Documentary. Louis takes a look at the issues that some of the estimated one million people in the UK living with the long-term effects of a brain injury have to deal with.
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-How's it going?
-Er, well, it...
-Yeah. We're doing really well now. It's been a long journey.
2013, it all started.
I just popped out to see my father in hospital, came back
and Robin was on the floor in the...in the bathroom.
Were you? Do you remember it?
It looks like a war wound, doesn't it?
You don't mind, do you? You're proud of it.
'For several months,
'I'd been spending my days getting to know people with brain injuries.'
How are you doing, Dan?
'The most precious part of our human anatomy is also
'one of the most mysterious and damage to it can lead to
'unpredictable changes of ability and behaviour.'
This programme contains some strong language.
'I'd been curious to get inside the experience of people whose
'bodies and minds have been radically altered.'
As far as you are aware, you feel you're the same person.
-Rob, is that your perspective as well?
'Trying to find their place in lives that no longer seem their own.'
You feel you don't really need to be here?
I don't. I want my independence.
'And reconnecting in relationships in which everything has changed.'
'At Daniel Yorath House, a brain injury unit near Leeds,
'I was meeting Earl Linton.'
Hi, Earl. Louis. How are you?
-Fine, thanks. Yeah, pleased to meet you.
-Yeah, pleased to meet you.
'Two years earlier, Earl had been involved in a fatal car crash
'in which he'd sustained a serious head injury.'
Oh, so this is your spot?
This is my spot just over here.
'Charged with death by dangerous driving but unfit to stand trial,
'he'd been given a supervision order
'overseen by the unit.
'With us for our chat was Dr Yasmin Precious
'and Earl's mum, Patricia.'
Can we look at some of the things that are important to you
in this room?
Yeah. Awesome Arsenal scarf.
Arsenal are going to win the title this year.
Did you support Arsenal before the brain injury?
-That hasn't changed?
Yeah, I love football. Erm, I got...
Show me some of your clothes.
I don't really bring my expensive clothes down here
because all I do is lounge about.
Earl just wants all expensive stuff now. Before, he wasn't bothered.
But now he just wants all named brand clothes and...
What are these?
This is mouthwash.
But he brushes his teeth three times as well.
He goes in the shower. He'll brush his teeth in the shower.
He goes in the bath, he gets out of the bath...
I've got a lot of OCD.
..all in the same time, and brushes his teeth
and at home he has to have two different toothpastes, if not three.
He does things in threes and fives for some reason.
So how did you come to be in a brain injury unit?
Erm, well, what it was, in 2013,
erm, I suffered a severe brain injury in a road traffic accident.
I had to learn how to walk again, talk again, eat again.
How long were you in hospital for?
Erm, I can't really remember. I think you know, Mum, don't you?
Yes, he was in hospital for a month.
They transferred him into the community,
to a neuro rehabilitation out day patients', where he was going...
Start again, you got that totally wrong.
Erm, Earl came home for a short period of time from
Northern General Hospital and then he had to go back
into a rehabilitation unit
for another month and then he came back home to be...
No, you've got it totally wrong again, you're really annoying me.
Please say it yourself.
Just say, Earl was taken home against the doctor's wishes.
No, I'm not going to say that again.
You know what, here's what we... Let's focus on...
But she's saying a month, yeah? I was there for six months, yeah?
-In which one?
-I was at Osbourne Building for six months, yeah...
Why are you lying?
Hold on, guys, let me just... Can I just...
I was in Osbourne Building for six months, I left in April 2014.
Nah, nah, nah. I was there for six months, Osbourne Building and...
-And neuro rehabilitation...
You did six weeks.
Er, I was on Osbourne Ward but they couldn't do anything for me
because all my physical injuries, like broken bones, was healed.
Then he came home and he was just chucking
things around the house, verbally abusive, kicking the doors.
So in a way, it sounds like after you'd got better physically,
there were these other things,
erm, to do with your behaviour and the way your brain was working...
-..that were still problems. Is that right?
-He's very enthusiastic...
-HE PLAYS MUSIC
..but when he comes round to doing it, his mind will go wandering.
This is what he does and this is what he does at home.
# My bitch, I buy her Jimmy Choos Damn... #
Earl never used to listen to this music before, as well.
Earl has come back a completely different person.
She'll go, "Why you listening to that music? You're not a fool.
"You're not like that, this isn't your life, you don't live that life.
"Stop listening to this, people selling drugs and using guns.
"That's not you so why you listening to it?"
He never... He wasn't into anything like that before, Earl.
You said he came back from the injury...
I've got a different son.
He looks like my son,
that's Earl, but he's got a different soul inside him.
He's a different person. That's...
-He's not Earl, he is Earl but he's not.
I'm still alive.
I know you are. You're just a different person.
I can't help it, I'm sorry.
Daniel Yorath House is part of a network of similar
units around Britain, run by the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust.
They have the delicate job of housing
and supporting people with serious brain injuries, as they relearn
skills and rediscover who they are.
The effects of brain injury can be profound
and sometimes include impulsiveness and even changes in personality.
Do you remember that, Paul? I'll show you first, yeah?
Friends and family may need to work out new relationships
while their loved one has to do the rehab necessary to
get their life back on track.
You're nearly there.
'At Redford Court, a unit in Liverpool,
'I was with Dr Ivan Pitman.
