I think my story is a bit unusual as I was a police officer back in the 70's and in 1977 I went through the windscreen in a police car and suffered severe facial and head injuries.

Back then I remember the 'clunk click every trip' adverts to wear your seatbelts but as police officers they were never worn. I remember the pictures of injured people, the disfigurement of faces and heads etc. as their heads went through the car windscreens. My injuries were no different.

I was only in hospital one day before I was discharged as they needed the beds, apart from being advised not to look into mirrors for a while, I was sent home.

When I looked at myself in the mirror I can't describe what I saw - was it a hideous, ugly monster? My brain couldn't figure it out, here I was expecting to see my old face, the one my brain remembered, but instead I saw over 140 stitches in the front of my face, my right eye/eyebrow was now half inch higher than the left one, and my head on the left hand side was bigger than a rugby ball.

A few months later I returned to work. It was as though I'd been to the dentist because no-one thought anything of my accident or asked anything much about it.

I went out on the streets but then realised I couldn't remember anything; no street names, friend's names or any criminal offences/legal statutes etc.,

I struggled on, but then found that I could never try and 're-learn' something I'd forgotten, it just wouldn't stay in my head. I became edgy, uptight and lacked confidence. Over the next few years I thought it was me that lacked self-esteem, confidence etc. and beat myself up over it. I felt useless.  

I had a fear (and still do) of 'what if someone asks me a question and I can't give them the answer?"

After another serious injury a couple of years later I was forced to leave the police force.

Since that time I have been a published children's author, an online computing Tutor, a Licensee, a Quality Manager, Trainer, Tutor, Internal Verifier - to name a few!

In all of these jobs I've been successful, well-liked but always needed to take a lorry load of information with me - 'just in case I get asked a question' so that fear has always remained.

Back in 2017 I'd had a few headaches/pains in eyes a little more severe than normal and after seeing a consultant was told that they had found an 'old' stroke on the left side of my brain, plus something showed in my neck which they put down to plaque build up in artery.

When I told the Consultant about the car crash, he looked into the old records and said how nasty it was and that it was the possible cause of my stroke as I had a severe head injury, bleeding inside the head. I lost over four pints of blood. The artery was ruptured in my neck and capillaries around that had started to bring in the blood to the brain.

I have difficulty remembering things, somedays I get up and my head is 'mush' and I don't want to hear any noise/conversation and after half hour it goes (anyone get this?) If I'm watching TV and my wife is on phone talking my head also starts to get confused and I have to walk outside in the quiet. I'm forgetful and can still worry about the future, but having the diagnosis did make me realise why I've done certain things throughout my lifetime. I still get angry with myself if I lose stuff and I still feel useless some of the time, but then I look at my family, wife, kids, grandkids and achievements and realise it's been tough but you can still have a full and happy life!

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