Living Well after Surviving a Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

May 26, 2017 by mmb4na@virginia.edu   |   Leave a Comment

Dr. Evan Cohn studied radiology at UVA and years later had his own life saved by the UVA radiologists that helped train him.

On October 26th, 2015, Evan Cohn and his wife Amy were celebrating their 24th wedding anniversary at the Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, VA. They took a selfie showing wide smiles and a beautiful Virginia landscape in the background.

One hour later, Dr. Cohn began suffering from a severe headache, nausea, and sweating. Within 15 minutes of these symptoms, he was on his way to the Bath County Emergency Room.

A CT of the head showed a subarachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding between the two membranes that surround the brain), and staff immediately prepared him for a helicopter ride to UVA Hospital.

As a physician, Dr. Cohn knew his condition was serious. From 1993-1998, he had studied at UVA Radiology and Medical Imaging, completing his residency and musculoskeletal fellowship. When he finished the program, he began work at the Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas in Dallas, Texas.

The series of events was incredible. Dr. Cohn happened to be vacationing in Virginia and was sent to the very hospital where he had studied to become a radiologist. He still knew other radiologists who worked there. On his was to UVA, he texted Dr. Mark Anderson, one UVA radiologist he knew from his residency days.

Can you call me back ASAP. We are at the homestead in Virginia and had a headache and came to the ER and have a subarachnoid hemorrhage. They are taking me to UVA wanted to see if you can help.

Text to Dr. Mark Anderson, Radiologist

Dr. Anderson called and told him that Dr. Lee Jensen and Dr. Avery Evans, both neurointerventional radiologists, were at the hospital and were ready for him. “It was a comfort to me to know I was going to UVA and that I was in very good hands,” said Dr. Cohn. “Dr. Jensen and Dr. Evans were both there when I was a resident and they are excellent physicians.”

After this, he remembers a nurse asking to pray with him and then waiting for the helicopter to take off, wondering if he would ever see his family again. After that, his memory is blank. He doesn’t remember the two weeks he spent at the UVA Hospital, the anxiety that his wife and daughters endured, or the doctors and nurses who cared for him during his stay.

The time following his release from the hospital has been difficult. In November of 2015, a month after the hemorrhage, he started attending a year-long rehabilitation program for 6.5 hours a day. He supplemented the rehab with his own efforts to relearn Spanish and by playing games like Rummikub as well as brain games on his phone and computer.

Today, Dr. Cohn says he has a new normal. He gets fatigued easily and doesn’t remember details well. He still gets sporadic headaches. He’s had to adjust his life habits. But since the beginning, his family has surrounded him with incredible support and love.

While Dr. Cohn has always been a positive person with a positive outlook on life, this life-changing event strengthened this trait of his. “I’m lucky to be alive,” he said. “I found out later that 50% of people with the same diagnosis don’t make it.” The hemorrhage made him realize that he doesn’t know the end of his story–no one does. “You don’t know what’s going to happen on any given day, and you should enjoy every day to the fullest,” he said. “Now, every night I go through what I am satisfied with, what I’ve enjoyed, what I’m thankful for, and what I am hopeful for that day.”

To those who have experienced a subarachnoid hemorrhage, Dr. Cohn encourages them: “What you’re going through is normal. Recovery is long and hard. Most importantly, it’s individual.”

Dr. Cohn kept going back to his family and how incredible they are. “It’s been a definite change for everybody,” he said. “I appreciate my family and am so thankful for them. Amy, his wife, chimed in and said, “It’s a good lesson to love your family and appreciate them whil they’re here.” Dr. Cohn agreed, “I feel grateful everyday. I have realized the preciousness of life.”

 

Comments (60)

  1. Bruce Wall MD says:

    Amazing story. Glad to hear about steady progress. Carol and I are out of town during your upcoming event

  2. Sheri mcintyre says:

    Dr Cohn, I am very proud of you!
    I suffered an AVM rupture out of the blue,so I know first hand what you are talking about!
    When I couldn’t talk good I used to text this to my family, it seems fitting now ❤️?????
    To you and your wonderful family take care!!!!
    Sheri

  3. Melissa says:

    I can relate to this on so many levels. I had my SAH rupture while at work. Luckily, only 6 minutes from Memorial Hospital in South Bend IN. It’s been 9 months, it’s hard to accept my new normal. But I am thankful to have my life, to be with my husband and see my children graduate high school and still be part of their lives..

  4. Barbara lopardi says:

    Thank you for sharing your story! Life is such a blessing and so thankful you had medical treatment immediately! I had my SAH four years ago while running. I pray and strive each day to overcome the headaches, fatigue and confusion.

  5. Kristi L Moore says:

    Thank you for your story,I am 39 and just recently experienced my Subrachnoid Hemorrhage and it is definitely life changing and an eye opener. I had been working out and exercising, trying to loose weight, actually was working out the morning it happened.Thanks be to God for healing. It amazes me that that was your occupation and your testimony. To God be the glory!

    1. adg5bb@virginia.edu says:

      Kristi,
      Thank you for sharing your own experience here. That sounds very hard, but we are glad to hear you are living well in your own recovery story. Hope things continue in that same direction!

      Best Regards,
      UVA Radiology

  6. Jacob Landry says:

    Had a SAH in 2014, drove myself to the hospital. I was studying when it happened, I’m not like I use to be, had a wonderful memory, but now struggle every day. I’m taking USMLE Step 1 exam hopefully in October. Regardless of what happens, I enjoy every day of my life more than ever. Life is a gift, and you don’t realize that until close to death. Never give up.

    1. adg5bb@virginia.edu says:

      Jacob,

      Thank you for sharing your story here. We are sorry to hear about the difficulties you have had in the wake of this issue, but encouraged by your positive outlook. Life IS a gift. Thank you for the reminder not to take it for granted.

