Mum, 41, said her headache was ‘just a hangover’ she was actually having a stroke

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Helen Mullins claimed doctors told her she just had a “hangover” after going to hospital, but a day later she needed emergency surgery after it turned out she had had a stroke.

Helen Mullins
Helen Mullins in May 2021 after her surgery

A mother who says she was told her headache was “just a hangover” was actually having a stroke.

Helen Mullins claimed she was sent home after being told she only had a hangover when she complained of numbness in hospital.

However, the 41-year-old from Nottingham was actually having a stroke and ended up needing emergency surgery to remove part of her skull.

Helen was working late, managing the floor at an outdoor event in August 2020 when she first noticed numbness creeping up her left arm.

The next day, he developed pain in his head and lost movement on the left side of his body.

Helen said: “It scared me because I lost all control of my arm and hand. The pain was like a migraine in the front area of ​​my head.

“It was unbearable.”

Helen called 999 and said she was told it looked like she had a migraine so she should take strong painkillers.

Helen before surgery
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But, later that day, Helen found that her symptoms were getting worse and she began to have difficulty walking.

An ambulance was called and she was taken to Queen’s Medical Centre.

The mother of five children relied on her aunt and sister to step in to care for her children; Dominic, 23, Kylah, 15, Alistar, 12, Izack, 11, and Miah, 8.

However, when she got to A&E, Helen said doctors told her her symptoms had been reduced to a hangover.

Helen’s scar from brain surgery
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She said: “When I went to the hospital, I couldn’t walk properly, my left leg was completely numb.

“I knew something was seriously wrong, but they told me I was acting drunk and obviously just hung over.

“I was at work the night before really late, so I only had a little drink. I was by no means drunk and I take my job very seriously.

“I also had a ligament injury at the time, but I had left my crutches at home and was holding on to seats and walls, which may have made me look worse.

“They told me I just needed to rest and rehydrate.”

After the surgery, Helen had to relearn how to walk and talk.
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Helen returned home but returned to the hospital the next day after her pain worsened.

This time, she was told that she had suffered a stroke caused by a clot and that she needed to be operated on immediately.

She added: “I was so confused because I didn’t even know what a stroke was.

“They had to operate to remove part of my skull because the pressure on my brain was too much.

“The next thing I knew, I woke up in the hospital with what looked like a fuzzy TV in my head.”

After the operation, he spent three months recovering.

At first he had lost his speech, but it returned quickly.

Because her surgery was done during the pandemic, she could only get her kids out the window
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She was also being fed through a tube and had intense physical therapy and occupational therapy to help her move.

It was particularly difficult for Helen to be in hospital during the Covid pandemic.

Helen said: “I remember walking up shortly after my operation and thinking about my children and worrying if there was enough food in the fridge.

“Those few months were tough.

“I was also dealing with changes in my body that I didn’t know about before and the physio was also very tough because I had a blood clot in the back of my knee which caused me a lot of pain.

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“The hardest part was when my sister bought my children to see me, but they had to see me through the window and they were all crying, I couldn’t even give them a hug. That was heartbreaking.”

“My mental health deteriorated after that, I was an emotional wreck.”

Helen was released from the hospital on November 3, 2020, after spending three long months away from her family.

Helen said: “I was allowed to go home in November 2020 and had carers until the following July.

Helen in her walker on September 17, 2021 while recovering
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“I’m still paralyzed on the left side, but I’ve gained movement in my left leg, so now I can walk more with a frame.

“But I have partially lost vision in my left eye and my left arm is still not well.”

Although it has been difficult, she is glad to be home and appreciates all the help she has received from family and friends.

She added: “My dad has been a godsend helping in any way he can and all my friends have been amazing.

“They even fixed up my house so it would be ready for when I was discharged from the hospital.

Helen receiving physical therapy and relearning to walk.
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“After discharge we had a team of family and friends to help take care of me, everyone has been amazing.”

Regardless, Helen is now able to walk around the block with assistance, recently managing to walk more than 2,000 steps.

Now take part in the Stroke Association’s Stride for Stroke campaign by attempting to walk 2022 steps and raise at least £2022 for the charity.

He also wants to raise awareness that strokes can happen to anyone, young or old.

Helen said: “I joke with my sister that I feel like Captain Tom walking around with a frame. I’ve been able to walk a couple of thousand steps now, which is why I wanted to do this challenge for the Stroke Association.

“I will walk 2022 steps and I want to raise £2022 at least too.

Helen is helped into a wheelchair when she is in the hospital
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“I have lost a lot since my stroke, but by sharing my story on my ‘Helen’s Road to Recovery’ page. I have had incredible support and been able to support others as well.”

A Nottingham University Hospitals Trust spokesperson said: “We would like to wish Ms Mullins all the best in her recovery and in her efforts to raise vital awareness and funding for the Stroke Association.

“Ms. Mullins has not contacted us regarding her care, however, we encourage her to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) so we can discuss any concerns.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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