A week prior to a major health scare, Belinda Walker experienced some warning signs that trouble was on the horizon; a blood nose and flashing lights in her vision.
At work one morning Belinda collapsed suddenly, mid sentence in front of members of her team. “All I felt before I went down was a hot feeling crawling up the right side of my head,” she explains. “We were holding a funeral for a client at the time. As he was coming in the hearse, I was going out in the ambulance.”
A CAT scan at Rotorua Hospital revealed Belinda has suffered a brain aneurism and brain bleed. This necessitated an urgent transfer, by air, to Waikato Hospital for surgery and the Trustpower TECT Rescue Helicopter was called immediately.
“I was awake by that point, and the helicopter crew were very reassuring, talking to me and making me as comfortable as possible as we sped to the neurological unit at Waikato Hospital.”
On arrival at hospital Belinda learned she had a vein split lengthways, and an aneurism sitting in her carotid artery. She faced a 20% chance of survival and 75% change of severe disability, but to not have an operation was unthinkable.
Belinda’s recovery was amazing. She only had a slight face palsy that righted itself within 20 minutes of surgery, and she was out of the high dependency unit the following day.
“This experience has changed my whole outlook on things considerably,” she muses. “So I can’t drive for six months. What if I had been driving at the moment I collapsed. What if a rescue helicopter hadn’t been available. I am so, so lucky. Considering what I was told to expect before surgery, not driving is a small price to pay for all the help that has been given to me. I don’t sweat the small stuff.”