      Wishing you all the best in your ongoing recover,
      UVA Radiology

  7. Tamara Turner says:

    Thank you for your story and your words of encouragement. I had a SAH in Sept 2017. I was only 45 years old when it occurred. I live in the middle of NoWheresVille, NC. It took paramedics approximately 20 minutes to arrive with an additional 40 minute ride to the hospital (UNC Chapel Hill). Paramedics passed me on to the ER and told them I had a migraine. I didn’t know what was happening to me at the time, of course. All I knew was I was suffering the most severe painful headache I have ever had in my life. After the initial CT, they were able to recognize the SAH. I still have memory problems and forget simple words occasionally. I still struggle with headaches that I never had before the SAH and now anxiety caused by the headaches, however I am grateful to simply be alive. God bless you and your family.

  8. Patricka Verni says:

    I suffered a SAH in February and I am still off work. I have no impairments, for which I am grateful. However, follow-up shows the SAH is growing, and a re-coiling may be required. I did not expect this! I am extremely frightened at this point. Is it normal for this to happen with a SAH? I had a headache for two days before going by ambulance in Toronto. Spent 9 days in the CCU. Definitely puts life into perspective. Now very nervous about what my future holds. I will turn 55 this year !

  9. Paula Keaton says:

    I suffered my SAH Feb 9th 2019.. just getting ready to go out for the evening then BOOM !! the worst headache and neck pain ever.. passed out and woke vomiting terribly.. was driven to local A&E and scanned then quickly transferred to the Walton neurological centre.. web occlusion basilar aneurysm with daughter sac carried out next day.. spent few days in ICU then 2 weeks before discharge.. I’m now 9 weeks post op and feeling much better but still have headaches and very tired after ive done pretty much anything .. very forgetful and worried about everything..I am trying to be positive as can be Iam so lucky not to have any disability from it.. its been the most frightening thing I’ve ever experienced.. I have my first appointment next week since discharge so fingers crossed things will be ok.
    Best wishes for all your recoveries xx

  10. Jennifer Yetter says:

    Came across this story looking for comfort and answer’s so thank you for your stories ♥️ I am 35 years old had a SAH on March 9th 2019, I was in ICU for 4 days and hospital for total of 2 weeks. I’ve had 2 cerebral angiograms and have another one scheduled for next week. I didn’t have an aneurysm and they are not sure exactly what caused the bleed. I’m home but not the same as I use to be. I have severe anxiety, headache’s, neck pain and just overall don’t feel like I use too. I’ve been told my headaches and pain could be a permanent thing I will have to live with. Weather changes brings so much pressure in my head it feels like it might explode. Best wishes to anyone going through this and thank you for your stories 🙏❤️

  11. Tami Davidson says:

    I suffered an SAH on February 10 and had the worst headache of my life. I slept overnight taking Aleve hoping my bad headache would go away. The next morning I went to Urgent Care and was told I had 20 minutes to make it to a hospital. My husband who suffers from FTD was with me. I am 56 years old and was frightened thinking who will take care of my husband and son who just graduated from college. I had a few minutes to say goodbye and was shocked at the finality of what I was just told. In the back of the cold ambulance racing down the freeway in a snowstorm, my mind was racing and trying to grasp what was going on. When we arrived at the hospital, they rushed me into the ER and started removing my clothes and monitoring me. The next thing I remember is my femoral artery being cut and a camera inserted to my brain. They kept telling me to stay awake and stay with them. I felt like I was in a movie. Was this real or a dream? Will I wake up after this. My family and worrying about how everything will be taken care of kept running through my mind. I truly believe that is what kept me alive. I didn’t have any deficiencies but occasionally have vision issues. I am afraid every day and worry about another bleed.

  12. Chris says:

    Wow! I guess I an more blessed than I realized. I had a SAH on May 26th after a community chorale concert. I went to ER in Decatur, IL because my head felt weird and neck and shoulders felt tight. The ER techs took me immediately for a CT scan and said it showed a bleed, but could not tell if it was an aneurysm.
    I had complete peace and assurance that it was just a busted blood vessel.
    They kept me in the ICU for 7 days and did a MRI and an angiogram. They said it didn’t show anything more. Have me a prescription for a low dose of blood pressure meds.
    I’ve been home since Sunday afternoon and except for a slight headache and needing a nap every afternoon I feel like it never happened. I know the reality will set in when I start getting the bills.
    I thank God for his mercy on me. I had no idea it could be so life changing.

  13. Jim says:

    I am 77 years old. I had a SAH on April 29th while traveling in Southern Italy with my wife. Thanks to her, I was in the Neurointensive Care unit of the University of Bari Hospital about eight hours later. I was in a deep coma for nine days and spent eleven more days in the hospital there.

    Thanks to the emergency medical evacuation insurance my wife had purchased I was flown back to Roanoke in a private Lear jet with pilot, copilot, M.D., R.N., and medical technician. I’ve been in the Rehabilitation unit of Carilion Clinic since about May 20th. I’m up and about now and walking the halls with a P.T. beside me and expect to be released in two days,

    My wife had incredible support from so many in Italy, and I’ve been blessed by her support and that of the rest of my family. I am hoping for and expect a full recovery.

  14. Lora Price says:

    I’m 35 years old I had acute SAH nearly 3 weeks ago CT scans and was rushed to neurologist. I had an angiogram but no aneurysm found. Been told I have vasospasm vessels on one side of my head are too narrow. I am now home but starting to feel as tho I will never be the same person again. It’s a major life change and my worry is being a single parent to two young girls. I’m grateful to be alive but afraid I’m going to struggle with the complete life change and what will be become my normal. They haven’t found any cause for my bleed put me on 5% out 95% as to have no explanation most scariest experience in my entire life. I’m struggling with all of it overall. Nice to hear people talk with the same things going on. The thought of not being able to live my life as I did is truly heartbreaking.