'We were about to see Dan Park.'
-Dan, Hi. Are we OK to come in?
-Hello, Louis, nice to meet you, my name is Daniel.
'Dan's family was nearly 200 miles away in London
'and so his goal was to live independently.
'But he'd just moved back into the main unit, following some
'issues with his behaviour.'
One of the things we've been talking about at the moment with
-Dan is, we've just scaled things back a bit, didn't we?
We just kind of, erm,
limited Dan's kind of access off the unit without staff.
-So what are the kind of things that I'm really interested in you
working on when you're going out?
Can you think? I suppose, sometimes I worry that you're over friendly.
-Yeah, I'll talk to anyone.
-You go up to strangers?
-Not up to them.
If we're in a queue or something, I'll tap them on the shoulder
and say, "They're taking their time, ain't they?"
-Then I'd start a conversation.
-Dan's got a great sense of humour.
-Humour is important, isn't it?
-But sometimes, again, and this is just...
-But I take it too far.
Give me an example.
One year when, like the team senior was downstairs, yeah, and
I pulled the two psychologists, yeah, to the side, and I just said
to 'em, like, "Oh, you know, I've had enough of this and everything,"
and I pulled a joke knife out of me pocket and I went like this, yeah,
and I told one of 'em what I was going to do, yeah,
and she was laughing, yeah!
And then the one that never knew anything, she jumped, yeah?
And as I turned round, Maggie come up to me and went, "Dan, that
"was totally inappropriate, I'm going to tell Bella,
"I'm going to tell Ivan." Apparently Ivan heard about it and laughed!
Well, I was surprised... I was surprised at people being, er,
startled by it because it's a good practical joke, isn't it?
But from Maggie's prospective, she thought you'd really hurt yourself.
If you thought Dan was stabbing himself in the chest
for real and you were in charge of taking care of him,
-it wouldn't feel funny at the time.
-No, that's the difference.
-It would be frightening.
I said, "Jenny, I've just found this brick on the stairs.
"I think the building's falling apart.
"Here you go." And I threw it, yeah!
She was like, "No!" and it was a polystyrene brick!
-So she might have thought it was a real brick.
And then you would think you were about to get hurt, wouldn't you?
It was funny, though, I mean...
We kind of know you well, don't we?
So we, in a sense, know that you're...
you've got lots of strengths.
The thing that sometimes trips you up, that's inhibition, isn't it?
Then that's where your injury in your brain is.
You know, the front part of the brain is the part that
kind of stops us from doing things.
So you had a head injury, is that right?
-How long ago was that?
It was when I was 14 in '98, yeah,
and, erm, I got rushed to hospital after I got hit by a Transit van.
-A Transit van?
I spent about a year...just over a year in a coma and then
when I woke up, yeah, one of the nurses told me
I'd lost just over a quarter of my brain.
I mean, would the ultimate goal be for you to go out
-and live on your own, do you think?
-Yeah, but I like...
Because the thing we have to remember, isn't it, is that,
whilst we've got to be careful that you, you know,
we talk about living independent,
that starts feeling really nice and a great idea, but I'm thinking
that Dan actually would do really well in a little communal setting,
maybe a shared house with a few other people,
with staff being present. Yeah? Yeah, yeah. OK.
For most of those in rehab, the ultimate aim is to move
back into the outside world full time.
It's an enormous step, combining the physical challenges
of everyday life, with the emotional ones of being amidst family again.
In Cornwall, I was about to meet Rob Barnard.
-Good morning, how you doing?
-I'm Louis, how you doing?
'After two years of residential rehab, Rob's wife Amanda had re-joined
'the family three days earlier, in a new house equipped with an annexe.'
So this is your new house?
Yes. This is all, yeah, the main bit. We have, erm...
And you've been here for how long?
-Er, two weeks this weekend.
-And who's down here? All right?
So this is, er, Oscar.
How you doing? How old are you, Oscar?
So this is Ollie.
-Hi, Ollie. Louis.
Nice to meet you. How are you doing?
-It's nice to meet you. Good.
-What were you playing just then?
Er, I was watching YouTube.
-Was it Stampy?
How do you know?
Was it Stampylongnose? Was it?
-See you later. Nice to meet you, Ollie.
So this is Amanda's sitting room.
-And at the minute,
where Mandy's support worker stays overnight.
Bedroom. Amanda's kitchen. Whether she uses it or not, I don't know.
She hasn't yet, so it's fine.
There is a lock on there, that was one of Amanda's stipulations,
that she wanted the door locked.
She wanted a lock on the door?
What was that about?
Er, perhaps a bit of privacy, I think, you know,
she's been in...an institution for such a long time.
I think for her to come home
and have just a bit of independence, to be honest.
'Amanda had been a veterinary nurse before falling from a horse
'two years earlier.'
Here she is.
We've been going on a little tour of...
Magical mystery tour?
It was a... It was magical. That's Amanda, is it?
Mm-hmm. Yeah, that's Amanda in...
-Is that Amanda?
What was that for?
And where are you, Rob?
So that's you. And, Rob, what kind of work do you do?
-I'm a marine engineer.
-A marine engineer?
-What does that mean?
Attempting to fix people's boats.
So on Wednesday you came back from the unit.
-You're in this new place, this new house that you've bought
specifically to cater to the needs that you now have.
How are you liking being back so far?
