Carers

We recognise that our clients' carers also require vital information, advice and help.

Plymouth City Council provides help for Carers, called the "Carers Hub" based at 156 Mannamead Road, Plymouth, PL3 5QL telephone number: 01752 201890. 

You can Register as a Carer at caringforcarers@improvinglivesplymouth.org.uk or telephone 01752 201890

Carers, Friends and other family members who may require information are advised to contact Headway UK which has a wide variety of literature (including booklets and leaflets) on different subjects.  Headway, nationally has a comprehensive website at www.headway.org.uk.  There is also a telephone support helpline at 0808 800 2244.

 

Headway Plymouth is able to provide private counselling which is a "paid for service".  Please make inquiries on 01752 550559 for full details of cost and availability for this service, as it is only available on request. 

 

 

From a Carer's Point of View

 

One moment everything was "normal". There was the excitement of going on holiday the next day.  All the preparation was going well.  We were looking forward to a nice easy few weeks. And then it happened. BANG! Everything changes in an instant.  My husband was rushed to hospital in a coma.

 

I went from excitement to despair, fear of the unknown, and frightened.  I was in an alien place, people rushing, machines beeping and the person I love motionless. There was no-one to talk too.  Everyone doing something but me.  I felt useless - out of control and all I did was try not to cry and keep a brave face.

 

What's going to happen to him? What's going to happen to me?  Survival or the unthinkable?  What will I do? What if?  Silly things popping into my head.  Did I lock the door? I started to panic, trying to breath slowly, but all that was going through my head was "what if... how am i going to manage... what are they doing to my husband"? Why can't I see him? Why won't they tell me? Where is everyone? I can't sit still - I feel as if I'm going mad.

 

And then finally someone tells you what's happened.  You accept what is said at that time, but I wasn't really able to take it in.  I felt I was really on my own. At lest I was able to see my husband.  He looked the same, but I was not prepared for all the equipment.  This was very frightening, but I thought everything will be alright - he will be back to normal soon.

 

I felt angry. How dare he cause such problems and now be peacefully asleep.  I still thought he would be OK and that life would resume as before.  How wrong I was.

 

Trying to carry on a normal life was very difficult because family and friends were concerned and asking questions that I could not answer, I wanted answers but there was never anyone to talk too.  He was being cared for but what about me? Visiting the hospital after a period of time, I found tiredness and resentment crept in, because there was no response from him.

 

Time's going on and there are no clear signs of him getting back to normal.  And then he's discharged home.  I had no help, no discharge package, no social worker, no information on any changes there would be to him, or even how much damage he had suffered. He looked OK and he walked OK, but there was something not right.

 

Back home, at last.  I thought life was back on track and it'll be just a matter of time before he would be going back to work.  Once again, how wrong I was. My husband felt there was nothing wrong with him.  As far as he was concerned he had not changed - nothing wrong with his memory, balance, behaviour.  Ha! Ha!

 

For me it was constant frustration.  I wanted to scream. I didn't understand what had happened.  My whole world was upside down in a split second. I lost my patience with him and myself.  Who can help me? Things were going downhill fast.  Why, when he has been discharged from the hospital, is he not back to normal?

 

Financial difficulties were now setting in.  I found I was overloaded with paperwork, telephone calls, finding the money to pay bills, coping with my husband's anger and frustration and I found that I was running on adrenaline.  How much more can I take. It was time to visit my GP again my husband was the priority. Now it's more medication to face.

 

Thankfully it was my brother-in-law that told me that we may be entitled to some benefits.  More paper work to complete and what a mine field! I really could have done with some help.

 

By chance, in a local shop, I was able to make contact with an off duty social worker who advised me to make an official contact for an appointment. Things started to improve for me, from getting some equipment, a financial review, and most importantly Headway Plymouth - which has changed both our lives completely.  They have become OUR life-line. I value the counselling - as it has helped me to understand the enormity of the loss we have had.  That I am important too.  I am now able to cope and make appropriate changes to my life after brain injury.

 

Life is still difficult and has numerous challenges, but I no longer feel alone or isolated. There are no answers.  Nothing prepares you for the future or the challenges of living with someone with a brain injury.  

 

Everyone's experience is different and unique. 

Call us on: 01752 550559