Hello, my name is Lorne Ray and I am (was) a healthy 33 year old male, with 13 years of active duty in the Air Force. In November, 1995, I was working midshift and got a sudden stabbing pain behind my right eye, it was terrible. I was at my desk so I put my hand over my eye and ran outside because tears was pouring out of it. I got outside and in a matter of about a minute my whole face started getting numb. I started getting scared so I called for help. My friends came out and asked what's wrong? I said I don't know but I think someone better get me to the ER. By that time I couldn't sit up or talk right, I surely thought I was going to die. Strangely enough I knew what had happened to me but all I could think about was getting to see my wife before I died. On the way to the ER the incredible pain in my head was getting worse and I was going in and out of "reality"
I can remember getting to the ER, and the doctor looking in my right eye (that's when things start getting hard to remember, so please bear with me!). Things get real patchy but I was shouting for my wife all the time. It was crazy, by this time I had lost my whole left side but I was desperately trying to hold on. Finally, one hour later, my wife got to the ER. She said as soon as he sit her down, the doctor gave her "the talk people don't want to get". All she said was, "Is he dead?" He said, "No but he's in real bad shape, he has suffered a massive brain hemorrhage and may not make it through the night." Brenda said, "As long as he's not dead I can handle it." He, of course, told her not to act surprised when she saw me because my face was pulled down on the left, etc., etc.
The last thing I remember for the next month was her walking in and, with her british accent, saying, "Hello darling." She tried to play it down of course and said, "Your going to be okay, your just in a little pickle". I smiled and said, "No Bren, I'm in a big pickle." It was like someone just flipped a switch, and for the next 20-30 days I don't remember anything.
After the doctors did a CT Scan on me, and discovered how bad it was, I was rushed to a bigger hospital (off the air force base) where I stayed in intensive care for 12 hours before the decision was made to do a VP Shunt. Immediately after the surgery I started recovering, even though the doctors didn't even think I would make it to surgery. I started getting my left side back and was sitting up in bed exercising my left arm and leg saying to my wife "Look what I can do Bren."
By that time half the Air Force base was outside the hospital but I was still in intensive care for the next 15 hours so only my wife could see me for 3 minutes at a time. Two days later I was moved to Keesler AFB where I got very good care from the doctors there. I was there until December 24, when the Air Force decided to fly me to Tampa to a brain rehabilitation unit. I stayed there until about 12 February. The doctors at Keesler didn't expect me back for 6 months, because I was just starting to walk with a walker before I left there. But once I got in with other brain injured people there was no time for "oh poor me" we just pulled together and helped each other all the time and I was walking again on my own in less than two months when I got back home.
The support my wife got from the military was just overwhelming, I am so grateful for that. As far as the air force goes, I thought I was going to be medically retired, which I REALLY didn't want. I had to go in front of a medical board (not me, just my records) but because of my spectacular recovery they elected to keep me on Active Duty for 2 more years, pending a re-evaluation then. GREAT!
I'm "almost" back to normal - I'd say I'm 85 percent back. Only deficits I have now is diplopia (double-vision), some very mild left sided dexterity difficulty, and some very mild short term memory problems, which by the way can come in pretty handy! (ha ha) I thank God every day I'm here now. I'm not a very religious person but I know I was saved by the hand of God. Oh, and by the way, there was no sign of ANY bleed or aneurysm anywhere. The doctor said it's like I never had a bleed, except for the pool of blood in my head!
So far my life is better than its ever been. I was promoted to E-6 during my recovery, and we just recently bought a house here in Florida! All I've got to say is miracles DO HAPPEN, and LIFE IS GOOD, so never ever give up. This is really "condensed" I hope it is helpful to someone somewhere. Please email me! I'll answer any questions anyone may have.
Addendum 21 Mar 97
I have an interesting question for everyone who has suffered a tramatic brain injury. One of my "deficits" is that I do not dream anymore. Absolutly nothing. I go to sleep and wake up that is it. I havent had a single dream since my bleed and was wondering how many other people out there are like me. I'd be willing to bet quite a few. While in therapy this subject always came up and the therapists got to the point of responding, "no not the dreams again !" Nearly all the people in my recovery had the same symptoms. The doctors put it down to "short term memory damage", saying, "You're dreaming but you just dont remember it." I dont buy off on it. I used to have terrible dreams, nearly all my life, nearly every night. My short term memory has been affected but is VERY mild. I thought this would be an excellent place to get a vote on this! Any "q's" feel free to email me anytime.
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