Does anyone have a similar experience that could help lead me and help me understand what the future holds??

Hi all,

Early last September I passed out in the Kitchen (reasons of which are still unknown) and falling backwards my head hit the concrete floor.

Not to be too gruesome, my wife found me in a pool of blood unconcious. I was taken to Leeds Neurological unit where I was diagnosed having a subdural Haematoma, Occipital and cranial skull fractures and a large (3cms) contusion to the right frontal lobe.

I stayed in hospital for 9 days, during which time I was pretty ill as you can imagine. However, I became increasingly aware that i was deaf in my left ear and I couldn't walk unaided due to balance and dizziness.

Later it was found that i had suffered damage to the nerve to my ear and my inner ear was most probably not working.

I returned to work on a part-time basis in Late November and have been slowly building up my hours, I am currently working 5 hours per day, only reaching 5 days per week this week.

Since about xmas time I don't feel like I have mademuch improvement, both in terms of the balance and the brain injury. After about 4 hours my head starts to ache and the buzzing which is there from the hearing loss gets worse. This is especially true at work. I also feel a long way from driving again at present.

I am told that the head aches and buzzing is due to fatigue, brought on by the executive functions I am required to do at work and when I go out of the house. My work are stating to lose patiance i think and I am worried that i will have to change my job, lose salary etc. They inadvertantly put pressure on me to do things which cause the fatigue to worsen/escalate. They cannot understand that 7 months after the accident I am not recovered.

Please, if you have any info/experience on how long I am going to be this way and what i can do to help the recovery i would love to hear them. I am really struggling to understand this, I do not know anyone else who has or is recovering from TBI. I feel like I will never improve and don't know what to think for the future. Everything seems to be on hold in my life!!

18 Replies

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  • Hi Billybb, do you have a means to speak on a private level with a work first aid person or a boss about the exclusion of work duties that may cause the side effects of the TBI to worsen. Maybe there needs to be some new plans that bring your work up to date with your current recovery level. Finding the balance. If this can happen then it will help things for you. You should not have to change your job if it works physically.

    I had a black out, bruising but no fracture in Aug 2008.

  • Hi Ginakiwi, thank you for your post.

    I have given them some leaflets that I have printed from the headway site. My immediate boss (Director) still doesn't seem to get it. They sent me to an Occ health doctor before xmas. He was good, but seemed to give them an expectation that I would be fully recovered and driving by 6-7 months (about now). I feel a long way from that at the moment.

    How are you now from your black out in 2008? Should I be feeling better by now? No-one seems to understand TBI. Did you find this?

    I am 43 years old and have been really active until now. My career has been very important to me my whole working life.

  • it s worth seeking legal advice, because if you have a disability which now affects your job, your company has a duty of care to reasonable adjustment to assist you in doing your job. and if that means changing procedures or workloads then as long as this is reasonable then they must comply (what is reasonable depends on the type of work, and the size of the company, a larger company with more resources has a larger scope of what is reasonable than a small company where you are the only person doing that job.

    however they also have a legal duty to try and find you alternative employment within the company.

    i had help from the access to work team when i still could work, and they provided over £10,000 worth of equipment and taxis to and from work

    a bit more about the access to work can be found here (its not just access to new work, it helps you stay in your current job too)

    gov.uk/access-to-work/what-...

    and here is some info on reasonable adjustment

    gov.uk/reasonable-adjustmen...

  • could you give us an idea of the type of work you do, and how big the company is?

  • Hi bikerlifestyle,

    thanks for info.

    I am a senior manager for a (mainly site based) engineering company working for Power Stations. They have about 200 permenant employees turning over about £25m PA.

    I manage a division of about £1.5m turnover. I am mainly office based, but I have sole responsibility for developing new work. I used to travel to see clients a lot. The division could be suffering a fall in sales as a consequence since no-one else seems to have the drive or enthusiasm to pick up this part of my role.

    The management of people, attending meetings and dealing with confrontation is the most difficult for me.

    They have been helping with travel to and from work (approx 10miles) but they are pressing for me to use the train. At present, busy and stressful environments (like train stations) seem to freak me out!!

  • then i would say they have quite a broad scope for reasonable adjustment,

    are there any ways to overcome the travelling aspects of this job, or are you likely to be able to drive again, and as its mostly office based can they not get someone to drive you on the occasions you need to go out, or is there a possibility of them assigning that role to someone else (by which i mean, although others may not be keen to do it, the fact is, if they can and its falls under part of their job, then maybe it is possible)

    reasonable adjustment is quite vague so it covers quite a broad range of ideas

    someone from the access to work team came out and assessed my work enviroment, and provided all the equipment needed to help me stay in employment as long as i possibly could

    i change job roles (driving a bus in a wheelchair is not easy lol)

    so the good side is, the company once aware of the problems you are having have a legal duty to make adjustments (if you can figure out how they can make these, then that would be a good starting point)

    but a point to note, if like me you didn't tell them all the problems you suffer then they have no obligation to act to help alleviate them. so its worth making a list to point out the obstacles that need to be overcome

    also if i remember rightly assigning some of your workload to another person is classed as being reasonable in a large company

    but it would be worth taking some advice from those that really know what they are on about, as this is just the bits the applied to me. so don't take it all as gospel

  • Hey, thats fantastic information. Thank you so much.

    It will help with my worries if I can feel i am taking some steps to make sure I am protected, should I not recover to the extent of being almost fully functional again.

    I think the driving may come, eventually. But like everything else new I introduce it will be a gradual build-up. It is difficult to understand how much is my "inner ear dysfunction" and how much is due to the brain injury. Obviously, my inner ear will probably never recover, but in isolation my brain would have adjusted to compensate by now. I think the injury is prolonging this process.

