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25 years of my life have been wiped out but I'm so happy.

Byline: Liz Walker

I live in a book. I have 88 diaries that I've written over the last 18 months. Each day I have to read what I wrote the day before to find what out what I did - Ann Harrison

A woman who had 25 years of her life wiped out by a brain haemorrhage is raising cash for a hospital ward to thank medics who saved her life.

Each day that Ann Harrison wakes up she feels like she's "won the lottery a thousand times" because she is so happy to be alive after suffering a double brain haemorrhage almost 18 months ago.

But every morning really is the start of a new day for the mum-of-four, as short-term memory loss means that although what happened 25 years ago is fresh in her mind, she has no recollection of what she did yesterday.

"I live in a book," she explained. "I have 88 diaries that I've written over the last 18 months. Each day I have to read what I wrote the day before to find what out what I did."

Ann, 48, was found on the floor in her home in Eastwood Road, Middlesbrough, by her husband Brian Jaffray in May 2005. She was in a coma and on life support in hospital for a month.

When she came around, although she knew who she was and recognised two of her children, Brian, 31, and Kerry, 27, she had no memories of her youngest two, Nicola and Tommy, both 23, her six grandchildren, or of anything that had happened over the last 25 years of her life.

She said: "It was terrifying. I have basically had to learn how to live all over again. My family say I am a different person.

"I feel like I'm 16 again. I can never stop talking and want to go out drinking all the time!

"When I first came out I had panic attacks and I wanted to be back in hospital as it was the only place I felt safe.

"But I learned to walk again, rebuilt relationships, even though I sometimes still don't recognise friends. "

Ann's condition has been a major strain on her family. Husband Brian gave up work as a bouncer to look after her and sister Dot Lapin has been constantly at her side.

She said: "I now remember some things, like my family and things that happened years ago, but I couldn't remember that I'd been and booked a holiday a few days ago. Every day I go back over my notes and read about what I've done."

Ann also suffers from the rare Buerger's Disease, which affects just six in 10,000 people and causes blood vessels in the legs and sometimes the arms to become inflamed, causing a reduction in blood flow.

Although doctors cannot confirm it, she believes this may have caused her haemorrhage.

But the future is looking positive for Ann and an operation earlier this month revealed that her recovery was on track and she would not have to be back for further tests for two years.

She is now planning a charity night to raise money for ward 24 at the James Cook University Hospital where she was treated.

The event will take place on January 25 at the Four Alls Club, Priestfields.

There will be pies and pies, raffles and a tombola and tickets are pounds 1.50 on the door.
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Title Annotation:News Local
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Oct 19, 2006
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