Yeah, it's good. I like it.
-I mean, we went on a little walk around...
..and Rob had said that you were very clear
that you wanted your own space.
Now, before the injury you would have shared a bed, I'm sure,
and, erm, not had your own little bit of the house...
-So what's changed for you?
I don't know, really.
Erm, the other house that we moved from, to come here,
I used to stay in the spare room and it worked,
it's much easier than sharing a bed with somebody who smells.
You can't smell.
I can't any more but I know you do smell.
You grovel around in the bottom of a fishing boat in guts and wee and...
Eugh! And you come home and you don't shower.
And Rob had mentioned that you were quite keen
even for a lock on the door.
-Is that right?
-What was that about?
When I want to be by myself, I can make sure nobody just keeps
coming in, especially with kids.
It's not that I don't want to see them
but there are times that I want to be by myself.
And as I understand it...to begin with, you were saying that
-you'd like to come out to your own house...
..and not even be IN the family home.
-Is that right?
-Why was that?
Erm, I don't know, I just thought I'd be better on my own.
Me and my dogs and my cats.
Amanda having her own house isn't doable.
She would need a 24/7 carer.
Now, it's cheaper for Amanda to go to a care home.
That's a 38-year-old going into a care home. No way. That's just...
I wouldn't have minded.
As far as you are aware, you feel you're the same person...
-..and you've got some physical things that you need to work on.
But, erm, there haven't been, sort of, in your own sense of things,
kind of personality changes or even brain damage, if you like?
-Is that how you...?
-That's how I feel.
-Is that how you feel about it?
-Rob, is that your perspective as well?
No. No, I mean, Amanda's still Amanda, of course.
And there's still lots of Amanda,
I'll say the old Amanda, it's not the right word to use
but there's definite changes, you know, without a doubt.
Especially the emotional side of it, I find that quite hard.
Your emotions are quite flat
and I do notice that things annoy you more.
I mean, you've always said that you've lost your squishy side.
-At the risk of asking you an intrusive question.
-So you've been together 22 years...
That's a long relationship.
-Were you happy together?
-Very. Yeah. A good team. Best buddies, it was good.
Yeah, it was good and it still is good,
just different, for the time being.
We'll get there.
That's the plan.
I know, I'm drumming constantly.
So, this is all her stuff from the unit?
It is, yeah. Yeah.
-Clothes, a coat.
Amanda, can I see that picture? That's nice, isn't it?
It's me and Mummy.
It's only been since Wednesday
but is it nice having Mummy back living with you?
-It's quite a big change, isn't it?
Give me a kiss.
That's too quick, and rubbish.
-Yeah, we'll go this way around.
-Yeah, you know the way, do you?
-'At Redford Court, I was with Dan
'and his assistant psychologist, Alice Little.
'We were on a therapeutic outing to a local cafe.'
So what's the plan? Just to get coffee?
Er, coffee, breakfast.
And then, Alice, you're here to sort of offer feedback or...?
-What's the idea? What are we looking for?
-The idea is, Dan has such a lovable, likeable personality...
..which we absolutely love about him.
But I think it's fair to say, Dan, that sometimes you can be
-a little bit over the top...
..with your jokes. Erm, and it sometimes might put him
in a bit of an awkward situation with the public.
So what we do is, we take Dan out, we let him do his thing
and just offer a little bit of feedback.
They criticise me when I get back and...
Hey! Criticise is the wrong word.
-Positive feedback, thank you.
Can I have an omelette with salad and hummus
and a large hot chocolate, please?
What strikes me about you is that you're...you seem very well
equipped to deal with the wider world.
So I'm wondering what it is that's stopping
you in the outside... Well, from being there, basically.
Just like... It's loneliness, really. I mean, I've found...
Well, there's lots of lonely people who don't get to
-kind of move into Redford Court.
What do you... What you do see it as, Alice? I'm not quite getting it.
Erm, cos Dan was originally in the main unit, and then...
-At Redford Court?
-At Redford Court, in the main building,
and then he moved into a self-contained flat.
Cos he had unescorted community access,
so he was able to go off into the community
whenever he wanted which is now what we're aiming to reintroduce for Dan.
And you got involved with the wrong sort of people
and it led to a bit of... a bit of drugs.
-You did, Dan? Got involved with the wrong people?
What were they like?
They were nice.
One of them was a girl I started to see, yeah?
And two weeks into the relationship, I noticed that she was smoking
and selling it, like weed and stuff, yeah?
And then I just started smoking after a couple of months
of knowing this woman and I started buying off her and then, like,
she had two kids so I gave them my Xbox and things like that.
Do you remember your life before the accident quite clearly?
Yeah, I used to do boxing and I used to like running.
You liked running? Were you good at school?
No, no, I was always bunking.
I got moved to prison when I was about 18 and a half.
Erm, robbery, nicking bags and nicking mobile phones, shoplifting.
And you were in a coma for a year and a half, you came out,
you had disabilities associated with the brain injury,
erm, and then you went into nicking bags?
-How did that happen?
Some guy introduced it to me one night in a hotel
and it was nice so I started spending all my money on that,
and when I first went to prison, I was about 18 and a half, yeah?
I weighed four and a half stone.
You weighed four and a half stone?
-When you were 18?
Yeah, it's not the life I want to live, like.
Higher or lower than a queen? Higher or lower?
