S**t happens – so do Strokes
On day One (October 8th 2016) IT happened. I went to the bathroom and I DIDN’T GET BACK. All of a sudden I had to sit down (not on the toilet) – I knew at once what was happening – I was having a Stroke. It shouldn’t happen to me, I thought, I’m only 74 – yeah that’s right we’ve all been there – ONLY!? —- Why ? I thought, when I should have been thinking, right what shall I do about this. So I could set about planning my future.
At first I could do nothing – literally nothing. To move any part of my left side was near to impossible, I had lost all control over my bodily functions, much to my shame, and had lost the ability to clean myself up which meant relying on others all the time for everything. When you enter hospital you forsake all dignity until you leave. Then I started to accept the challenges, and the long road back had begun. The call bell for help was being ignored for hours it seemed, so I played hell. I WON. The reply of ” be there in a minute” could mean literally hours of waiting (its called the hospital minute) again I played hell with them, and I won again, ( I was getting used to winning and found that I liked it). I spent hours a day (sometimes as many as eleven) sitting in a most uncomfortable chair, where I could practice and plan, After a while I realized that if I treated problems as challenges, they became challenges that I could win mostly, if I put my mind to it, and my mind hadn’t been affected. It was something I could do, so I did it.
So I spent my time plotting and planning my future progress. I fought against the goo that they insisted was all I could force down, and I won again. Water tasted like nectar, my first mouthful of pastie with vegetables and gravy was heaven. I graduated from the overhead hoist through various stages of equipment until I was able to get up under my own instigation, and then I was transferred to a stroke rehabilitation unit where I continued to learn until I could stand on my own two feet. It felt good, and at about that time I became able to move my thumb, just the faintest flicker but it was still a massive achievement for me and I saved that to show off to my wife when she next came.
I cried with pride that night.
Several weeks pressure from the Physios (bless them) wrought some of the desired effect, and I got released. I had been hospitalised for a total of 67 days, during which I have to say I was treated quite well. The food was very good (except “b****y sandwiches every night for tea). All of the staff were exceptional, except when I was on a crusade over some thing or another, or I was winding them up, I expect I was a PAIN IN THE A**S really. Every stroke is different and affects different people in different ways. In my case it seems not to affected my brain, (what brain you say?) but very often this was ignored. Everyone seems to treated as brain dead, which is frustrating to say the least.
Who cares – I was home again. What did I ask for for tea that night? A FLIPPIN SANDWICH of course. Talk about institutionalised.
Now was the time to really start to learn……I’ll tell you what I did ( good, and idiotic ) soon.