Monday, 25 October 2010

The stroke that nearly floored me

I’m at work, of course. I’ve been working ridiculously long days, trying to help get a magazine out. Sometimes I’ve started work at 8am and got home at midnight, without a proper break. Sometimes I’ve been too busy to get up out of my seat.
On this particular day, four years ago, I’m sitting at my desk, as usual, and someone asks me a question. It’s a question I know is going to create another set of problems but I’m trying to solve it. I try to pick up the flatplan in front of me, but I can’t seem to make my right hand work.
‘There’s something wrong with my right hand,’ I say to my Editor. ‘You’re not making any sense,’ she says. ‘Are you alright?’ Later she tells me that when I thought I was saying ‘There’s something wrong with my right hand,’ what I was actually saying was ‘blughiehoghgagoihbjghoighioajgh.’ Or words to that effect.
Someone brings me a glass of water and I try to pick it up with my left hand but I can’t. My arm won’t move. So now I have no movement in either of my arms or hands.
I’m taken to hospital. For a few brief moments I wonder if this it, and I want to call home, but I can't speak properly to tell anyone.
It takes a while for my speech to return. Gradually I’m able to use my left hand and arm again. The right takes a little longer.
It’s a hard way to learn you can’t work long, exhaustive hours and not take a break, that trying to make a living isn't the be all and end all if you don't have a life left to live.
But it’s a lesson you never forget.


  1. Gosh - what a shock and what a lesson. We take life and our health for granted. Thank you for this post - it really made me think


  2. Years ago I had a TIA and it was the most frightening experience of my life :( I went to open my bedroom door and instead if grabbing the handle, my right hand just sort of threw itself into the door :( within a minute the whole of my right side went numb, the tip of my nose went itchy, I couldn't talk (although as you said in my head I was making perfect sense)One of the paramedics later said that I managed to say something about pidgeons(!?)Luckily I was living with my parents so were able to dial 999. The rest is just a haze :(
    I was kept in hospital and they kept putting off tests, I could hear them saying that I was true young for a stroke but when they did eventually test me after a new doctor came in and asked WTF they were doing with me they confirmed that I had experienced a TIA.
    Frightening for being only 17 :(

  3. We never know or think about the experiences people had before we met them yet it is who they are and has forged their values. The whoel experience sounds pretty scary. We live at a fast pace and need to slow down - balance. I am glad you are alright but I imagine your outlook in life has changed dramatically.

  4. Gosh what a lesson ! I'm typing in the passenger seat while hubby drives to a meeting.... maybe I should slow down after reading that.

    Hope you are in fine health now?

  5. Gosh Liz, how very scary. I know it does not compare to a stroke in the least but a few years back I was struck by Bells Palsy and had a paralysed face for a few weeks. That was a big wake up call to slow down.

    I trust you learnt the lesson and are now taking it much more easy.

    Mich x