'Back on the unit and my plan was to start settling into the daily
'life of rehab.'
THEY SHOUT OUT
It's a two!
'Most of the residents were there because of car crashes,
'falls, strokes and aneurysms and had a broad spectrum of abilities.
'I was curious to meet someone who'd been there for many years and who
'depended on round-the-clock support in order to perform daily tasks.'
Hello. You must be nice to me, otherwise I cry!
You know me too well!
'15 years into her rehab, with eight of them
'at Redford Court, Natalie Smith is one of the unit's veterans.'
How are you? I'm Louis.
Nice to meet you.
Oh, that's nice.
You got a kiss. You have to get a kiss when you come to this house.
I'm Welsh, you see...
Shall we go in?
So we're making a documentary...
About people's rooms or what people say, what they do...?
About recovery from head injury.
Oh, a movie, oh! I'm doing a movie.
Which... I think you had a head injury, is that right?
Oh, God, yes, and it's terrible
but I don't give a monkey's, I just get on with life and enjoy it.
-To that extent of enjoyment.
Mm, do you remember what was... what was the nature of the injury?
Well, I fell, didn't I? I fell...somewhere.
You can't remember?
Is there anything you wanted to show me
in the room that is special to you?
Doing my old paintings. That.
Let's see that. What's going on there?
You look like you're welding.
-Making an artwork. Are you an artist?
I'm a piss artist!
-But you know what I mean?
-That shows some artistic talent, that does.
Did you study art? Did you study art?
I studied art, yeah, an art degree, I've got an art degree.
You know, I've just seen, up on the poster, it says "My Goals" and
"My Recommendations". Would we be allowed to look at the...?
Oh, of course you can! Come on.
Let's go over there, then.
"My Goals" says, "I want to leave Redford Court
"and live with my mum, to help her."
-Yeah, my mum.
-So one of your goals is actually to leave here.
To leave, of course, yeah.
-To move on.
-And move on. I'd like to do that.
-Sue, did you hear that?
So that is a goal. That's a therapeutic goal that is being worked...
That would be a goal but it wouldn't be actual for Natalie,
to move back home to her mum.
It's unrealistic, really, that goal,
although she would maybe in her, you know, her feelings.
"We recognise that Ms Smith has a number of inappropriate behaviours."
I fart a lot!
-But I think we all do that.
-Everyone does that.
-"Including verbal, gestural and physical behaviours."
I do muck around. I like this gentleman here...
We've lost her.
Definitely. A nice-looking man, you see.
I can't be rude to people. I don't think that's right, myself.
Don't be rude to people, yeah.
Yeah, I...verbally be... inappropriate.
Verbally inappropriate, things like that.
Which is what?
I know exactly what that is, love, and you do as well.
It is. Shake my hand, you little chunky monkey, cheeky monkey.
See you later. Lovely to see you.
-Bye, love, bye.
Bye. Ah, "Bye, gorgeous."
'Natalie and her family had given permission for Sue,
'her support worker, to disclose more about Natalie and her injury.'
There's so much warmth there, isn't there?
-Ah, she's just full of love and warmth for...
..others. She really is. She's very, very caring.
I suppose the scary point is, one could imagine
out in the community, unscrupulous people...
-Of course, yeah.
-..could take advantage of her.
She'd be too vulnerable to live out in the community.
She's dependent on support 24/7.
She said she had a brain injury of some kind.
-Did she say she had a knock on the head or something?
Yes, that's what Natalie says.
Yeah, but that's actually not quite right, is it?
No, Natalie, erm, attempted suicide with overdosing of...
She's a type-1 diabetic.
So she injected herself with too much insulin.
Unfortunately, it caused a brain injury. Yeah.
How old was she?
Natalie was 33.
She was 33 when it happened?
Yeah. Yeah. So she was still a young lady, you know.
So she's forgotten that?
That's completely forgotten, yeah.
And I think, even if you... if you were to remind Natalie every
week about what she did to herself, she'd still forget.
Oh, my God, 4-3. How about that?
'I was back with Earl, the young man I'd met on my first day in Leeds.
'He spends his weekends away from the unit, at home
'with his family in Sheffield.
'He and his mum, and his friend Warren, were
'showing their support for Earl's little brother, Romane.'
Romy, Romy, keep up, keep going.
Do you know the score?
3-0 to them.
SHE SHOUTS ENCOURAGEMENT
Come on, Mane.
Stronger! Hit it!
Ref! Fuck off!
Earl! Earl, I've told you.
-Earl, Earl, please, we're with kids.
I didn't mean to swear.
-That's it! Nice.
-It's in. Yes!
Well played! That's better!
That was good. So were you two at school together?
-And what do you do now, Warren?
-Like, my mum treats him as a son.
Yeah. So when the accident happened and that...
he took it badly and stuff.
He really struggled hard. Because of my, erm, brain injury,
I annoy him a lot of the time with some of the immature stuff I do.
We talked to Patricia about this a couple of days ago
and she was talking about, erm, Earl as having a slightly
different personality since the accident, in some respects.
Would you agree with that?
-In what way?
Just the way he, like, acts towards people and stuff like that.
He gets mad with, like, his mum a lot,
-like easy, a lot.
-She's annoying, she does my head in.
-She's only trying to help him out. Before, he wouldn't do stuff like that.
-She treats me like a kid.
