“My life could have been over in the blink of an eye.”
While working as a mail carrier in March 2014, Irma fell, hit her head and blacked out.
“I was initially diagnosed with a concussion,” says Irma, “but it was later discovered that I had a severe brain injury with a brain bleed.”
While surgery was not required, Irma was referred to Dr. Michael Rathbone at the Regional Rehabilitation Centre for neurotherapy. She was suffering from many deficits, including short-term memory loss, and required a cane for walking. Due to the extent of her injuries, it was determined that Irma could not return to work.
“My accident was nearly six years ago, and I still receive great care from Dr. Rathbone and his team,” says Irma. “During my follow-up appointments, I practice a number of brain and memory exercises to enhance my cognitive skills.”
Fast forward to 2018, when Irma experienced another life-changing medical complication.
Two days before Christmas, Irma was reviewing her to-do list for the holidays. She suddenly felt a sharp pain on the right side of her head. Her husband and son rushed her to a local hospital. She was later transferred to Hamilton General Hospital, where she was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm.
Under the care of Dr. Brian van Adel, Irma underwent a procedure to relieve the pressure on her brain, followed by an endovascular coiling to control bleeding.
“They later told me I had a 40 per cent chance of survival,” says Irma. “A nurse told my husband that he should consider calling a priest or minister because my chances of survival were slim.”
Irma spent 12 days in the Hospital working with Dr. van Adel’s team and a physical therapist to improve her overall health and mobility.
“Dr. van Adel and the rest of the team are like my family now. They are all amazing.”
Irma is recovering remarkably well from the aneurysm, but will require blood-thinning medication for the rest of her life. She is taking her post-surgical care very seriously.
“My life could have been over in the blink of an eye. Because of my experience, friends and family joined together for a fundraiser called Crop for a Cause in support of the neurosurgical program at Hamilton General Hospital. We want the funds to help other patients like me.”