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Providing expert support to people affected by neurological problems

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Ron's story

My name is Ron Gains and I live in Derbyshire. I'm 53, married with one son aged almost 25. 

Ron and Jayne

Up until October 2013 I'd worked in the motor trade since leaving school aged 16, starting as an apprentice mechanic and retiring on health grounds as a Service Manager.

Back in October 2013 I was in my 33rd year in the motor trade, I was Service Manager at a BMW Dealership and work wise I’d reached just where I was happy to be until the date I was planning to retire.

Completely out of the blue life was then turned upside down.

I’d had a headache for two weeks and, forced to by my wife Jayne, I went to the docs. Little could be done because the symptoms didn’t appear to ring any bells. It was decided I should have my eyes tested. The test showed my current prescription was massively incorrect and new specs were needed. So back to work, still with a nagging headache, to await my new glasses.

Next morning I left my office to go look for a vehicle and as I walked past and acknowledged a staff member I collapsed. From then I have no recollection of being rushed to the neuro team at a hospital in Sheffield.

Jayne was told that the findings of the subsequent MRI scan pretty much dictated that it was likely I was not going to survive. I’d had a sub-arachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) of a dissecting PICA (Posterior Inferior Cerebellar Artery) aneurysm and due to its size and location the practised coiling/clipping method was impossible.

Ron and the neurosurgeon who performed life-saving surgery

The genius neurosurgeon and my life saver, who had studied my case, talked at length to Jayne and the family about performing a bypass operation that had only ever been completed 6 times before in the whole of the UK, 4 of these by himself.

The likelyhood of me coming out of the 18 hour operation at all was slight. A massive stroke afterwards was to be almost expected.

Blood pressure loss at the time of the SAH had caused a ruptured small intestine and an emergency ileostomy had to be performed.

However, before my brain surgery could be started and after suffering a massive internal bleed, there was a clot in my lung that had travelled upwards from a clot in my leg. It then had something put around it to prevent it moving around until it disintegrated and this "trap" was placed in my groin to prevent any further clots, if any more occurred, from travelling upwards.

After 15 hours of pioneering brain surgery, performed for the very first time with the patient on his side due to the ileostomy surgery, my neurosurgeon saved my life and 3½ years later, defying all medical expectations, I regularly pinch myself to make sure I’m still here.

I now can’t walk without a stick due to imbalance relating to pressure problems in one of the ventricles of my brain but I have a VP shunt fitted to help stabilise this.

I’m exhausted most of the time, get headaches almost every day, my short term memory is nonexistent and I cannot manage without Jayne supporting me, but I’m still here.