Meath miracle Graham Geraghty lucky to survive after suffering type four brain haemorrhage
Wife of GAA star tells how work colleague helped save her husband
GAA legend Graham Geraghty is back home with his family this weekend after surviving a near-death experience.
The former Meath footballer was struck down at work with a brain haemorrhage and aneurysm nearly three weeks ago.
But after making a miraculous recovery, Geraghty (47) was released from Dublin's Beaumont Hospital on Friday evening, and he's now in the care of his loving family at their Athboy home.
In an exclusive interview with the Sunday World, Graham's wife, Amanda revealed yesterday that her husband has "surpassed all expectations."
She said that 90 per cent of people don't survive the type of brain bleed that Graham suffered.
"It could have been a different conversation we're having today," Amanda told me.
She told how Graham was in the right place when he suddenly became ill because it was the quick action of a work colleague that saved his life.
Geraghty, who won an All-Ireland title with Meath in 1996, and captained the team to another victory three years later, went back to education in 2013, starting a social and community development course in IT Blanchardstown, and graduating with a Bachelor's Degree.
He's now a social care team leader with Three Steps - an organisation that provides residential services for children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities or who may be experiencing emotional, behavioural or family problems.
Graham was at work in their Trim house three weeks ago when he suddenly became ill.
"They were just finishing up for the evening when he got a really bad headache," Amanda recalls.
"It got so bad that his work colleague thought he had the symptoms of a stroke, and he called an ambulance straight away.
"It was quick thinking by his colleague. Graham and his colleagues are highly trained in First Aid, in every aspect of every situation or every case, so he was very, very lucky where he was, that he was at work. If he had been somewhere else, someone might have put him to bed or something, and it might have been a different outcome.
"The ambulance was there very quickly and he was brought straight to Navan Hospital. They were just brilliant. It was identified very quickly and I can't praise the staff half enough in Navan, or in Beaumont Hospital where he was transferred to.
"He'd had a brain haemorrhage, type four, which is the worst you can have, and an aneurysm to the back of the brain.
"The good thing is that he didn't have to have a craniotomy. The operation was done through the groin, otherwise he wouldn't be coming out of hospital for months. He was very lucky that they were able to do it that way. He had a great surgeon, the best possible you could ask for, Dr Paul Brennan."
Amanda said she and her two daughters and two sons, aged 22 to five, had an agonising wait before they learned that Graham's operation had been successful.
Due to the Covid restrictions, Amanda told how she and their children were unable to visit Graham in hospital.
"I didn't see him for nearly three weeks because there is no visiting whatsoever. But the whole hospital team looking after him were very good to me and kept in constant touch. I was also very lucky that (former Meath footballer and surgeon) Gerry McEntee, who is a brilliant man, was in touch with me at all times.
"He's attached to Navan and the Mater Hospital, so we were very lucky that we had him. He was able to liaise with the medical team in Beaumont to keep me up to speed."
Amanda said that her husband had no health issues prior to suffering the brain haemorrhage. "It's terrible what happened to a fit man, but at least he's a lot better than what could have been expected. He was as fit as a fiddle and got no warning. The whole thing has been unreal.
"He's still very weak, but he can walk and his speech is perfect, he's completely coherent. However, his vision isn't great, it's blurred, he's got double vision, so he probably won't be able to drive for quite some time.
"I've got a lot of phone calls from people who say you can't predict the recovery. It could be three months or six months to a year. People suffer chronic fatigue and weakness with it, but knowing Graham he'll probably change that bar.
"He'll get back, he is so determined. As anyone who knows him will tell you, he's highly focused and determined. If they tell him it's going to take six months to recover, I imagine that will be three months with him. He's home now; we'll take it one day at a time."
Amanda said that the family have been flooded with letters of support from people all over the world. "I never knew Graham was so popular," she laughed.
"I also had thousands of calls and texts, so I dealt with that by putting an update on Facebook each week."
And she added that one letter in particular from an elderly Mayo man living in Dublin gave her a laugh at a time when she was in the depths of despair.
In the letter the Mayo man describes Graham in his glory days: 'He was blond, had a body like a Greek god,' the man wrote, adding that a female colleague at the time said that if she got him into bed she'd "knock the blond out of him…and he'd be so knackered he'd be f'all good to Meath.'
Amanda added: "That gave me such a laugh. I thought it was the funniest thing ever."
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