do independant living again". He was so cold and calais. I am horrified and terrified. But your stories have given me renewed hope.

This is how im feeling now, how is your partner all these months later?

Hi just read your story. I’m in need of hope to. How is he doing now and any tips ?

Dr are very negative and I’m in a position where I have to walk in to hospital and pray that he’s still alive albeit in a veg state. They put a do not resuscitate on his file as he was medically not meeting thier criteria for survival.

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