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Debi Pullen

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Debi Pullen

Debi Pullen

I wouldn't know what to do without Headway Swindon

In 2007, Debi Pullen, 54 and from Swindon, was knocked off her moped by a driver who had become distracted while brushing her hair at the wheel.

The impact of the crash caused Debi's head to hit the road as she was thrown from her vehicle, leaving the mother-of-four unconscious on the doorstep of a nearby pub with a life-changing traumatic brain injury.

"I cannot remember the accident but I definitely regained consciousness at the scene," Debi recalled.

"My main concern was that my ankle was hurting. I was only taken to the hospital for a scan of my foot, which turned out to be nothing more than a sprain and I was sent home. It didn't occur to anyone that I had suffered a serious head injury."

Little did Debi realise she was now living with the much more serious hidden consequences of the head injury she sustained during the incident.

"It wasn't until nearly a year after the road traffic accident that my family began to notice that I was struggling to process my thoughts and had significant memory problems," said Debi.

"My difficulties included everything from forgetting to lock the front door to leaving the hob switched on, which could be very dangerous. It was perhaps even more worrying that I sometimes would not recognise friends and family members I had known for years."

As time went on, Debi's family became increasingly concerned for their loved one's wellbeing and, after much persuasion, Debi finally agreed to seek medical attention in 2011.

"I went to see the doctor because I was scared,"

Debi said: "An MRI scan revealed that the moped accident had, in fact, left me with a traumatic brain injury and so I eventually turned to Headway Swindon for support.

"My daughter has also been brilliant. Even today, I often struggle with word finding and sometimes say things like 'I have a bad hedgehog' instead of 'headache'. Crystal took me into consideration when naming her baby and chose the name 'Mia' because it's short and easy to remember.

"Generally, my family give me space and independence, but they are always there if I need them."

Since becoming a member of Headway Swindon, Debi has participated in a variety of rehabilitation projects, including a falconry experience and an eight week flower arranging course organised by the charity.

"My brain injury causes me to suffer from poor concentration and severe memory problems," said Debi.

"Two of the support workers at Headway Swindon look similar, so one went the extra mile to dress in a particular outfit each week so I could identify her.

"I cannot praise the staff at Headway Swindon enough for their help with everything from improving my sequencing skills to nurturing my ability to cook independently.

"Thanks to the charity, I have regained many of the lost skills and confidence I once took for granted before my brain injury. I would not know what to do without Headway Swindon."


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Headway - the brain injury association is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (Charity no. 1025852) and the Office of the Scottish Regulator (Charity no. SC 039992). Headway is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England no. 2346893.

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