-Not in the way he does now.
-She treats me like a kid.
Cos you act like a kid.
'Back at her house, and Patricia had laid on lunch.'
So what's in there, Mum, can you just tell us, please?
Curry mutton, it's, er, a favourite Caribbean dish,
And then you can take them over to the table and introduce Louis,
but I'm sure he's had Caribbean food before.
Erm, I haven't had it as much as I'd like.
'I was hoping to get a little deeper into Earl's story.
'I'd learned that it had been a friend of his that had died
'in the car crash.
'I was also curious to see his behaviour at home.'
-It's delicious. I tell you what, it's so tender.
This is Earl at college on his second year.
Did he used to cook for you before the injury?
He learnt me to cook some nice dishes,
like beef bourguignon and Dauphinoise potatoes, which I've
never done in my life, and home-made gravy and not gravy granules.
You couldn't go back to home-made gravy from
once Earl learnt to cook at college.
I put a mirepoix on - that's carrots, celery, onion, leek.
He doesn't do all that any more, he's not capable.
But, hopefully, with time.
'For afters, there was FIFA 15 in the front room for the youngsters,
'while I had a moment alone with Patricia.'
That was when he was 18.
They all went on holiday.
That's a nice one.
It is, he's very young, isn't he?
When you said before, you said, "My son's gone," or,
"I don't recognise him, it's a different person."
The only thing that's the same about Earl is his looks
and then his eyes aren't the same cos
when I look in his eyes, he's got a dead look behind his eyes.
Does that mean your feelings have changed a bit?
No. I love him just the same, if not even more because...
-..it's a different person, in your view?
He's a different person but he's still my son.
He behaves... I don't like his behaviour.
I don't like his actions at times but I love my son
and I always will, regardless.
I've just got to keep strong and give him
a strong foundation to keep learning
and, hopefully, he'll get it and if he
doesn't get it, I'll just continue
to do what I'm doing until my days are done
and then his sister will look after him, cos we've got no choice.
How much can you say about the accident and how it happened?
Who was in the vehicle, er, when it crashed?
There was Earl in the car...
Earl, who was driving?
Yeah. Erm, his friend and his ex-girlfriend.
Earl pulled in front of an ambulance and clipped the kerb,
lost control of the car.
The car went across the road.
He ended up going down on the tramlines
and it wrapped round the tramline pole.
Am I right in thinking he was going too fast?
Yes, I'm made to believe he was doing about 50.
He'd only been driving two and a half weeks as well, himself.
So you thought you were doing all the right things
but, obviously, sometimes you're not.
You think there's something that you could have done that might
-have averted it?
-In what way?
-Not bought him the car. It's that simple.
Why are you in here, crying on camera, talking shit?
Everyone can see you on camera crying, like, right sad,
feeling sorry for you.
And this is what he does all the time, Louis.
-What do you think
-mum's going to think when she sees it?
-I'm not crying about that, Earl...
-"She's in the kitchen crying and our son's dead."
-He asked me a question.
Earl, you're leaping to all kinds of conclusion about what
Patricia's been saying,
and, actually, she hasn't done anything embarrassing.
I'm going back tonight, I don't want to stay any more.
I don't really want to stay here.
I can't put up with the bullshit no more.
Get my mum to take me back, I'm not staying here.
Did you just lose at FIFA, is that what happened?
Did you come in here because you just lost at FIFA?
No, I was...
Did you just lose? Tell me honestly.
No, I didn't... Yeah.
So you came in here in a mood and took it out on your mum?
Maybe you want to say sorry to your mum.
For coming in here and...making her feel bad.
I didn't make her feel bad.
Erm, sorry, Mum.
'For all its turbulence and the turmoil caused by his injury,
'what was most striking about Earl and Patricia's relationship
'was that it was still so strong and unconditional.'
'I was heading back to Cornwall, to see Amanda and Rob.
'I was curious how they were getting on with their new arrangement
'with Amanda back at home, living in an annexe.'
'I'd arranged to spend a Sunday with them.'
-How are you doing?
-I'm making cakes. I'm fine, thank you.
-And, Rob, how you doing, Rob?
-Doing all right.
Good to see you.
-How long is it since I saw you all?
-Is it two weeks?
-Two weeks, I think. Yeah.
-How's it been going?
Erm, yeah, not bad. It's been difficult, hasn't it?
Difficult, in what way?
Erm, it just... We sort of had the idea that Amanda was going to
be in the annexe, that was her sort of, erm,
pre-requisite for coming home,
was that she would... That she would stay in the annexe but she hasn't.
So it's made it a little bit difficult.
Amanda's...not brilliant with the boys just because she's got a...
bit of a short fuse and, as she said, she's lost her squidgy bit.
So she'll go from being super, super nice to - pow -
straight in and all singing and dancing, lots of shouting.
The cakes are ready for you to decorate.
-Come on, Osc.
I'll decorate them with blocks.
I mean, Ollie said to me
the other day, he feels a little bit like Mummy's an intruder
and he thinks Mummy's in there somewhere and she can't get out.
All right, mate?
We were saying that... You said you found it a bit hard with
Mummy being back. Why was that?
Cos she's been shouting at me nonstop. Oh, a blue tit!
Sorry. Er, yeah, she's been shouting at me nonstop.
-Yeah, well, I can see that would be hard.
Because of the... because of the brain injury.
