In support of brain injury awareness week, we spoke to Ian who has a brain injury and his carer Sharon who has been supporting him for over four years.
Living with a brain injury – Ian’s story
Hi, I’m Ian and when I was 26 I suffered a brain haemorrhage. I had an operation to have a plate fitted and was still able to do many activities and live my life as normal as possible. Unfortunately, the plate caused an infection in my brain leaving me with an acquired brain injury (ABI). It also left me paralysed down my left side, with a speech impediment and I required a peg feed which meant I could not eat orally and being a big food lover, this was really hard. The effects of my brain injury meant I had to be moved into a care home but after 20 years, Pulse managed to bring me home back to my family and have been supporting me every since.
Since I acquired my brain injury, life has been really hard. I hate having to rely on others to do things for me. It has been a life changing situation. I miss working, going to the pub with my friends, basically everything everyone else takes for granted. I must say though I have never been as happy as I am now and I believe this down to my Pulse support team and how they help me deal with the challenges I face each day. I am now in control of my life and everything I do is my choice. My family can concentrate on their own lives now as they know I am happy and with this, they are happy. I do not have to rely on them to do things for me; they can just visit and have a coffee like any other family which is nice.
My Pulse Community carers allow me to make all decisions; I pick out my own clothes each day and tell them when I want to go out and where. After 24 years, my peg feed has been removed so I can now pick out the meals that I want to eat. That is the best thing to happen to me in a long time and I particularly look forward to fish and chips each Sunday.
I would definitely recommend Pulse Community Healthcare to support others with brain injuries. They have helped me to live a life that is as independent as possible and I am happier than I ever was.
I think there is a lack of understanding around brain injuries and people need to be more aware of the effects of ABIs.
Making life easier for someone with a brain injury – Sharon’s story
Hi, I’m Sharon and I’ve been supporting Ian for over four years. I’m with Ian five days a week for eight hours each day. .
I support Ian with all aspects of personal care from bathing, administering medication via his PEG and help with food intake. We also support Ian to visit his dad who lives nearby. There is no typical day with Ian – each day is different depending on how Ian feels and what he would like to do that day. It can be quite challenging sometimes as I need to be able to assess Ian’s mood and determine the best course of action to take. The most important thing is to keep Ian motivated and upbeat at all times.
Supporting Ian is very rewarding and fulfilling, especially on the days when Ian is happy and has us all in stitches. He has definitely opened my eyes up to what it is like to live with a brain injury.
My job allows me to help make a difference to someone’s life. I go home each day and feel good about myself. I also learn new things all the time and every small breakthrough for Ian is another milestone for the both of us.
If you’re thinking about becoming a carer be prepared for every day to be different and to involve new challenges. You need to be able to communicate well with people and understand what each individual client needs and what is in their best interests.