Greg Whorwood -
Head Injury Survivor - My Story
This picture of me was taken in August 1998.
On 15th May 1994 I suffered a severe head injury in a BMX freestyle competition in Northampton, England, even though I was wearing a crash helmet. I was sixth in the country in my class at BMX freestyle and a member of the British Freestyle Association. I was in my final year at my secondary school, Salvatorian College in Harrow, and getting A's and B's in most subjects. I was a normal healthy and intelligent 15 year old. I was taken to the Northampton General Hospital on Glasgow Coma Scale 7 and then to the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford, a centre of excellence, where my pupils became fixed and dilated at 1.00 am on Monday morning. I had emergency surgery to remove 80% of the blood clot but remained in Intensive Care for nearly four weeks. There were three unsuccessful attempts to wean me off the ventilator but the fourth attempt worked due to the expertise of a wonderful New Zealand nurse called Nicky. Four weeks later the part of my skull which had been removed and kept on ice was replaced and successfully fused to the rest of my skull. I was sent back to my local hospital but remained in a deep coma for three months during which time I got Stevens Johnston syndrome due to incorrect medication and again nearly died. At my parents' insistence I was transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, another centre of excellence, where they stabilised me and my coma started to "lighten". I gradually came out of deep coma three months after the accident but was semi conscious for another six months or so back in the local hospital where they once again gave me the wrong medication. I was on lots of drugs and very drowsy, fed by gastrostomy tube into my stomach, incontinent and could not move. At theRegional Rehab Unit in Northwick Park Hospital they discovered I could still read and understand quite a lot so I made "modest progress" and they were able to arrange for me to go to Chailey Heritage near Brighton, England, yet another centre of excellence where, fifteen months after my accident my progress accelerated.
I have been given a computer by the National Lottery Board arranged by Sarah Greenland at Chailey Heritage through the Children's Head Injury Trust in Oxford. :) Sarah!Whizz Kidz supplied me with a power wheelchair. A local man, Keith Tyler, ran the New York and Venice Marathons which raised £3,000 for this (helped by donations from my old school, Salvatorian College and St Dominics Sixth Form College - thanks Mr Wehrle and Mr Lipscomb!). Now Martin Cross with the Harrow Rotary Club has raised enough funds for me to have a new chair which will allow me to get out and about more. It goes up kerbs! I am deeply grateful to Martin and his fellow Rotarians.
I was at Banstead Place in Surrey and then The National Star Centre at Cheltenham in their Head Injury Unit on the campus but they were a new brain injury unit and relatively inexperienced so I left there. I have been to special physiotherapy at Footsteps in Oxford which is great and am now at home attending day centres, swimming, going out and generally thanking God I am still alive…!
Keep on pumping the pump and the water eventually...... comes out of the well!
............ My sister Joanna and her husband Dan's first baby - Thomas - was born on 29th May 2001 at 8lbs 6oz. Their second baby, Jessica May was born on 20th February 2005 at 9lb 6oz - even more of a whopper! My twin brother Jonathan is married to Petra and they have two lovely children, Christopher and Rebecca. My older brother, Simon, has a beautiful girlfriend called Victoria. I would like a girlfriend !
This picture (above) was taken about two years after my accident. It shows my twin brother Jonathan, my sister Joanna and me. I was still very thin and weak but improving all the time. The tube had been removed from my stomach, I had become continent and was off all medication!
I have met lots of stars including :
My twin brother Jonathan and I met LOUISE at the BBC, where we went into the studio with her whilst she filmed Electric Circus - she is lovely! This was arranged for me by Dreams Come True and it truly was my dream come true...............
Another lovely lady I met at the BBC
that day, June Whitfield,
she is "Absolutely Fabulous"!
Other stars I have met are Bob Hoskins, Patsy Palmer, Gillian Taylforth, Chris Evans, Peter Bowles, Frank Skinner, Joanna Trollope, the Government Minister Margaret Hodge and some of the Gladiators. I have been encouraged by their interest and support but especially by the prayers said for me by the late Cardinal Basil Hume, and by Don Maclean on BBC Radio Two's "Good Morning Sunday".
There is a great website for Traumatically Brain Injured survivors and their carers - click onThe TBI Chat Room & Homepage
I am now Fourteen years into my journey of recovery and....