Oscar, are you hungry?
No, thank you. I'm not hungry.
How do you feel now about being back?
-Do you feel it was the right move?
I get to see my kids every day, even if they don't want to see me.
-You wouldn't cuddle me last night for bed.
That made me sad.
I know, but...
"I know but," what?
I was already in bed, like snuggled up really, really, really tight.
I only wanted a cuddle.
Do you care that you made me sad?
It's not that, it's... Oh!
He wouldn't give me a cuddle night-night.
No, no, it's not that, it's...
Do you still love me?
Yes! Why wouldn't I?
Cos you don't behave like you do.
But you've enjoyed being back with the kids and...?
Yes, and my dogs. I missed the dogs.
My poor Diesel got old while I was away.
He was normal when I left and now he's a proper dodgy old bugger.
Oh, all right, boss!
I'm the boss!
You're not, you're a pest.
Oh, little chip.
I only got one bounce.
Are you in a sort of care-taking relationship
or are you in a sort of husband-wife relationship?
Now? We have no husband and wife relationship any more.
There's no cuddles, kissing, I love yous, anything like that.
You know, that's gone since the accident, you know.
I can't say to Amanda, "Cor, I've had a rough day," you know, at work
cos she'll just say,
"And? What about me? I had a head injury."
You said she's still just as intelligent as she was.
Yeah, absolutely, yeah.
The application of intelligence, they call it.
So she's super clever, super... As she was before.
There's no loss of intelligence
but it's applying that intelligence to something.
And, yes, it's the application.
She doesn't see herself as having these issues,
No. Yeah, that's right, an impairment. No.
She can see physically and she knows that her left arm, left leg
and her speech which, you know, when you talk to her, that's the problem.
But she has no insight into the effect it's had upon the boys
and herself and me and the family and all that sort of thing.
You know, we've gotta give it a go.
If it doesn't work then it doesn't work
but at least I can...
At least, if it doesn't work, we've tried every possible thing
we could have done. And if it doesn't work
then we'll just have to see what happens, you know, then.
Smile. Go on, smile. Look at that!
'I was back to see Natalie.'
-Nice to see you.
-You're looking great.
-How are you? Thank you.
Shall we do your whiteboard?
-Before breakfast, yeah?
-I know, that would be a good idea, that would be.
OK, can you tell me what day it is today, Nat?
Yesterday was Thursday, today is?
That's right. Well done.
-And the date?
Yesterday was the 10th, today is?
-Yeah. And can you tell me what month this is?
So what makes this date today special, Natalie?
It makes it special because it's a special time of the year,
where people can congregate or whatever they want to go to.
Yes, but today, especially this day, is?
It's your birthday. It's your birthday!
It's Natalie's birthday today.
Happy birthday, Natalie.
Happy birthday, Nat.
'For Natalie's birthday, we were off to North Wales.'
Hiya, I'm Louis.
'Natalie's Mum, Chris, was hosting a small party.'
# Penblwydd Hapus i ti
# Penblwydd Hapus i ti
# Penblwydd Hapus i Natalie
# Penblwydd Hapus i ti. #
'For me, it was also a chance to get to know the old Natalie.'
What was she like before the injury?
Very gregarious. She had ups and downs, you know.
When she was up she was very...you know, you can see what
she's like, she's almost manic.
Er, lots of ideas and...
Yes, in all sorts of ways. That's when she developed diabetes.
She looks like something out of Belsen, you know,
lost a lot of weight.
How old was she when she got married?
She got married in 1997, so she was 30, was she?
Well, yes, but it didn't last
and it just sent her a bit off her trolley, as you might say.
Do you mean she had a sort of depressive episode?
Yes. I'd seen it coming,
the writing was on the wall as far as I was concerned.
In what way?
Well, I could tell that she wasn't stable and well.
She was with friends and they went out for the day.
She said she didn't feel well
and when they came back, she was in a coma.
But they didn't recognise it, they thought she was asleep.
So she was... She was really very, very poorly
when they realised that she was in a coma.
Hello, Nat. What are you wearing this for?
Cos I like it.
We're looking at some old photos. Where's that nice one?
-That's when I got married.
Got rid of the husband, though!
Well, isn't that a lovely photo?
Of me with my high heels and all that stuff.
Mm. Do you remember it?
-I remember it.
-Was it... Was it a happy day?
It was a lovely day when I got married.
I thought it would be perfection but it wasn't.
Well, nothing's perfection, is it?
Nah! Load of codswallop. Isn't it?
You have to deal with what you've got, that's what I say it is.
-It's been 15 years since the injury...
-..which is quite a long time, isn't it?
How different would you say you are since the injury?
I feel a lot better now.
-Cos I have the injury, so what? It happened, so what? It's gone now.
It's a brooder, that's it.
I don't need to worry about it any more.
I would say that Natalie is the same person.
She's my Natalie. The traits, the characteristics,
the nature is still the same.
I mean, we know she's got a brain injury
and that presents a lot of problems.
But she's still the same Natalie and she's a...
She's a loving, caring person and she can light up a room, yes.
First of all, I'd just like to say that it was an amazingly high
standard of entry this year,
and, er, all of the cakes were delicious.
'By now, I was several weeks into my time in the world of brain injury.
