Brain Aneurysm Story | Endovascular Coiling Surgery – Tom Tinlin (Survivor)


(Tom) It was a Friday afternoon, a sudden onset
worst headache of my life. Powered through the weekend chewing on tylenol,
and Monday morning I go to my primary care and he tells me it’s stress. (Narrator) The fact is stress was nothing new to Tom Tinlin as Boston Transportation Commissioner and then highway administrator of the Massachusetts
Department of Transportation Tom knew about stress and headaches and he knew
this was different (Tom) 99% of the time it may be a stress
headache but somebody with no history of them, with a sudden onset of a
localized headache, when I bend over to tie my shoes that the throbbing felt
like my head was gonna come off my shoulders and I told him all of
this. And I told him the pain was so bad that I couldn’t fall asleep at night and when
I did it woke me up. So his answer was he gave me a sleeping pill. But the last
thing I said to him walking out of his office is with the prescriptions in my
hand I said, you know, you’re the doctor but I gotta tell ya, I feel like you’re
not listening to me. (Narrator) Still Tom plowed ahead with his schedule which included volunteering as auctioneer at a charity event (Tom) And that day while doing this auction, it felt almost like a rumbling in my head as if somebody had their hands on both sides of my head and was shaking it and what I know now is that
was the aneurysm rupturing. I went over to Heather and I’m not a let’s go to the
hospital kind of guy and I I remember just she looked at me and she said “you
okay”? I said and I just said you need to take me to the emergency room right now. (Heather) He had a terrible headache and he was pretty quiet the whole way and groaning a little bit, holding his head. And then when we go out to Dudley, he got really bad. (Tom) And I think at that time we both knew that we were in some trouble and I
remember getting her attention and all I said is you have to get us there (Narrator) Tom never lost consciousness and was
able to describe his symptoms to the ER physician who called for an MRI. (Tom) And I come out of the initial MRI and the guy says listen we don’t really know what’s
going on yet but they told us to do this for you, we’re gonna send you back out and
we’re gonna get caught up, we’ll do this report we’ll give him to the doctors. And
when they put me back into the MRI tube and, you know, I could hear the door
opening and closing and I could hear feet coming and going and the whole time I’m lying there and I’m saying I’m in serious, serious trouble. (Heather) They said if he makes it through the night we’ll see what our options are. We’re gonna keep him. He’s stable, the blood has ruptured, it has done its damage. We’re gonna, we’re
gonna take a wait-and-see. (Narrator) Tom had surgery the next morning to insert an
endovascular coil. His recovery and his education about aneurysms began. (Tom) I learned that of the people who suffer a ruptured brain aneurysm 30% don’t make it to the emergency room, right, 50% die in the first 24 hours. And the ones that don’t, you know, 50% of that population risk of dying in the first 30 days. (Tom) South of Boston Massachusetts (Narrator) Tom resigned from the Department of
Transportation and enlisted as an advocate for the Brain Aneurism Foundation (Tom) The way I tend to get better is to try
to give back a little bit, you know, and it makes me feel good. And, you know, and my whole objective is to work myself out of this volunteer job, you know, I want to be
in a position where there’s no more need to go to DC, there’s no more need to talk
to Congress, there’s no more need to beg my family and friends for money, you know, I
want to just sit in a rocking chair someplace and say isn’t it so cool that
brain aneurysms are no longer there’s no more research that needs to be done,
there’s no more cure that needs to be found, there’s no more support that needs
to be given because it’s off it’s off the list. And until that day comes then we’re
going to continue to do what we do and how we do it.

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