At 46-years old Michelle Hay sustained a hypoxic brain injury, caused by a partial interruption of the oxygen supply, after she suffered a cardiac arrest.
Life before her brain injury was very different to how it is now. Michelle led an extremely busy life – she worked full time as a trainer and administrator for the NHS, spent time with her husband, their 15-year old son and dog and was a regular gym-goer.
But ever since that fateful day in December 2019, Michelle has been forced to come to terms with a new way of living.
Life is different now, but I am very fortunate to be alive. I’m starting to get used to my new brain and the new me, but sometimes I can still get frustrated.
Recalling the day of the brain injury, Michelle, from Auchnagatt, said: “I had a cardiac arrest at home whilst in bed. It happened after I had done a home gym exercise. I ended up having a hypoxic brain injury because of the lack of oxygen given to my brain.”
Michelle’s husband, David and son, Lewis were quick to react, giving her CPR and calling an ambulance.
She spent three months in hospital while doctors worked to stabilise her condition, moving from ward to ward.
“The first few days in hospital were very frightening,” said Michelle. “I couldn’t remember my own name and was basically in a vegetative state for two weeks.”
Whilst in hospital, Michelle began to notice difficulties recalling the names of objects she once knew, and she was diagnosed with visual agnosia. Alongside this, she now has difficulties with her short-term memory and fatigue, but she’s slowly starting to make improvements.
She said: “If I forget a word then I just take a minute to let my brain reshuffle and find the word I’m looking for. Hopefully over time the words will come back to me quicker, but I am proud of myself and how far I’ve come.”
When asked what advice she would give to others going through a similar experience, Michelle said:
Everyone’s brain is different so there is no definitive answer to how each person will recover. My advice is to stay positive and laugh as much as you can.
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