  15. Felicity says:

    My partner is currently in the neuro ward having spent the last two weeks in ICU. She was at the dentist having had a tooth extracted. She experienced what we now know was a thunderclap headache – ambulance called. She had an aneurism on RH side of brain and a subarachnoid haemorrhage on the left. They can’t find site of SAH. She’s had no neurological impairment ( thank God) but I await what lies ahead. Good to read your story.
    Felicity from Sydney Australia

  16. kate says:

    I am worried that I may be getting dementia after a subarachnoid hemorrhage a few years ago. I am getting profoundly weak and have confusion and forgetfulness now every day. My balance is getting worse and dysautonomia is relentless.

  17. Natalie says:

    I am 35 years ok and i suffered a SAH due to a ruptured aneurysm on the 29th April 2019. I had been working out when I had a sharp pain..20 mins later whilst driving home it happened again, only this time I wasn’t in control, the next thing I remember is being cut out of my car. I spent 5 weeks in hospital, I had a flow diverting stent to fix the aneurysm. It was possibly one of the scariest times of my life, but I wouldn’t have got through it without my family and friends.I know how lucky I am to be here and not have complications, other than I do have the strangest headaches and sensations in my head and the tiredness is like nothing I’ve ever experienced, but overall I’m doing ok. It’s been nice to read your stories ,and I hope you all recover well.

  18. Nieca says:

    I had a SAH in June after just completing a line dancing class, trying to lose weight. I had major pressure in my head and I knew I had never felt this way before. I talked to my mother all the way home and was going to just go to sleep but after losing my balance and headache getting worse, I went to ER. I was in ICU 2 days and stayed total 3 days before they let me go. I was back in the hospital a week and half later with Vasospasm (having stroke like symptoms). I stayed another 4 days and was released. I am back at work and didn’t get much feed back on what to look forward to. This story and all the comments really help put things in perspective for me. I have very little speech problems and feel light spurks of head pain every now and then but it is very life changing. I thank God for my family and friends and can only take things one day at a time.

  19. Edward Carlon says:

    I had an SAH May 8th 2016. I was hospitalized in ICU for over 2 weeks, then was sent to rehab for another 2 weeks. I really don’t think I was in the rehab for long enough, but with a brain injury I just wanted to go home. I really wasn’t in my right mind to make any decisions and I was alone at the time without anyone to make them for me.. I had to go back to work in a month and didn’t think I was really ready at the time but that is what the surgeon wrote on my back to work note. I never saw the surgeon again, just the nurse practitioner which is common when a surgeon does surgery on you. I haven’t been right since. I am constantly tired and feel as if I can’t do any of the things I used to be able to even after 3 years. I retired last year but because it wasn’t enough money I have to go back to work in November. I hope I can make it because it seems like a struggle to get out of bed in the morning. I am wicked depressed and take lexapro every other day but I don’t like the side effects from the medication. I had a shunt in my head when I was in ICU to drain the blood out of my scull. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever be the same again. It’s an uphill struggle believe me.

  20. Jeff Good says:

    Evan,
    Thanks for sharing. I celebrated my 1 year anniversary post my SAH back on August 28, 2019, and like you am grateful still to be here and celebrate everything I still have. I’ve been very fortunate – both to still be alive and to have only a few lingering deficits. First, I don’t have the same energy I used to, and second I do find both my short-term memory and my hearing have been impacted.
    My injury happened while I was on a family vacation up at a cottage in Ontario (I live in Toronto), and the local hospital took hours to order a CT Scan to figure out what my severe headache and vomiting were all about. One look at the CT and they rushed me back to Toronto.
    My recovery has been quite significant, but for everyone else who has posted, I offer my support and love. It is a tough road, and obviously some of you have more severe lingering issues. To the degree you can all I can offer is take one day at a time and enjoy the things you can.
    If you are interested, my sister suggested that I do a podcast, so here’s the link to one podcast site, and if you search “subarachnoid survivor” on most podcast sites it should come up.
    https://www.iheart.com/podcast/256-subarachnoid-survivor-musi-31096854/

  21. Christine Conner says:

    I am SO thankful to find this site and hear about everyone’s experiences and degree of progress. I had my SAH on June 29, 2019 while my husband and I were in the COLO mountains at our cabin, which is far from any medical facilities. My husband called the firestation and within 10 minutes the paramedics came. After assessing me, they decided to call for flight for life so I would get down the mtn much sooner and to the nearest hospital. Like all of you, mine started with the worst headache of my life which hit me twice. The 2nd time, it dropped me to my knees and that’s the last thing I remember for 6 weeks. I was in ICU for 3 weeks, 2 more weeks in hosptial, then rehab for almost 2 weeks. I had 3 angiograms to determine where the bleed was so they could repair it. They never found it and said sometimes they heal themselves. My husband said that I was the life of the party in the hospital, greeting by name all of my many visitors and laughing and joking with everyone. But within 20 minutes after they left, I couldn’t remember they were there and still don’t. I have done incredibly well only by the grace of God, I really have no lingering impairments other than my short term memory. While it is vastly improved, I still struggle with it and it seems like it’s getting a little worse. I’m a caregiver and I’m going to go back to work just 3 hours a week for awhile. I love my clients and my work. I don’t suffer from headaches like many of you do. I struggle somewhat with balance and my eyesight was affected. I am extremely emotional and cry over anything. I am SO very thankful for my precious husband, wonderful family and friends and for being alive! As somewhat else said, this gives a whole new meaning to “thankful to be alive”. Also like many of you, I am concerned that it could happen again at any time but then I know that life is not up to us. There are so many things we can’t control. We just all need to enjoy every minute and do what we love to do while we can. God bless you all! I am praying that we all continue to recover and become the best we can be!

