Friday, 10 April 2015

5 years ago

5 years ago on 6th April 2010, I suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). 

I fell off my dear little BH and whacked my head. Thankfully I was wearing a helmet because it definitely saved my life!

I was riding him in a small corner of the field which is fenced off and something upset him and he started leaping across the school. I hung on for a while but ended up coming off. My head is probably 8 feet high when on him and I came off at speed.
I thought I came of in the middle of the school but I was found under the hedge!

There is a house overlooking our fields and it was empty at the time but a workman had popped back to pick up some tools and heard me squeak as I came off. He leapt over the hedge, barbed wire and the school fence to come and scrape me up.

All I could think about was getting back on my horse which is instilled in you when you learn to ride - if you come off, you get straight back on again! - but I could barely stand up and I had no idea until a week later when I bumped into the man, that I'd actually been knocked out!

I managed to capture the panicking BH and get back on, thanking the man and telling him I was fine when I really wasn't. I have very little recollection of what happened.

I somehow managed to drive to work in Plymouth the following day but they sent me straight to hospital when they could see me slurring my words and definitely not being normal!

Derriford Hospital were useless! I told them I couldn't focus on the writing on the posters and that I didn't know if I'd been knocked out. They just gave me some mild painkillers and sent me back to work.
I decided to go home from work and ended up having 2 weeks off work with severe concussion. I had 2 more trips to hospital over the next couple of weeks and each time they just sent me away. Eventually they decided that I had probably had a small bleed on the brain and a small fracture to my skull but by this point it was too late to treat it. They never once scanned my head to see what was going on inside. 

Having a brain injury is no fun at all. I couldn't stay awake for more than about 20 minutes and would even fall asleep in the field when feeding lambs!
Imagine the worst hangover you've ever had and then have it constantly for about 8/10 weeks..... horrible!

I had hit the back right hand side of my head which is the bit that affects speech, concentration and memory.
 I would get halfway through a sentence and forget what the beginning of it was and what I was talking about. I was slurring my words a bit and couldn't remember the right words for things. It was so infuriating and I got upset about it quite quickly because I had no control over it.
If I concentrated on anything for too long, the right side of my brain would feel like it was stuffed with wool. It is a very bizarre sensation! 

I should probably have had a 3rd week off work but I decided to go back and take things carefully. 

After about 5 weeks, I got bad whiplash symptoms and felt like my head was going to roll off my shoulders.
I had lots of physio and they tried to take my driving license from me and stop me working!
I had nerve damage and was a little weak down one side but not too bad.

5 years down the line and I still have my hat as a souvenir (it is cracked from top to bottom and all dented), I still own BH and know he never meant to hurt me.
I was never a big drinker before my accident but with a brain injury, you lose all tolerance to alcohol so now I stick to only one or two on the rare occasions I go out. I think the long term hangover feeling is enough to put me off ever wanting to have a self inflicted hangover ever again!

The moral of the story... ALWAYS wear a helmet!! 



  1. I can't believe you got up and walked away from that!!! And WENT BACK TO WORK!!!
    But I'm very glad you were wearing a helmet. Do you get emotional looking at it? I was in a car crash once and it didnt bother me much until I looked at the crunched up car!
    M x

  2. I completely sympathise with you Sarah! Getting back on and carrying on is something every rider just automatically does isn't it, whether it's the best thing to do or not. I once finished an event with serve concussion, i hit my head on a log jump as he spun, but because i didn't hit the ground and somehow manged to wriggle back up before my feet hit the floor i carried on (I still have no idea how i managed it!), then had to get someone to drive me to hospital because i couldn't walk straight and my vision was going. If i hadn't had my hat on, i don't know what would have happened.
    You're a wonder women for going to work the next day! x

  3. duck in a dress29 April 2015 at 21:01

    Wow, I have no idea how you got up and carried on from that! Fair play to you though, that must've been a huge thing to get over but there's no other way round it is there, you just have to carry on and keep going xx

  4. It took months to get over but there's nothing that can be done until it all settles down on its own which is really frustrating for someone who is never ill and who doesn't do resting very well!!
    The biggest thing for me was losing so much confidence in myself and my memory etc. It took much longer to start trusting my memory a bit more! xx

  5. You had a lucky escape thanks to your helmet as well by the sounds of it!
    I was naughty and tried to ride every couple of days while I was off but it made me feel so sick.
    A friend told me how one of her friends had actually died from riding whilst concussed because her brain was already swollen and she came off again and bumped her head and was killed instantly.
    That definitely hit home so if I do it again, I'll be getting someone to ride for me! x