Sailing Through Challenging Times

Nov 21, 2023


When Paul and Barbara first crossed paths, an instant connection ignited between them. Shared interests in music, outdoor activities like walking and cycling, and other similarities brought them closer. They harmonised effortlessly in all they did.

However, their lives took a sudden, harrowing turn when Paul suffered a severe brain injury during a cycling accident. The accident left him unconscious, and he slipped into a coma for an entire week, causing Barbara immense anxiety as she grappled with the unknown consequences of his condition.

Fortunately, during this trying period, Barbara was approached by volunteer from Headway, who shed light on the intricacies of brain injuries and the necessary care during recovery. The revelations about the recovery process and the level of care required were staggering.

After spending a substantial time at Southmead Hospital, Bristol, Paul was later transferred to Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading. Soon, the day of Paul’s discharge arrived. Barbara was burdened with concerns about how to care for him during his recovery at home, especially regarding the proper use of the post-care equipment provided by the NHS. It was at this juncture that Barbara turned to Headway Thames Valley for assistance. A dedicated member of HTV team visited their home and meticulously explained how to use the equipment. They also enlightened them about the therapeutic benefits of activities such as exercise, music, speech therapy, and social interaction during the recovery period.

In the initial stages of his recovery, Paul grappled with fatigue, emotional instability, diminished decision-making abilities, and daunting challenges that defied description.

During these trying times, Barbara found unwavering support from Headway Thames Valley who visited Paul regularly during his recovery. The charity’s straightforward approach facilitated simple adjustments to everyday activities, benefiting both Paul and Barbara.

Barbara began expressing her thoughts about Paul’s behaviour, which gradually helped him adapt to daily challenges. The combination of activities, resources from HTV, and their candid approach became invaluable tools in their journey to cope with this difficult period. Recovery from a brain injury is an ongoing and time-consuming process, but the guidance and sessions from HTV enabled them to navigate each day with a structured routine and open discussions about their progress.


Both Barbara and Paul are immensely grateful to Headway Thames Valley, who provided unwavering support and helped them navigate the stormy seas of adversity. Today, Paul stands on his own two feet, enjoying life after his brain injury, and taking pride in the small triumphs that help him conquer every challenge that comes his way.