  22. CAROL DAVIS says:

    Just found your story, and I share your experience of SAH. My experience was pretty crazy. I started out the same way, w/a migraine-like headache, nausea, and extreme sweating. My husband took me to the local ER. I remember taking a small trash bucket w/me to throw up into.

    I was given liquids, and seemed to be stabilized, but there was no diagnosis at that time. I was sent home, and spent the weekend (the symptoms started on a Friday), in what I would call a “tentative” state, hoping I was healing.

    On Monday, the symptoms began, again. When I went back to the same hospital, I was given fluids, again, and an epidural injection. Blood was discovered in the fluid, and I was immediately transferred by ambulance, to a hospital that had a large neurological staff. I don’t remember how I was stabilized (possibly coiling), but when I woke up, I was in an inpatient room, where I stayed for 10 days.

    I had never heard of SAH. I was told I was very lucky. I felt glad that I knew nothing about it, in a way. At my next PC appointment, my doc was really glad to see me…He said most times, when his patients suffer a stroke of this nature, he doesn’t see them again.

  23. Linda Fournier says:

    On September 29, 2018 I suffered from a brain bleed. I was stepping into the shower and just felt a tremendous amount of pressure in my head and felt really strange. I could not stand was leaning up against the wall thinking it would get better. I called out to my husband he came in and I told him about the pressure in my head and that is about all I remember. He called paramedics they took me to St Elizabeth hospital in Beaumont, Tx. The ER took me straight back for a CT scan. They said I had a brain bleed but could not tell where it was coming from. They needed to life flight me to St Luke hospital in Houston Tx but the weather was too bad to fly so they took me by ambulance. What normally takes one and a half hours to get to Houston this time due to an accident it took three hours to get there. St Lukes had a team of Drs waiting on me. They took me straight in to surgery. I was in ICU for two weeks. I have no memory of any of it. I had a temporary Shunt in my head. Everytime they tried to cut back on the shunt i would become unresponsive. They decided I needed a permanent shunt. I woke up from that surgery with my memory and no deficits. This is all due to the Grace of God! My surgeon Dr. Kan and my Neurologist Dr Bershad were awesome!
    It has taken over a year to get back to feeling normal and get strength back. I take Gabapenten
    for head and neck aches. I was 67 at the time

  24. Benjamin Chung says:

    Dear GOD, I pray your healing power in Jesus name bring healing to all those who suffered from SAH hemmorrages. I thank all the testimonials and pray all of you get better sooner and never have to go through that again.

    My mom suffered a SAH on January 8 , 2020. She was hospitalized in ICU for 2 weeks after coiling procedure…under anesthesia….she went to recover ward for 1 more week and returned home and is on medications . I pray every hospital successfully helps all those who suffer from such strokes. Dr. Young at Queen of the Valley Hospital and all the nurses were excellent caretakers….I most of all thank GOD for such mercy upon my mom…..she was 66 when it happened.

    I have strong desires for the causes of SAH strokes to be identified fully and those risks mitigated . From what I have learned….stress and bad food choices prolonged over habits are the main causes of stroke. We should return to a more vegan based diet and finds ways to love one another by repenting of all our sins of greed, arrogance, and lust and covetousness and foolishness….then GOD’s grace can prevent SAH and keep us long healthy and happy for goodness sakes.

  25. Jan Robertson says:

    I had a subarachnoid heamorage in 2018 since then I still have headaches and feel so tired

  26. Linda says:

    Jan
    The lack of energy has been my main complaint.

  27. Michelle says:

    My husband is currently in the ICU for the SAH which happened February 8th, 2020. He is off the ventilator today and talking up a storm even though right now his speech is slurred and he keeps telling me to get him water. It has been crazy. I am hopeful, I am afraid, I am excited to see how much he heals each day. I am grateful that after 6 days of watching my husband in a coma, today on Valentine’s Day he opened his eyes and told me he loved me. I hope he makes a full recovery but only time will tell. He is 38 and we have two children.

  28. Jeremy Gonzales says:

    Today is Day 9 for me after my SAH. The immense headache and pressure in my head started shortly after completing a routine weight training workout. I was rushed to the emergency room in Las Cruces, NM by my wife and transferred to a Level 1 trauma hospital in El Paso, TX. I am a 39 yr old male in overall good health/fitness and an avid weight trainer so this medical incident, as for us all, was a shock. Unfortunately my 63 year old mother in law passed away from the same cause nine years ago this month so my wife and I have some experience and knowledge of what an SAH is. Neurologists conducted CT’s, an MRI and an angiogram but were unable to locate the bleed source. I have been transferred out of ICU but remain hospitalized and will undergo a second angiogram tomorrow. Thanks to God, I don’t appear to have any deficits but the headaches continue and I am told will remain this way for at least several months. I realize I am only a few days post incident but I am concerned about my future and getting back to all of the previous athletic activities I enjoyed with my children. Finding this page has been a blessing to see all of the others going through the same range of emotions. I am definitely thankful to be alive, have a renewed sense of life and with God and my family by my side, I will tackle it one day at a time. God Bless!

  29. Leona says:

    I suffered a SAH Feb 2/20 and like everyone here – can appreciate all the fear, anxiety and attempt in adjusting to a “new normal” following this life changing experience. I have little memory of the actual bleed except the excruciating pain/nauseousness. I have been home for 9 days and today is the first day that I am experiencing a headache and some nausea. I can say that I am extremely anxious wondering if it is going to happen again. I was feeling so truly grateful that somehow I had survived – my family and friends have been so strong and supportive and I want to continue holding on to that gift but at the moment all I feel is fear. Thank you for sharing your experiences – it it helping me to remain calm and optimistic that this is part of the healing

  30. Christine Conner says:

    I would love to hear from Dr. Evan Cohn about how he is doing now. It’s been about 4 1/2 years since his SAH and I’m sure it would be so interesting and hopefully encouraging to the rest of us to hear how he is. This blog has been so useful and informative for all of us who have subsequently experienced a SAH. I know we would benefit from his experience and life after this horrific event.

