How It Started
It was in the act of blinking my eyes at 6am that I first realised I was not in a good way. The overwhelming feeling of the room spinning uncontrollably, yet in darkness as my vision had gone, resulted in a feeling of dread and fear. Little did I realise that at the age of 39 I was in mid-Ischemic Stroke and that life was about to change forever.
I suffered a stroke that Saturday morning whilst in bed. Panic set in when I tried to stand up and my legs gave way. Something was obviously not quite right! I made it to the bathroom, helped there by my wife, where hours of constant vomiting ensued, sandwiched between deep sleep and the room moving in all directions at high speed.
I finally admitted to myself that this predicament wasn’t one where a typically ‘blokish’ response would suffice and a trip to seek medical help was required. I was duly admitted to Arrowe Park hospital for CT and MRI scans. With friends and family by my side, we awaited the doctor’s diagnosis and after an interminable wait the verdict was delivered: significant damage to the brain due to an Ischemic Stroke. In addition, further scans have shown that I have a dissection of my vertebral artery which requires the ongoing care of the specialists at the Walton Centre.
I’ve been well supported by the team of Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, and the Acquired Brain Injury Team. My rehabilitation is going well, and with my positive disposition for life, I’ve made the decision to start a charity: A Stroke of Luck.
My biggest issue post-stroke is fatigue.
Anyone who has suffered a stroke, and has this as one of their outcomes, will understand how debilitating it is. It’s a dreadful experience that a sufferer would have to live with every day.
I have learnt to manage my fatigue via a traffic light system: Red, Amber, and Green.
When I’m in my ‘Green Zone’ I’m able to function pretty much as I could pre-stroke, albeit with a slight left-side weakness and concentration deficit. When in my ‘Amber Zone’, my speech and thought processes slow down and my left side weakness is more pronounced. In ‘Red Zone’, I become very limited in my movement and struggle to communicate effectively.