Simon experienced a Haemorrhagic Stroke at the age of 32 when he was mountain-biking in the French Alps with friends.
Simon’s neurologist has since speculated that the intra-cerebral bleed in the right side of his brain may have been due to a combination of factors: Simon could have been born with weaker than average artery and this, combined with the altitude of the alps, additional increase of blood pressure due to strenuous exercise and atmospheric pressure after a change in weather may have collectively contributed to his stroke.
Simon remembers setting off down the mountain on his bike, but when he didn’t reach the bottom, his friends investigated and found him unconscious.
Simon was airlifted to Grenoble where he was placed in an induced coma so that the doctors could drain the blood from the affected site within his brain.
During Simon’s six weeks in Grenoble he didn’t regain consciousness and was flown back to Leeds in a private jet where he was transferred to York hospital.
There, Simon began to be vaguely aware of his surroundings, but felt scared and didn’t know or understand where he was, or why he was there.
Simon was then moved to a brain injury rehabilitation centre where he spent the next six months receiving intense physiotherapy, occupational therapy and SALT (Speech And Language Therapy).
Upon leaving rehab he was able to walk with a stick, had all five senses intact was able to live independently and communicate effectively – so much so, that he gave a best man’s speech within a month of leaving hospital.
Thirteen years on and Simon continues to steadily improve. Until quite recently, he used a stick to walk, but he came to the conclusion that this was as much a psychological crutch as a physical one and he now walks without a stick.
Simon’s balance has been affected by his stroke and he has had a few fractures in his toe, finger, knee and hip due to falls over the years. His left side remains weak with partial paralysis, but Simon is very active, visiting the gym up to three times a week and regularly swimming thirty lengths with a floatation aid.
His memory is excellent and Simon works hard to keep it that way, by learning facts and testing himself. He’s also a prodigious reader, gamer and film fan, he is a director of the management company where he lives and enjoys eating out with friends.
Simon’s ethos is that a positive determined attitude will combat many of the challenges associated with life after a stroke. His approach is that he will encounter problems, but by using lateral thinking and motivation he’ll find a way around them. He quotes a moto used by the US navy seals and considers this to be equally appropriate to stroke survivors: ‘Improvise, Modify, Adapt and Overcome’.
Main impairments: partial paralysis down left hand side, balance issues.
Useful items: Rocker knife, floatation aid, grab rails, ankle splint, grabber.