  • Hi Billybob. I'm thinking that people don't,generally, have the capacity to empathise with the physical difficulties of others. So long as you struggle to keep up with most of your commitments their only concern will be....how soon can you be back up to full par. It looks like you should follow biker's advice as soon as possible....I didn't know about 'reasonable adjustment'....& start taking some control over your health.

    I had a burst eardrum years ago and inner ear damage. The head noise(tinnitus) is still present but I'm used to it now.

    Mine was a 'straightforward' sah but, 14 months on, I still have left-over symptoms and I think you have done extremely well to be where you are. Best wishes cat x

  • Thanks cat.

    I feel as though I am letting everyone down or am being lazy. Its not always the comments, just the looks. I was a strong person and manager before and I am used to taking control of other people situations, dealing with their problems. Its hard to submit that I am a bit of a charity case, or so it feels.

    I know that sometimes I put additional pressure on myself to do more than I can deliver when it comes to it, but I find it really difficult to hold back. When I then feel ill it upsets me that I can't do as I used to.

    in regards to what Biker said. Should I be registering myself disabled now, since I cant drive or use public transport. I also can't walk long distances, especially alone and around noisy traffic or crowds??

  • D'you know what Billybb, I think you should contact headway direct. I'm really out of touch with systems nowadays but Headway will definitely point you in the right direction.

    If you select 'directory' at the top of the page then go to page 5 you will find Headwayuk listed. Select that entry which takes you to 'messages' and ask them for the information in question. Forgive me if you already know all this ! Sorry I couldn't be more help. x

  • PS.....I bet biker would know......I'm just interfering now,but you could try messaging him ???

  • Thanks cat. Will do.

  • there is no longer such a thing as being registered disabled as the disability discrimination act made it discriminatory sort of like registering yourself as black, white etc...

    the process is taken on its merits, so contact access to work

    i cant remember the process i went through all i know is i contacted them and they came out, i think i had to sign some medical records release forms for my consultants and doctors

    gov.uk/access-to-work/how-t...

    i would try and find someone who can help with how to inform work of your problems and request help, are you in a union? because they can help

    otherwise headway might be able to point you to someone who can help or represent you at work to make sure they are doing everything that is reasonable

    as i said, i am speaking from what i remember i went through so there are certainly gaps in what i know so you need some proper advice, and i guess headway or disability charities can help with the actual facts

  • I tried to go back to work quickly but it was impossible. it took me a long time to accept and it was hard for the people at work to understand how i had changed when i still looked the same.

    The only guidance was that i might need more time to do things and that i might get tired easily. I just was overwhelemd and i didnt last too long before i was retired on ill health. My mood and general health took a downward spiral. It was a while before i stoppped fighting against it and when i did stop trying to be 'normal' It got better. I work now in a job i would not have seen myself doing in a million years but i do enjoy it. There is no point worrying about what hasn't happened yet. Give yourself time to recover.

  • Thanks. The acceptance thing seems to be the most difficult. My first day on here has helped so much already, just knowing it is still early days and trying to make work understand better. I have had my occ therapists today suggesting the same and offering help and guidance too.

  • I suffered my TBI in 1967. Went to work 2 weeks after being discharged from hospital, six months later got the sack. Next job, six months later got the sack. and so on for years. During that time I studied for and gained professional qualifications. If there was any help available I never sought it. Nowadays things are a lot better and help does exist in many forms. You'll appreciate a full recovery, if that is what you can call it, takes many years, but things do get better. Go and see the Citizen's Advice bureau; you'll get good advice for no outlay. Good luck!

  • Hi Billybb,

    Thank you for your post. It's great to see the excellent support and advice from our members, and I think following this should be a big help.

    It might also be worth contacting ACAS for advice, acas.org.uk/index.aspx?arti...

    As mentioned, Access to Work is a great scheme, and they should be able to work constructively with you and your employer to make things work.

    Finding 'reasonable adjustments' in a role can take a degree of flexibility from both sides, with your employer looking at whether there are ways to adapt your role to suit you, rather than thinking in 'black and white' terms. Similarly, if you have ideas for how this could be achieved you should be able to put this forward - but I would suggest seeking advice first.

    It is good to see you have found our factsheets, but do please contact our helpline on 0808 800 2244 or helpline@headway.org.uk to discuss things with us. They can direct you to local support, including our Headway groups and branches. Depending on the resources of your local Headway, they may be able to help you directly or provide good information to help get you the right support.

    Best wishes,

    Headway.

  • HI BB , I AM THE ONE WITH ABI BUT I WILL NOT BE DEFEATEST I WORK FROM HOME! SO DOES MY HUSBAND WHO HAS A SIMILAR JOB TO YOURS.WE MANAGE TO MEET AND GREET CLIENTS,AND ATTEND COURSES BY E-CONFERANCES WHICH OUR MANAGERS BROUGHT FOR US.IS THIS NOT A POSSIBILITY? ALSO IT TAKES ALOT OF JUGGLING.BUT REMEMBER YOUR PRIORITY IS YOU!!! I CAN GET STRESSED BUT I WALK WITH AID OF HUBBY HIS RELEASE IS CYCLING WITH OUR NETWORK OF FRIENDS AND WORK COLLEAGUES!! MIGHT BE WORTH A GENTLE CHAT WITH THE POWERS THAT B AS THEY HAVE A LEGAL OBLIGATION TO ACCOMODATE YOU.GOOD LUCK!! LET US KNOW HOW U R GETTING ON? LUV SASSY I AM

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