  31. Jan Robertson says:

    I had a sah in2018 I still have tiredness and headaches I’m back at work but workmates keep on saying why are you still so tired this website has helped me

  32. Jan Robertson says:

    Thank you Linda I’m always getting told at work why are you still so tired I feel as if I need to justify feeling the way I do I hate feeling tired all the time butbi cant help it I still have headaches as well

  33. Cindy M George says:

    I had SAH in Feb 2019 so a little over a year ago. Spent 15 days in IUC in Allegheny Gen in Pgh. Thanks be to God & the ability He gave to Dr Cerejo, who coiled the aneurysm, many refer to me as a miracle. I spent a couple weeks in rehab and then home to living on my own where I received nursing care, PT, OT, and speech therapy for a # of weeks. I, too, am extremely grateful to be walking and talking with very little speech hesitation at times; however, like many others, the overwhelming fatigue after small tasks have me thinking about the need to alter my life style. I just don’t have the energy to play in community bands, cut grass, keep up with housework, don’t enjoy travel etc. I don’t want to complain about it when the outcome could have been so much worse. I realize I am truly blessed. I can’t just will myself to do things as I once could. This site has been a comfort to me.

    1. kb6m@virginia.edu says:

      We very much appreciate your kind words about our blog site. We care about patients and want to provide the most accurate and helpful information possible. Our very best to you!

  34. Mindy says:

    I had my SAH January 15, 2020. I was on vacation in Mexico , worst headache ever, sweating and vomiting , taken by ambulance to the hospital where they said I had a migraine , the next day they took a CT and found the blood , two days later I was flown back to the US where I spent a month in the hospital due to Vasospasm, I’m now back home but still get headaches and my vision is weird sometimes , it’s so scary and they don’t know why I had the bleed , I’m 37 years old and hoping it doesn’t ever happen again , I’m so lucky to be alive and I’ve changed completely it’s a lot to take on mentally .

  35. Jo Robinson says:

    Jan 2017 I collapsed at work aged 45 from an almighty headache all across my head and painful eyes. I was sweating and being sick & in & out of consciousness. I was taken by ambulance to my local hospital who scanned me and then sent me to John Radcliffe (Oxford Uk) where a fantastic neurosurgeon & his team operated on my ruptured aneurysm, clipping it. I spent 8 days in ICU that I have very little memory of, I was then sent to a high dependency ward and released after 9 days.
    Whilst scanning they found another aneurysm which hadn’t ruptured which was on the right side mirroring the one on the left that had been clipped, so July 2018 that was also clipped to prevent any future rupture.
    I am virtually back to normal now after the 2 ops, I do have ultra sensitive hearing , am very emotional, think back to their life saving expertise at John Radcliffe and each time have thankful tears in my eyes. I still feel tired even years later, but I work part time back in accounts and cherish every day. My outlook on life has completely changed. I am forever grateful for crossing paths with fantastic neurosurgeons/trainees & nurses within my life.

  36. Jordan says:

    I had a subarachnoid hemorrhage on March 24th, 2020.
    I was at home talking on the phone when I got
    a tremendous headache that came on suddenly.
    I tried taking some aspirin, then some Tylenol. I took a shower but it was getting worse.
    I remember praying to Jesus to just let me make it to help. I knew I was in trouble. I drove myself to the immediate care where I had to wait due to coronavirus testing they were doing there. After being evaluated I was sent to my local hospital ER. They gave me a shot of Toradol which worked
    amazingly well at stopping the pain. They did a CT scan and found out what I had. I remember asking the ER doctor if I was going to make it. I think he said “You caught it early” Unbeknownst to me, he was sending me to the BEST place in this area for my condition, The University of Louisville Hospital, in Louisville, KY. Once there, I got a different kind of CT scan with dye, a CTA they called it, where they injected me with an iodine solution first.
    I was then taken to their Stroke Center ICU where I was placed on quite a few medicines and an IV. I was monitored VERY closely with frequent checks of my physical and cognitive function. I learned that people in my condition can change for the worse very fast so they were keeping a close eye on me. I was, of course, having the headache, but I was also having muscle spasms. My legs and chest were “shivering” like when you’re cold, except that I wasn’t cold.
    They were able to treat the muscle spasms with medicine.
    When I would get up I could feel the pressure throbbing in my head to my heartbeat. It was a pounding pain timed to my heart beating I could feel and hear in my ears.
    I received two angiograms where they used my veins to enter my brain and shoot dye to get
    images of the inside.
    Eventually the pain moved down. First to my neck, down my back, and finally to my lower back as the fluid in my brain slowly drained down. I was there for 10 days. I never lost consciousness.
    I am now home with no pain, the muscle spasms are long gone, and I am basically back to normal.
    I am a 45-year-old male who has never been hospitalized before this.
    I am learning what many of you already know. That we must make the most of every day from now on.
    This event has changed everything for me and rearranged my priorities.
    Every day is a gift. I thank God every day and the amazing people UofL Hospital’s Stroke Center.
    Thank you letting me tell my story.

