Yvonne's Story

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'Yvonne's Story' image

Yvonne's story is one of a number of personal experiences that people have shared with us as part of our "We Need Our Heads Examined" campaign for rehabilitation services. Download the campaign leaflet here.


In July 2013 I had my aneurysm and everything changed. I was in hospital for seven weeks with doctors expecting the worst. My sons were told I would be in a wheelchair, unable to speak, have issues with memory and living in a home. I think this was worse for them than me. My sons and my brother had to imagine my life like this. But I was thinking "I'll show you" and I did. I learned to walk and talk again. Although it was very difficult, I knew I needed to take these steps in order to get back to being me.

When things started to get back to normal, I realised I had difficulties in areas where I hadn't had them previously. I sometimes had trouble understanding what people were saying and would feel lost in a conversation as well as trouble finding the right thing to say myself. Initially, I would pretend that everything was okay and I didn't have the confidence to say that I was lost. That caused me a lot of anxiety. I didn't want to look stupid. Although it was scary I would force myself to stay in places that made me uncomfortable. I was afraid but I fought through it.

I went straight from hospital to rehabilitation in Dun Laoghaire. By the end of my stay there I was happy to go home but it didn't take long for me to realise that I couldn't do the things I needed to do. I needed help but I wasn't able to say I needed it. I was so tired. I couldn't cope with looking after my children, I couldn't do the ironing. I couldn't cook meals. I was just so tired.

I did try to get speech therapy but it wasn't there-they told me there wasn't one in the area. I did end up going back as an outpatient in Dun Laoghaire. That meant I had to take four buses in one day, just for one hour of therapy, and that was on top of my low energy levels!

I think I was lucky that the speech therapist I had in Dun Laoghaire recommended I approach Headway. I don't think I could have coped otherwise. But it shouldn't have had to have been like that. Things could have been so much easier for me if there had been something available to me after my rehabilitation finished in Dun Laoghaire.

Despite these challenges I feel that I actually have a better life now. I have always been a positive person and although many things have changed, that has not. Different things are important to me now. I can spend more time with my family, we have chats and a laugh every day. I feel that I am still healing.

I believe that everything happens for a reason. I consider myself to be lucky that I can enjoy my life and I would like to help others to see that there is hope.

Yvonne Kelly 48.

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