Friday, 29 February 2008

In the beginning

First things first I guess....

I've promised a few people I'd do this, So, here it is :)

I had my first Stroke in my late thirties. But it wasn't 'a biggie', in the sense that I wasn't left with permanent paralysis. Or so I thought.

I had what I thought was influenza. I'd worked a job where I had to be available to my team 24/7. Family man, two growing kids and a baby. One day I felt really rubbish. I'd got home late, put my feet up on the settee, and slept.

Two days later, I was told, I flickered in and out of consciousness, catching brief, muddled glimpses of concerned faces of family and friends stroking my hair, talking gently to me, urging me to eat. They'd wanted to call an ambulance, but I'd be "really nasty". And sleep again. I don't remember.

After about four days, I started to come round, and as a result of a severe nag-attack from she-who-must-be obeyed, too tired and weak to argue, I agreed to visit our GP - 10 mins away. It was only a bad Flu attack, after all, I'd decided. Doc was quick and efficient. She checked my reactions, looked into my eyes, took blood samples, checked my blood pressure - 200/100 (whatever that meant-then) scribbled a quick note, tucked it into a white envelope, and said.....

"Would you mind nippin' up to the hospital, and dropping this off for some more tests - your blood pressure's up a bit". Nice one. I arrived, and it was ""Would you sit in this wheelchair sir, thank you..." And I was admitted. I now know that she'd phoned ahead - because someone had noted on my medical records my aversion to being in hospita. Now there's crafty.

I'd had, what was
then called , a TIA - Temporary Ischmetic Insult. A TIA was defined as a stroke where the effects where no longer evident after 24 hours. (Pffft!) A scan had showed most of my Cerebellum had been destroyed. My Doc had spotted that I was confused, unsteady on my feet, weak grasp, and more importantly, my right pupil was very slow to react. Confirmed at the hospital.

I only had only two minor battles at the hospital. One was that a major indicator of alcoholism is a 'thinned' Cerebellum. I had a right twit of a junior registrar, who needed to be slapped down by his Consultant because he frequently insisted I "was a bit pissed" because "my breath smelt funny". Indeed it did. It gave me an odd satisfaction to see the look on his face when the consultants ordered blood-glucose test, and I was discovered to be a skinny, underfed (me bad) type two diabetic. The "funny smelling breath" was a classic sign of diabetes - Acetone.
The other was getting out :)

Anyways, in the years since, I've had four to five episodes like that a year. I'm not allowed out alone. And I think that's wise. I have a particular hatred of the phrase TIA. They're small Strokes. The effect has been accumulative for me. I'm now at a stage whereas I'm a little more mobile than someone who's had a Biggie.

I have a lot of other annoyances, yup. Like aphasia, dysphasia, incontinence, all round general getting empty headed confusion, and a tendency to wander off into the traffic - little things ;)

Please feel free to share your experiences.