I am from Malta, an island situated some 60 miles south of Italy right in the middle of the Mediterranean sea. I have just turned 51. Two years have passed since my aneurysm experience. I feel much better now. I am married to Dorothy and have 2 children, Malcolm aged 22 and Alison aged 15. I occupy the post of AudioVisual Manager with the University of Malta. My hobbies include gardening and collecting cacti.
It all started on the 9th of April, 1996. I was 48 years old, and an Audio Visual Manager at the Medical School in Malta. The Mayor of London was giving a Lecture at our Medical School, which is adjacent to St.Luke's General Hospital in Malta. I was going to give the Lord Mayor the microphone when I fell on him.
I do not remember anything except for what I have been told. I had an epileptic seizure, which lasted under one minute, and then I was for a short period in a coma. I was transferred to the emergency unit (two minutes away). A CT scan was later made and I was diagnosed as having a subarachnoid hemorrhage ( SAH). I do not remember much of what was happening except that I was experiencing the worst headache of my life. My family told me that I communicated with them but I do not remember much.
Two days later I was on a plane to London, accompanied by my wife, and by a friend of mine, Dr. Ray Galea, M.D MRCOG., and rushed to the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at Queen's Square LONDON. I do not remember much of the flight or when I arrived at the hospital.
Next morning, the 12th of April, 1996, I was a lot better, i.e. with my orientation, because the headache was still on and getting worse. An Angiogram was made and the neurosurgeon, Mr. Kitchen, informed me that I had blood at the base of my skull and that he had to operate. An MRA (Magnetic resonance angiography), carried out two days later, was unsuccessful. Someone told me that there was something wrong with the computer.
On Tuesday, the 16th of April, I was operated for clipping of the Aneurysm. The operation lasted about 3 hours, because my wife told me that I spoke to her at about 11.30 a,m. and the operation started at about 8.30 a.m. I spent 24 hrs at the ICU and later was taken back to the ward. The nurses over there are the professional type and I could not complain of anything. They were always nice and gentle.
A week after the operation I was discharged and I spent another week in London taking it easy. On the 1st of May, 1996, I flew back to Malta with my wife. I was quite depressed at the time. My memory was slowly getting better, my headaches almost gone, and I still was taking three 100mg Epanutin at night.
The neurosurgeon told me before I went out of the hospital to take it easy for one month and then to resume normal life. Normal life is very difficult to achieve because I still (13 months after the operation) cannot forget what I went through. Besides, the side of the brain, where the operation was done (the site where the bone was removed), still aches. Even when I open my mouth, I feel slight pain. He also told me to take Epanutin for two months. However, here in Malta, the neurologist reduced the dosage after three months to 200 mg. When I recently asked him when I am going to stop taking the pills, he informed me that I have to take them till I die, and that was a little price to pay since he saw me in what state I was in when in hospital. These pills have a lot of side effects, especially with my gums and teeth. Because of these pills, I never use any alcohol, and I stopped smoking.
I started work again after 4 months and I am almost back to normal after 13 months. However, I am still afraid. I wrote to The Aneurysm support Group and I got a lot of assistance. Here in Malta, you are all alone. The internet was my only means of getting information about what happened, what was done, etc. I download all I find about SAH and always read what other patients went through.