Fighting back after ordeal

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Waitaki District councillor Sharyn Price says she is fortunate to be alive after suffering a brain aneurysm in early January.

“I’ve been very lucky to come out unscathed,” she said yesterday talking of the ordeal.

“To put it in perspective, one third of people are dead, one third are left damaged for life and about one third of us are capable of up to a full recovery. My experience is not typical. I reckon I’m in the top one per cent.

“The surgeon said there was no damage and this was only made possible through early intervention and luck.”

Mrs Price, 47, who represents the Corriedale ward on the council, said the experience taught her a lot about “myself and life”.

“For most of the emergency process, I was unconscious but the community support, love and powerful backing from lots of people, not just family, have been overwhelming,” she said.

Mrs Price’s harrowing experience began on January 8. She was about to go to bed when she suffered a “thunderclap” headache.

In medical terms, she had suffered a sub-arachnoic haemorrhage as a result of a brain aneurysm.

Her husband, Julian, called St John and she was taken to Oamaru Hospital. This was all done quickly – if there had been delays the consequences could have been different.

“Because they’ve got a scanner they knew what to look for. They then shot me down to Dunedin where I was operated on to relieve the pressure on the brain.”

Another operation was required to stop the bleeding. This was only possible in Wellington.

A plane from Life Flight, with a special medical crew on board, flew from Wellington to pick her up and took her back to the capital for the operation.

“I’ll never grizzle about our health system again,” Mrs Price said.

After several weeks recovering in Wellington following the operation, Mrs Price was flown back to Dunedin on January 23 where she went into rehab for a week.

Usually two weeks would be spent in rehab.

“At the moment my progress has exceeded expectations but it will be a fairly slow return to work.”

Mrs Price and her husband run a farm and besides serving on council, she works for Telford Rural Polytechnic.

“I still experience neurogenic fatigue – this means the brain gets overloaded. If I manage it well, it will heal.”

Mr Price was also extremely thankful for the community support. He was in Wellington for 12 days while Mrs Price was in hospital.

He came home to find his stock on his farm looked after and lawns mowed.

“I also came home two weeks before Sharyn; people were coming with biscuits, muffins and casseroles,” he said.

“It’s a brilliant community,” Mrs Price said, and she was also appreciative of Waitaki mayor Gary Kircher and the council for being so understanding.

“Getting back to council is a very high priority and within a month I’ll be doing some of my old duties. I may end up prioritising.”

By CHRIS TOBIN

PHOTO: CHRIS TOBIN

ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY: Sharyn Price and husband Julian working with sheep at their Incholme farm inland from Maheno yesterday afternoon.