Sunday, 22 February 2009


A quick 'plug' for Scientific Frontline, a site I'm a fan of and hope to work with soon in some small way. Say hi to Heidi from The Wheelie should you pay a visit. :)

Been thinking. Something I should have thought about years ago, but never got around to.

I'd had my front door open, much to the annoyance of me and mine, because it was pretty chilly, and I overheard the tail end of conversation between a neighbour and what I presume to be a door to door salesman.

".......there's the disabled bloke there", she said pointing our way, "but he won't be interested" My first thought was' "Aw, bless, thanks J. for looking out for me"

Then I thought. "Disabled bloke...?"

Disabled bloke. Hmmm. Gosh. She's right y'know. Had my first brain attack years ago, but I was in my late thirties, so I'd had nearly fourty years of reasonable health.

I've seen myself as an able bodied chap who just happened to have developed an anoyance called 'A Disability', as though I'd grown an extra leg or something. Yeah, bit's don't work as they should, if ever, the face droops, the speech comes out wrong, and people speak esperanto (it seems) sometimes, and I had to learn to think straight and recognise there was a world outside my head, sure. A 'disability' yup. Disabled though? No, never.

I had been told. My medics wanted me to claim disability benefits, handed me the forms and pre-arranged for an appointment with an advisor at the GP surgery. I was annoyed. But Bear and I went, and the advisor asked me a load of questions armed with the forms and a pen.

After half-an-hour, he said "Stop. Enough. I don't care how well you can cope with being disabled, and what you can do. I want to know what needs you have. What can I do to help?"
I sulked, Bear took over.

I'm disabled. I'm of the disabled community. It isn't a bolt on extra I just happen to have acquired. It's me. It's who I am. I don't yet fully understand why I've come to the realisation. Perhaps it's that the word itself I've refused to accept. Disabled? Does that mean I'm lacking in some way? Less than human? DISadvantaged compared to 'normal' people?

Overhearing that comment from a neigbour got me to re-reading the emails of the friends I've made as a stroke survivor, and realising that my friendships have come from being who I am now. A lot of them are very deep and loving and have enhanced my world. I love them because I love them because for who they are. Like my Bear and I, we've become good at finding ways around problems and barriers.

Being disabled, my diabled friends and I have become encouraged to accept our bodies and minds and feel comfortable with ourselves.

Certainly, it's given me more courage to express myself. More later.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Blimey, has it been that long?

Had another small stroke a little while ago. The medics like to call them 'T.I.A' -transient ischemic attack

Typically, a temporary stroke is when a blockage in a blood vessel in the brain lasts briefly, and the symptoms of stroke (F.A.S.T - Face Arm Speech Test) last a few minutes. Only in my case, it lasted a few hours - not that it was easy to tell :) Me being stubborn and pig headed, I thought I'd trust my gut instincts and ride with it. And I was right :) Phew. All I've been left with - on top of the usual - is periods of intense tiredness and confusion, which reminded me of the early days of my 'biggies'.

Not, I should hastily add, the recommended way of dealing with stroke symptoms, and I have been told off for it - but I'm an experienced stroke survivor, and to be honest, one can get pig-sick of hospitals. Me bad.


At long last the Uk Government has woken up to a Stroke public public awareness campaign.

I like the tv adverts.

The message is being pushed by the Stroke Association UK

The message is simple, and I hope you don't mind if I repeat it?

F.A.S.T - Face Arm Speech Test call an Ambulance.

Face - is one side of the face 'drooping' - particularly around the mouth on one side and eye?

Arm - do they have weakness, and/or they've lost the use of one arm and/or leg?

Speech - is their speech slurred or confused? Do they have difficulty understanding speech?

Test - them all.

Though there are two main types of stroke (there are others) - a bleed or a clot - the clotting problem is more common. It's thought if more stroke victims can get an anti-clotting treatment within the first four hours, thousands of lives could be saved and many, many serious disabilities can be prevented, and those disabled will recover much more quickly.

I'd also like to personally add that it can happen any time, any place. Much like diabetic hypo's, it's not unknown for stroke survivors to be considered drunk - heck, it can happen when someone is drunk. If in doubt - FAST