'Amid the range and unpredictability of the challenges
'faced by the people I'd met, I'd been pleased to find
'consolations, relationships that had become more difficult
'but which, maybe because of that, were in many ways more rewarding.'
Go on, in you go.
Careful of this black one behind my right shoulder.
She's finding my hand quite interesting.
She didn't like that.
'Back in Liverpool, Dan was doing some volunteer work at a local
Where have they come from?
They all come from different places.
These two little ones, they're from our Welsh centre.
-And the idea is to get them re-homed...
-..at some point?
Forever homes. Would you like a forever home, Dan?
A forever home?
A forever home? Not really.
-Nah, I like to move about.
You're a nomad.
But it's nice to have a home that you can go back to.
At the moment, mine's Redford Court.
'But there were rumblings about Dan on the unit.
'A close female friend had recently moved on.
'He'd been feeling low and disgruntled.
'He'd told me his true feelings about rehab were different to the
'ones he'd expressed on camera.
'He and Ivan had agreed to sit down for a summit.'
One thing we haven't really talked about, which is a big thing
-I know in your life, Dan, is Sophia...
-..has moved on.
Do you miss her, Dan?
I don't know, probably more than what I'd miss my arms, you know.
I'd rather live with no arms than actually be without Sophia.
Yeah. You spent a lot of time together,
-she was a big part of your time here.
I mean, I'm trying to be as mature as I can, yeah, cos
-I wanna get out of here now...
-..I don't want to be here no more.
-Go on, why...
Why do you want to get out of here?
Cos I don't like it.
Er, when I've done 14 years of rehab
and I just want to get out there and live.
You want to live, what does that look like?
I don't know, sand and beaches and...
And you'd live just by yourself, or do you think...?
I'd live by myself but I want a house so when my family do come up
-and see me...
-..they can spend time with me.
And, erm, if and when the time comes, when you feel Dan is ready...
-..you can sign off on him...
-..leaving, walking out the gates and leaving.
-But at the moment, your feeling is he's not ready?
-That's one against 13.
Basically you overrule Dan,
which I can see from your position must be difficult.
Very frustrating, and that's sort of where we are, in a way, isn't it?
That's the position we're in.
And that's how... It feels wholly unfair to you, Dan, doesn't it?
-Do you feel ready? Do you feel like you could walk out there
-and look after yourself?
..you sign him off and say, "Do you know what,
"his persuasive powers
-"have convinced me he's ready."
He goes off and then what happens?
My concerns are, about Dan, is that things would start to slide.
I'd be concerned that Dan then wouldn't...
Things would start sliding, things would start to slide...
-I'd be concerned that things would start to slide, yeah.
Dan would start making associations with people, er,
that were selling drugs and that Dan would start kind of spending
all his money on drugs and alcohol, and whilst he was under
the influence of drugs and alcohol,
he would then engage in behaviours that
might actually put him in trouble, and I have those
fears and concerns because,
in the past, that's some of the behaviour...
-So the...like the... They're in the past, yeah.
So the fears and concerns are going to be there tomorrow, next year,
10 years' time, 20 years' time.
30, 40 years' time, till death.
You have the abilities,
but I need evidence that I can base my opinion on and that's what
I'm talking about, is that I want you to provide me with that evidence.
I think I'm going to go out for a cigarette.
All right, Dan. Thanks very much.
Yeah, man, whatever.
-I can... I can really feel what he feels.
Because Dan is very engaging and humorous and appropriate and so
you can see from his perspective,
-he must take it as very infantilising...
I mean, you could argue that there's people in the world who don't
really look after themselves very well
and we give them the autonomy to do that.
-So what's different here?
So the big difference for here, really, is it's, er...
when you come back to Dan, to talking about people's capacity to
make decisions, it comes back to whether they have a sound mind.
Dan, in many ways, is still quite stuck in quite adolescent
So the world seems, in many ways, quite a simple process,
and life is a little bit more complicated than just,
"I'll just live by myself and I'll be happy."
'For more of Dan's perspective, we sat down one to one.'
You feel you don't really need to be here.
I mean, Redford Court, yeah, is for people who need it.
I can walk, get myself up in the morning, shower myself, get ready.
I've done it now for like 12, 13 years.
It's like being told to live your life and I don't really need that.
I think the feeling perhaps from the clinicians and management is
that you are vulnerable because of your brain injury.
I'm going to be vulnerable to them for the rest of the time here.
You know, they're not going to let me go cos every day they're going to
think, "Oh, Dan looks vulnerable, Dan looks vulnerable."
I mean, I've gone 17 years of my life, yeah, I've never,
never been beat up.
Yet these are saying that I've got... If I go out
and make a joke about something, you know, people are going to stare.
So what? Let them look, you know?
All I want is a chance to actually prove myself.
You know, if I come back in two years and say,
"Ah, look at me, I did it."
"Add the coconut and bring the coconut milk up to boil
"and then add your dry ingredients and vegetables."
'I was back in Cornwall, making one last visit to Rob and Amanda.'
Are you ready to attempt this Thai green curry?
Is it worth attempting?
I hope so.
'I'd been struck by the very understandable
'tension in their relationship.
'I'd wondered if it might help to talk about it.'
Louis did the peppers.
Yeah, so be polite about the peppers.
I will be polite about the peppers. Beautiful peppers.
Do you feel, erm, do you feel in charge of your life?
Not at all.
I have to have a support worker 24/7.
