Edinburgh cyclist had no memory of her own family after collision with car
A cyclist who was hit by a car woke from a coma with no memory of her husband and children.
Emma Feesey, 48, suffered a brain injury after the accident as she cycled home from work.
The mum-of-two woke with few memories – she was even unable to draw a giraffe or work her mobile phone.
Now that she’s recovered Emma from Edinburgh now hopes sharing her journey will help other brain injury survivors embrace their new way of life.
She said: “The important thing is survivors know that no matter how strange or hard things seem, life gets better.”
Emma was cycling home from her work as a criminal justice social worker when a car ploughed into her at Deans Roundabout in West Lothian in August 2017. The driver escaped prosecution.
Emma – who was wearing a helmet – sustained a subarachnoid haemorrhage and a midline shift after her head struck the ground.
She was treated at the Western General before being moved to the Astley Ainslie Hospital for specialist care.
Ahead of her guest speech at the Edinburgh Head Injury Information Day hosted by legal firm Digby Brown, Emma said: “Someone asked where I lived - I knew the street but not the number.
“I was asked if I was married and I didn’t know. I was asked if I had children and again had no idea.”
Emma was supported throughout her recovery by husband Colin, 49, and their two daughters Rosa, 26, and Zora, 24.
She added: “Colin was really worried – firstly to think I died and then to realise I had no memory of him and the girls.
“Then when I remembered my husband and my daughters I wanted them there all the time.
“I felt physically okay and I only knew I had a brain injury because people kept telling me I had one.”
During her recovery Emma was unable to sketch objects and failed to recognise her own mobile phone.
She continued: “I remember finding a ‘communication device’ near my bed. I now know it was my phone but at the time it was just a thing I thought would help me document things.
“It took me ages to type anything - I just kept taking photos of my own face – and when I did finally manage I unknowingly posted it to Facebook which caused a commotion.
“But I was most frustrated when I was asked to draw a clock and a giraffe.
“With the clock I drew the number one, put in a few other numbers and drew a shape around them and with the giraffe I drew it like a horse with a long neck - but the hospital wasn’t satisfied.
“It was about three weeks for everything to click into place."
Emma is now retired on medical grounds but hosts a yoga class and is focused on bringing positivity to her life and the lives of others.
She has even been able to return to cycling after overcoming PTSD-related flashbacks.
Chris Stewart, Partner at Digby Brown and host of the Head Injury Information Day, added: “We help people like Emma and her family every day so we know it matters that other survivors have inspiration to draw on as they continue with their own recovery.”