  37. ChrisE says:

    I suffered a SAH 8/3/20 at first it felt like I had been hit at the base of my neck and my hearing began to degenerate and of course pain ensued..I’m 59 and the reason I survived is it happened when I was with a good mate who looked after me and basically knew what was happening to me. Walton Hospital in Liverpool UK and the Goldseal nurses and doctors saved my life…along with my friend who insisted on calling an ambulance in the first place and indeed staying with me until I had been diagnosed. I was in a coma for 3 days and I remember hearing my son talking to me during the coma… Something I will never forget.
    I was exceptionally lucky…I cherish every moment anyway during the second scan they found another potential Aneurysm and I had an operation (keyhole via my groin) to fit a coil to hopefully neutralise this second aneurysm.
    It’s been six and a half weeks (just over 2 weeks in hospital)
    The first 2 weeks were a struggle fatigue and tiredness one day and ‘fairly’ OK the next. Plus I suffer a sensation of what I can only describe as having tepid water poured over my brain occasionally. But, thus far I am not cursed with bad headaches so I am truly thankful for that. I lost completely my sense of taste and smell completely, around 10 days after I left hospital but I can report it started to return and now I would say it’s 75% returned thus far to normality. I have read all the contributions here and God bless you all and your families and friends. Because without them it’s truly a challenge. Walton Hospital thank you. From the bottom of my heart. I hope you are all safe in these times of the Coronovirus I Will Never forget you all.

  38. Rajdeep says:

    I had SAH in February 2020 . Thank god , no impairment. Just slightly headache and anxiety. Life has been changed. I have no energy. I’m 38 years old mom of two little girls . My worries point dr put in shunt in my head. Hope it will be removed soon. It’s big encouragement from comments.

  39. Ram says:

    My mom is 53 years old and had SAH on feb 22nd, 2020. She is still trying to get to minimally conscious state. Its been 2 months and we are scared if she will gain back full consciousness. Anyone here who gained some normalcy after 3-4 months?

  40. Rae says:

    I’m 38 years old and suffered from an SAH on 3/8/20. Didn’t have the severe headache till the 9th . Went urgent care and they thought it was a migraine gave me nausea shot and pain shot and sent me home. March 10th I knew something was wrong ! Woke up with same pain ! I had my fiancé take me to ER. They treated me as if I was a drug seeker complaining of a headache for meds. I wasn’t seen for 5 hours. I was in so much pain ! Finally they ordered a CT. It showed nothing is what I was told. They wanted to send me home with pain management . I refused! I knew something wasn’t right. I was admitted. I laid in pain till 6 pm the next day . They gave me a LP which showed I had blood in my CSF. My pressure was at a 40! As soon as they removed some fluid I was relieved of pain. I was immediately taken to get an angiogram. After that I finally got a MRI. Neither showed an aneurysm but confirmed I had an SAH. I was there for 9 days. I couldn’t walk for 5. I had spasms that went from my head down my back to my legs that was excruciating! I’m home now . I can walk but I do suffer from headaches, back aches, and PTSD. I have fear I might get another. I have fear of hospital staff that treated me wrong and neglected me. I’m glad God was with me and I’m here with my kids and fiancé. Glad to read your stories it helped me. God bless!

  41. Shellie Harmon says:

    Dr. Cohn,
    Thank you for sharing your story. It means so much to read about how others overcame this horrific experience. In 2015 (41 yr. old) I suffered
    from my subarachnoid brain hemorrhage and it landed me in the ICU for 15 days. I had just lost my sweet young momma (61 just 3 mo. earlier) and was in a new marriage with blending children.
    Stress is something what it can do.
    I went through some short term memory loss at the beginning and abrupt loud noises caused so much pain.
    Dr. Cohn, it will be 5 years this July; is it normal
    to say after something like this I just tire easily and unfortunately get just a bit agitated easier?
    Thank you ,
    Shellie

  42. Travis says:

    I had a subarachnoid Hemorrhage in July. It was some sort of special one where you get a 10% chance to live. It destroyed my memory and did a number on my family. I was hoping to gaine something from a different perspective, but I can see he had a different experience. Lucky guy, this thing destroyed my life, even with family helping, and now we’re in the middle of a pandemic. I’m living a nightmare, I’m glad some people managed to claw their way out of this.

  43. Sandra Vazquez says:

    My 19 year old son suffered a SAH, after a Lobectomy. He had vasospasm and had 3 angiograms. We stayed 38 days in ICU. This happened in July 2018. Regrettably the surgery didn’t stop it reduce his complex partial seizures and moreover, due to all those complications, I’m seeing how his neurological system is deteriorating.

    I was wondering if the SAH can come about because of the brain surgery?

  44. Katie says:

    My mom is currently in ICU in Atlanta, ga for a SAH. She had a headache for about 5 days before losing vision in her left eye. The doctors believe she’s been bleeding for 7-8 days. She’s in recovery after having surgery. Due to COVID-19, we are not allowed to be with her. And that has been the hardest part. I haven’t talked to my mom since Friday, and I don’t know when I’ll be able to. Siblings and I have been communicating with nurses and doctors, but I wish more than anything I could be sitting next to her every day. They say she’s doing good. My family has never experienced this before, so it’s new for us. We are learning about it, and her recovery and what could possibly change for her when she’s out of ICU. I’m glad to see so many other people who have gone through this and seem to be well! I’m being very hopeful! <3

  45. Ginger says:

    Hi all, found this site while exploring the impact of SAH on memory. So thankful to learn more about what to expect. My husband has aneurysm with SAH May 15, 2020 and spent 28 days in ICU due to prolonged / repeated Vasospasm , and now in rehab. Also with the COVID pandemic and initially no visits which was hard. Your stories and continuing journeys provide a lot of insight . Thank you for sharing. Thinking about reaching out to one of the foundations for patirnts/families as well.

  46. kb6m@virginia.edu says:

    Hi there. Please forgive our delay. COVID has caused lots of furloughs and I didn’t realize that there were so many wonderful comments on this post until I just discovered them. Thank you for sharing your story and for your words of encouragement to others and for finding encouragement from their stories as well. COVID has been difficult on many of us. Much like you, I haven’t seen my mother since February as she is in an assisted living facility, so I can totally relate to what you are saying. Please stay safe and positive. All our best wishes to you that your mom will fully recover and that you’ll see her again very soon.

