The Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Group
Well, I was hit by a car. A man was reversing, very quickly. He smashed into me. It was very, very difficult. I ended up in hospital for a long time.
I had been a nurse, but this put an end to all that. A few weeks after I came out of hospital, my husband died. I would not be here now if it hadn’t been for my family, though they live some way away.
Then I came to the Rowans in Worthing, to the ABI Group in 2005. Ian (who has also contributed to this project, see following pages) was a member and was just about finished at the time I joined.
I remember one day, I was waiting for the transport and the driver came in and said ‘Maureen, Maureen’. Then a voice behind me said ‘This is Maureen.’ It was Ian. I’d forgotten my name. The driver asked me where I lived, and I said in Thakeham. ‘No you don’t,’ Ian said, ‘you live in Goring-by-Sea.’ Oh yes, I thought, of course I do. That was the beginning of my learning with the group.
When I first started, I was very quiet. I had short-term memory loss. I used to get violent headaches, especially if I got tense. It was hard to become part of a group as I looked quite well, which can be a disadvantage. When I did things wrong, no-one understood.
The sessions were brilliant. We all learnt sign language, because one chap was deaf. The group was like a communal newspaper: if something happened we would talk about it. We would do puzzles too. Sometimes a saying, or a proverb, and we would fill in the words. I would often arrive late, because of my transport. And they would say, ‘Oh, here’s Maureen, she’ll know the answer.’ Sometimes I couldn’t do it, but sometimes I could and that made me feel great.
I loved being part of the group and I made huge progress. We now have an ABI Progressing Group. It’s the only ABI Group in the area and it has made huge achievements, it’s a great success story.