FOR Pauline Quinn, it is a “second life”.
She has spoken of her “miracle” recovery after a sudden bleed on the brain left her ‘locked’ inside her own body for nine months.
Pauline, aged 49, could not walk, talk or communicate other than using her eyes – and underwent three operations at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital – after suffering a type of stroke.
Her family began looking for residential homes with special equipment - and even consultant neurosurgeon Umang Patel did not expect her to make such a dramatic improvement.
But when a shunt was used to drain brain fluid and relieve the pressure in her skull, it had such an effect that she was up and talking within three days.
“When I first spoke in hospital I asked my sister ‘what the hell happened to me? Have I been here two or three weeks?’ She took the biggest gulp and said ‘I’m sorry Pauline, you’ve been here nine months’. I couldn’t believe it had happened to me.”
Pauline’s subarachnoid brain haemorrhage was caused by a ruptured aneurysm, a bulge in a blood vessel.
The alarm was raised when she did not turn up for work at the Mercure Hotel in Sheffield city centre.
Operations saved her life, clipping the aneurysm and removing a blood clot.
Then a cranioplasty – putting a plate in the skull and draining brain fluid – indicated that a shunt to drain more fluid might help.
There was a risk, said Mr Patel. “But I listened to her sister about her talking for one day and I thought it was worth a chance. Even I was really cautious and I was trying to say to her sister that she might have to come to terms with something, but at the same time I was not prepared to give up. I think it was unusual, because I never expected such a dramatic recovery.”
Pauline’s sister, Janiece Wallace, of Killamarsh, said: “Pauline’s recovery is the most amazing thing ever. It is a second life and she now just loves every minute of the day. She’s still recovering, but she is 100 times better than we ever expected.”
Now living in Chesterfield, Pauline has written an online blog about her experiences to raise awareness of brain injury.
She is also taking part in Sheffield charity Neurocare’s 5km fundraising run at Rother Valley Country Park on April 21 to raise cash for neurosurgical equipment at the Royal Hallamshire.
She said: “I have to make the most of every day. I will do what I can to help everybody else because it is a terrible place to be, locked in your own body.”