So although I'm at home and I can get a drink when I want and do
what I want, I'm still having to consider somebody else, not just me.
So no, I don't feel in control of my life at all.
You are in charge of your life, though, aren't you, because...
-..I mean, whatever you wanted to do... I suppose
if you wanted to badly enough, you could do it.
So you're slightly going along with things to please, erm, Rob
-and to spare the children...
You laugh, it's not funny.
What's the "not funny" bit?
Any of it - the way I've been left, the way I am.
Of course that's not funny.
But you laugh at me.
I wasn't laughing at you, I was just laughing.
Mm-hmm, I don't believe you.
-No, no, the way you've been left is not funny in the slightest.
I think it was a sort of laugh of...
at the foibles of relationships and...
What, you're still grinning!
Yeah, I grin a lot.
It feels like you're a little bit angry with Rob.
He makes me out to be a bad person.
You believe I'm a bad person. Mm.
Do you really... Do you really believe that about Rob, that he
thinks you're actually a bad person?
Yeah, I do.
A malign influence in the world?
Yes. Take that grin off your face, smirky pants!
-Yeah, it's a grin, counteracting it.
You don't really think that about Rob, do you?
I do. He doesn't like...the way I am now, but, like I said, the person
he married died the day I fell off that horse.
I am what's left and I don't think I'm enough for you any more.
You don't feel loved by Rob?
No, not particularly. I feel like I'm a burden.
Why are you saying, "Mm-hmm"?
-No, I'm just having a...
-That's what you think I am.
No, not at all. I mean, if you were a burden...
you know, we wouldn't have worked so hard to get you home.
Rob was saying that he would like more of the sort of cuddling,
"I love you"...
Yeah, I'd like to get back to a normal husband
and wife relationship.
For the last however long, I've kind of had to take in a slightly
more of a parent-y, carer-type role, haven't I?
You closed your eyes and shook your head when Rob was
saying the bit about, erm, wanting more of a husband and wife...
-..relationship. What were you thinking about?
He's just a perv.
It is! Just go and get a shag, I don't care.
But I haven't.
If you're gagging for a shag, go and get one.
What's the matter with you, why are you laughing at me?
What a conversation!
What's up, Oscar?
What do you need? I'll be back.
Are you getting tired?
You're happy to be back.
But then sometimes I think you'd rather be somewhere else.
I'd rather be in my own home.
What about a care home?
That wouldn't have bothered me if that's what...
Where would you rather be, here or a care home?
You say you don't really feel loved by Rob.
Do you still love him?
Yeah. We've been together 22 years.
It doesn't switch off, but I feel like I'm a burden.
If you were in your own home...
-..somewhere else, with the dogs,
pets, then you wouldn't be living with your kids.
They don't speak to me. It's not the same.
It's all they can manage to say "hello" in the morning
and it is literally, "Hello".
Not, "Hello, Mummy, how are you? Have you slept well?"
Nothing. There's no conversation any more.
So I'm just stuck in the middle.
A burden that can't hoover.
Where is...? Where's the Spinosaurus?
Can you show him to me?
'I left Rob and Amanda, feeling their predicament was both painful
'and deeply relatable, and admiring the courage
'they showed in working so hard to keep their family intact.'
It's not far from the unit.
'On the units in Leeds and Liverpool, there was
'only time for some catch-ups and goodbyes.'
Is this your spot then?
It's not too bad.
It's all right. It's a bit cold.
So you're in your own... So it's semi-independent accommodation,
-away from the main building?
-That's right, isn't it?
-I've moved on to the next part of my rehab.
So it's sort of a promotion of a sort, isn't it?
It feels like this is my home and I've found a sense of belonging.
'So how are you, Louis?'
I'm doing well. How are you doing?
Things is getting better now, though, innit?
'Yeah, you've been there two weeks now.
-'And you're doing all right, aren't you?'
'I'm still glad when you get home on a Friday, though,
'you said this Friday, "Oh, I feel better already."
'And he came home this weekend and he was as good as gold for me
'because I've burnt my arm, he's been so thoughtful, so considerate.
'It was like having the old Earl back.
'I couldn't believe it, I really couldn't.'
'Uniquely, among physical impairments, brain injury
'affects our deepest sense of who we are.'
Blue eyes, brown eyes... Brown eyes, with glasses...
'In my time immersed in it, I'd met people caught between old
'and new selves.'
It looks a bit like I'm wearing war paint.
'Working to get their former lives back
'but with a changed sense of who they now were.'
Is that seriously for me?
Yeah. It's just popped, it's still hot.
This is good, just popped.
'The challenge they were engaged in was nothing less than to recreate
'themselves, with new limitations but also great possibility.'
Louis takes a look at the issues that some of the estimated one million people in the UK living with the long-term effects of a brain injury have to deal with.
Louis spends time with staff and service users at the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust, one of the UK's largest providers of neuro-behavioural rehabilitation, in an effort to understand how individuals and their families come to terms with this life-changing condition.
Often called a 'hidden disability' because those affected can show little physical signs of change, individuals with acquired brain injury face enormous cognitive, behavioural and personality challenges. Those affected are left to reconstruct who they are - from relearning the basics of walking, talking and eating to redeveloping complex personality and behavioural traits, often in the shadow of who they once were. Family members are often caught between grieving for the loved one they have lost and learning to love the person they are now.