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Lived Experience: Chris’s story

How rehabilitation changed my life

In 2007, Chris suffered an accident which left him with a life-changing brain injury. He spent six months in Royal Preston Hospital before returning home to his newborn son and wife.

Chris later returned to rehabilitation services at one of Brainkind’s rehab centres, Daniel Yorath House.

Chris, who now lives in one of our supported living services, The Strand, continues the story:

I had to learn to talk and walk again. I nearly lost my life.

Looking back now, I rushed my rehabilitation. I couldn’t walk, talk, or do any little thing… and I rushed my rehabilitation because I wanted to return home to my wife. She’d fallen pregnant at the time. And then, I tried to get home too quickly, and when I did get home, it became clear that I wasn’t ready. I should’ve stayed longer. I wasn’t mentally prepared or ready in any aspect, to be honest.

And that’s when I saw my neurologist, Dr Shakespeare – my wife and I asked him about more rehabilitation. And after that conversation, he rang me up and said he’d got me a place in Daniel Yorath House in Leeds. So, I had to pack a suitcase and go there for two years.

During the rehabilitation, Chris experienced some challenges.

It was tough being away from my family at that time. My son had been born, and I was missing him growing up. It was tough.

I would have preferred to go somewhere near my family for rehab, but nothing was around here. There was no rehab where I was. I didn’t know any different. The whole thing was new to me.

If I could go back and ask for my ideal experience, I would ask for a bigger unit and not so far away.

I knew I had to do this for my recovery and life. I thought I’ve got to do this. It’s hard, but I had to do it. Not for me, but for his sake – for my son when he was older.

And I did it.

Looking back now, I don’t know where I’d be today if I had not done that. It taught me a lot.

Chris had to go back to receive rehabilitation for the second time. It was difficult, but something he needed to do:

When I spoke to Dr Shakespeare about accessing more rehab, it was difficult, but I knew I needed it. I couldn’t carry on the way I was living; I wanted to be as well as I could be for my son and make the best recovery possible. If that meant going to Leeds for a year or two, I thought he’d have to visit. It’s a small price to pay if I put the effort into my recovery.   

Dr Shakespeare got a referral to Daniel Yorath House quite quickly. I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity. It’s one of the best units in the country.   

What does the future hold for Chris?

Chris is now more hopeful of life and how to overcome setbacks:

I wasn’t a very good person before the rehab. I was a completely different version [of myself]. I wasn’t the best person – effectively, the person I was died, and another person was created after my brain injury.

I used to say many things and offend all people – my parents, those closest to me.

Rehab helped me with that and made me aware of these things. 

I take stock before I say things now – I think before I speak.   

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