  47. anna vlanes says:

    hi everybody .
    thanks for all your stories .
    my dad 85 had a laminectomy and suffered an SAH during or after surgery . he spent the next 3 weeks in icu in and out of a coma and hydrocephalus and other infections. He was not giving much hope of survival but he did . He is now in neuro ward at the epworth hospital in melb . He’s anxious a little aggressive , agitated and moaning a lot . They are trying different meds . I fear he will not come home . this covid means we can’t see him .
    it’s devastating needing your family to help you recover . Rehab was next but we can’t see him strong enough to get there . Did anyone else have these issues ? thanks again and best of luck after this nightmare

  48. Heather says:

    I am 53 I suffered traumatic brain injury in car wreck 10 yrs ago , 2 nerve decompression surgeries 6 yrs ago. Slowly regained my active country lifestyle riding horses and raising a family suffering from ON and daily headaches were common . 3 weeks ago I had a horse fall while barrel racing. ( I wear a helmet every time I ride)Not bad at all, I got up walked away , 10 minutes later I’m found passed out near horse trailer. Rushed to ER .. I had suffered Subarachnoid hemorrhages (4 bleeds in front right ) in ICU for a day then moved to reg room for 2 days did not have surgery .. literally sent me home with not much but scared paperwork of my condition. I still have a extreme head ache , very tired and weak left side a little slower . I have a dr appt tomorrow have to get a referral to neurologist? Crazy hospital sent me home with no dr follow up . I’m very concerned and scared of my condition after reading info and feeling as bad as I still do been almost 3 weeks … HELP? I need advice please… God bless all

  49. Evan Cohn says:

    I had not looked at this article in a while. I was pleasantly surprised that there were many comments. It seems like it has been a good location for people to describe their experiences. I am really glad people have found this forum and that the article about my experience has helped others. As an update, not much has changed for my family and I. I still have cognitive deficits and fatigue. I still feel very fortunate to be alive. I wish you all well with your journeys.

    1. kb6m@virginia.edu says:

      Thanks for the update, Evan! We’re so happy that you’re doing as well as you are! We miss you too and hope to have your visit next year for alumni Homecoming once Covid is a faint memory. Please stay in touch.

  50. Lisa Otten says:

    My SAH happened April 27, 2020. I am a 56 yr. old female with no medical problems and very healthy. I had worked out as usual and just finished an online meeting with my spiritual director. I hung up the phone and noticed a little bit of coffee left in my cup. I whipped my head back to drink it and boom. Something popped in the back of my head near my neck and I felt the movement of blood across the back of my skull. The pain began and within 5 minutes I realized I was having stroke like symptoms. I took two aspirin and had my husband drive me to the ER which was 5 minutes away.
    They were testing for Covid and I just ran by them and yelled ‘I’m having an aneurism!’ They wouldn’t let my husband come with me. I got into a room and at this point the pain was super intense. They got me on morphine and did a ct scan and diagnosed the SAH.
    I was transferred to a hospital that specializes in neurological care – Abbott Northwestern in Mpls. – and spent 3 days in icu and another 7 days in regular care.
    I had two angiograms with dye where they go through your groin and shoot dye into your brain and look for aneurisms.
    They never found anything. I was told this was probably a once in a lifetime experience. I went for a follow up ct scan about two weeks after leaving hospital and had a horrible reaction to the dye and had a 103 degree temperature and back in the ER I went. I was shaking and vomiting and eliminating everything. Thought it might be covid19 but got tested and it was negative.
    Three months later now and looking back it has been a slow and steady recovery. I had minor headaches and head pain and weird skull sensations. I couldn’t bend over Without causing head discomfort. I also couldn’t get my heart rate up for the first two months. I started feeling stronger and began exercising and the next day I would feel awful. My doctor told me I would know when I’ve over done it by how I felt the next day.
    She was right! I had to slowly and gradually increase my activity and rest in between. I also have to pay attention to other things that make me tired, which is engaging in conversations, and limit how long I do that.
    I feel pretty much back to normal mentally. Still working on the physical strength with walking, biking, and my elliptical- still can’t run yet.
    Like others, I am so very thankful to be alive and doing as well as I am. I thank God for this experience as it has opened my eyes to many things I took for granted. Also this time of slow recovery coming during covid19 And staying at home feels like God’s plan to renew my relationship with him which has been a huge blessing.
    To all those people like myself who read these posts looking for encouragement- hang in there and take it SLOW and it will get better. God will use this time to draw you close and show you how truly loved you are by him!

    1. kb6m@virginia.edu says:

      Wow, Lisa. What an incredibly inspiring story you shared. Your words are full of encouragement for people who have suffered what you have. We are grateful that you took the time to be a light for others. Thank you again!

  51. Paula Batlow says:

    Hi I had a SAH at the end of April 2020 and after 2 aneurysms were coiled I was discharged 4 weeks later. Still struggling with immense fatigue and headaches but feel very lucky to be here. I am struggling with anxiety and because of Covid I have had no face to face appts to try and alleviate my fears of this happening again. Any help and advise would be appreciated.

  52. Susan says:

    Hi,I had a fall ,hit my head. I remember the fall, how I could not move, lost my bowles and throw up. I eather passed out or went to sleep,after waking up I was able to pull myself in bedroom and call for help still cauld not get up. Went to ER by ambulance. Cat scan showed I had a subarachnoid hemorrhage. After having a second cat scan. I was treated, and evaluated by occupational and physical therapy. Dr examined me.I was able to go home after 2 days. I have head aches, and fatigue. I have been home 2 days. I am 80 years old . Feeling well.

