Survivors SPEAK OUT! Peter Corfield
Donna O’Donnell Figurski
1. What is your name? (last name optional)
2. Where do you live? (city and/or state and/or country) Email (optional)
Marcilly En Bassigny, France firstname.lastname@example.org
3. When did you have your brain injury? At what age?
My brain injury happened on June 1, 2010. I was 55 years old.
4. How did your brain injury occur?
I had a stroke caused by bleeding of an AVM (arteriovenous malformation).
5. When did you (or someone) first realize you had a problem?
After returning from an art course, my wife found me on the floor.
6. What kind of emergency treatment, if any, did you have?
I was stabilized, and then I was helicoptered to Dijon Hospital. There they did a craniotomy and repaired the vein.
7. Were you in a coma? If so, how long?
Yes. I was put into a coma for about two and a half weeks.
8. Did you do rehab? What kind of rehab (i.e., inpatient or outpatient and occupational and/or physical and/or speech and/or other)? How long were you in rehab?
I was sent to a rehab centre. There I had rehab for five and a half months.
9. What problems or disabilities, if any, resulted from your brain injury (e.g., balance, perception, personality, etc.)?
I was hemiplegic (paralysis of one side of the body) with left-side paralysis, and I had an anxiety problem in the form of overactive bladder.
10. How has your life changed? Is it better? Is it worse?
My life has changed a great deal. In some ways, it is better; in others, much worse.
11. What do you miss the most from your pre-brain-injury life?
I miss being able to sleep in a normal bed with my wife. I also miss playing my guitar and driving.
12. What do you enjoy most in your post-brain-injury life?
I like being able to help others who have had the same experience.
13. What do you like least about your brain injury?
I dislike the lack of normality.
14. Has anything helped you to accept your brain injury?
My wife’s support has helped. Also my writing has been important.
15. Has your injury affected your home life and relationships and, if so, how?
It has. My wife and I sleep apart. But, my stroke has made me more thoughtful towards others. I think I am a better person.
16. Has your social life been altered or changed and, if so, how?
Yes. My anxiety affects our going out in the dark. The anxiety also makes it awkward to sit on chairs with no arms.
17. Who is your main caregiver? Do you understand what it takes to be a caregiver?
My wife is my caregiver. I fully understand how hard it is for her. It drives me on to recovery.
18. What are your future plans? What do you expect/hope to be doing ten years from now?
I am determined to be recovered enough to look after my wife and to be helping other stroke survivors
19. Are you able to provide a helpful hint that may have taken you a long time to learn, but which you wished you had known earlier? If so, please state what it is to potentially help other survivors with your specific kind of injury.
Keep a diary to realise just how much you have improved, as recovery is slow.
20. What advice would you offer to other survivors? Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
I have written Kindle stroke-experience books. I donate all royalties to The ARNI (Action for Rehabilitation from Neurological Injury) Institute (http://www.arni.uk.com) to try to help other stroke-affected people.
Thank you, Peter, for taking part in this interview. I hope that your experience will offer some hope, comfort, and inspiration to my readers.
(Disclaimer: The views or opinions in this post are solely that of the interviewee.)
If you would like to be a part of the SPEAK OUT! project, please go to TBI Survivor Interview Questionnaire for a copy of the questions and the release form.
(Photos compliments of Peter.)