In life, joy and sorrow can exist simultaneously. Where we place our focus is important.
I met my partner, Luke, three weeks before my brain haemorrhage. He was in a rock band. I tried hard to be ‘cool.’
Then I had a brain haemorrhage; and it’s very difficult to look cool in a hospital gown with a drip attached to your head draining spinal fluid. I must be the only woman who has worn such attire on what turned out to be my fourth date with Luke at the High Dependency Ward at Heath Hospital.
Despite drifting in and out of consciousness; I still felt vain enough to be troubled about not looking my best. Luke didn’t seem to mind and on his many visits to the hospital, he commented on my drip and how clear my spinal fluid was getting. (I bet he said that to all the girls.)
We continued dating after I came out of hospital. Some days, I was awake long enough to walk downstairs to the living room and wore my brand new pyjamas on such occasions. I developed some serious ‘bed head’ and my hairstyle started to resemble Cher’s in the Dead Ringer for Love video, which I think was the clincher for Luke.
Oh the halcyon days of our first twelve months together. All those hospital visits, lumber punctures and brain scans. I know – it’s all the classic ‘first year together’ stuff.
Two years later, Luke and I had a baby together. A little boy called Osian, who will be five in August. Osian thinks it’s perfectly normal to have a Mummy who sleeps for three hours every afternoon. He also thinks it’s normal to bring his friend into my bedroom during such naps and use my bed as a trampoline. During such moments, I naturally harness my inner Mary Poppins and laugh at the little scamps, (ahem….)
Luke and I are regular attendees at Headway and enjoy the group therapy sessions, although an unusual setting perhaps for a couple who had just started dating. Not many new couples get to navigate their way around a relationship with the input of a consultant neuropsychologist; and the sessions helped Luke and I deal with a relationship where one party has a brain injury.
However, understanding each other as a man and a woman – well, that’s a totally different ball game…..