  53. Dale Hansen says:

    I had my non aneurysmal sub arachnoid haemorrhage in March 2017. I had 10 days in ICU & another 10 days in hospital. I have returned to work when I can. I still suffer from headaches, brain fog, forgetfulness, confusion, fatigue & anxiety. I hope this is normal. A lot of the research says you either recover or die.

    I am coming to understand that there is a group of us out there who have survived but have a new normal. I am recovering I have not recovered. Every day is different & is challenging. I have good days & bad days. I find that people can’t see my injury & don’t understand. They don’t understand that I have not fully recovered.

    Thank you to all of you for sharing & helping me to understand that I am not alone. I think that is an important message. It’s ok to still be recovering, it will take as long as it takes, you are not alone. God bless you all & I pray that everyone can recover & find some sense of normality,

  54. Jean brook says:

    What a great forum I have found that I can relate too! I am a 23 year old student and I suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage 3 months ago. There is no medical history of neurological issues In my family and I am healthy And fit otherwise. It was the most terrifying experience, I had been up very late studying and feel asleep on the sofa, i was then woken sudden for no and then went Into a seizure. When I came round I wasn’t sure what had happened, but I had a deadline so stupidly I pushed myself to finish it. After the hand in I just slept for days and not knowing how serious it was and that I could have died.

    The headaches were awful so I decided to go to A&E, in which they were only concerned with COVID and sent me away. I therefor paid for a MRI scan, which showed my haemorrhage and a blood clot. Cut a long story short, I tested positive for COVID 3 months after having symptoms of coronavirus (when my dad was diagnosed with the virus), so they now believe COVID caused the blood clot which caused my haemorrhage but they are not still not sure. I am still currently waiting for my angiogram.

    3 months on and I still have horrible headaches and my anxiety is 10x worse than it ever has been but I’m grateful that I wasn’t left with any long-term disability. After everything I’ve been through, I’m thankful to be alive and if you do not have your health, you have nothing. I wish you all the best possible recovery.

  55. Mike says:

    I’m a 50 yr old male. I had mine on July 28. I live in AZ but was in FL with my son for a baseball tournament. It was around 1am when I suddenly had massive neck pain at the base of my neck followed immediately by the most intense pain in my head I’ve ever experienced. It quickly moved from back to front and I had a sensation of something coating my brain…I assume now it was the initial rupture. I instinctively stood up afraid that if the pain continued to increase that I might not be able to if I remained down. I told my 17 year old son that something was wrong. I didn’t know what and didn’t want to worry him but told him he needed to keep an eye on me because I knew something had just gone wrong and I didn’t know how bad it may get. I laid down for about an hour hoping it would get better but it didn’t. I finally said I needed to go to the ER so I walked downstairs and he drove me to a nearby hospital. Because we were in FL at the height of Covid, they made every assumption that this would be my diagnosis as well. They did a chest x-ray, a strep swab and blood work because the said I exhibited many covid signs. I was adamant that I was fine from the neck down but from the neck up I was in more pain than I’d ever been in. Four hours later they determined that I was good to go. They gave me some prescriptions to fill (all to treat my inevitable covid diagnosis) and sent me home. I went back to my hotel and called a friend who happened to be a neurosurgeon. Based on what I was telling him, he advised me to go back to the hospital and demand a CT scan. So I did. The gatekeepers up front argued with me a bit but once I got to a doctor in the ER, he quickly agreed that a CT should have been performed the first time so they did. It showed that I had a brain bleed and they wanted to airlift me to a nearby facility in Orlando that handled these cases. The weather was bad so I was ambulanced there instead where I had my first Angiogram. I was told the Angiogram would reveal one of three things: 1- they’d find the source of the bleeding and try to clip it while they were in there. 2- they’d find the source and be unable to clip it so they’d have to go back in through the skull to access and clip and stop the bleeding, or 3, and I was told it was the least likely of the 3 but most hopeful, was that they wouldn’t find the source of the bleeding. I was told that each would have their pro’s and cons but #3 was my outcome. They didn’t find the source so they said they’d have to do another Angiogram in a week when some of the bleeding subsided to look again. I was in the hospital for 2 weeks. The 2nd Angio was performed and again they found nothing. So I came back to AZ and was told I’d either have a 3rd Angio or possibly a CT scan to check again. As I type this, I’m currently waiting on that CT scan to hopefully get the “all clear” that they still can’t find the source of the bleed. I was told if they can’t find the bleed it was likely one of two things that occurred:1-if it was an aneurysm, the sac completely obliterated when it burst so there was no sign of it or 2- it was a spontaneous rupture which sealed itself. Apparently that’s rare but that’s the explanation when they can’t find the source. I was also told that 50% of the people who have a brain bleed don’t make it to the hospital. Another 25% don’t leave the hospital. Of the remaining 25%, half have deficiencies for the rest of the lives and the remaining 12.5% are the lucky ones who move on to live normally. I’m hoping that’s me. I do still have headaches, usually in the early morning but those have lessened and I do realize that I’ve had some short term memory issues. There’s a bunch I don’t remember about my stay in the hospital but for the most part I’m good. I’m now on blood pressure medication and I monitor it daily as that seems to be the cause of everything. I feel for everyone who’s been through this, it’s been a crazy 6 weeks. But I definitely have a different view of life and health as I had no idea how serious this was even as it was happening. I knew something was wrong but had no idea how likely it might be that it could kill me. I’ve already lost about 20 pounds as I am eating much better. I’ve never been a fan of vegetables and have always been a big meat and potatoes guy. My Mom is a vegan and has shown me how to change the meals I’ve always eaten and “veganized” them into something healthier. I’m not vegan but I’m definitely eating better. I encourage anyone out there to go watch the Netflix film “The Game Changers” as it is hugely informative and could change your view on food and it’s connection to your health. Good luck all!

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