At the Stroke of 2 AM
I am currently in hospital. How did I get here? The quick answer would be “in an ambulance”/ The slightly longer version is that I had a little bit of a stroke. It might be helpful to tell you what that felt like. One day, if you have a similar experience, you might realise what’s happening a little sooner and you might get help a little sooner than otherwise. So this is what happened at the Stroke of 2 am. (See what I did there? )
It was just another Monday night (+) when I awoke to the sound of the dog (Peanut) doing his patented “full bladder” whine. Gee, thanks. He was in my bedroom so the bladder alarm was going off just inches from my ear- impossible to ignore (though of course I tried). I resigned myself to letting him out into the back garden, and tried to stand up. I pushed up firmly with my legs… and promptly found myself flat on my back on the bed again. OOPs -how did that happen? Never mind – try again. Up … boing … up … boing …. up … and boing. Yes, all I was managing to do was bounce up and down on the spot. After a couple of minutes of fruitless bouncing, I decided this was not as much fun as it might sound, and the bladder alarm (illustrated above) was getting louder. No problem… I slid gracefully off the mattress onto the floor. I tried again to stand up, but no… I lost my balance again… and again… and again. Not going to let a little thing like balance get in my way, so I crawled across the floor to the door and groped for the handle. Where’s my door handle gone? I know it was there lsat night. I just needed something to brace myself so I could stand up. But what? Ah! There was a convenient dog nearby. I clambered up the dog. At about this time it occurred to me that maybe something was not quite right. No worries, we’ll deal with that later – whatever it might be. So… I found the door handle by climbing up the dog. Peanut didn’t seem too happy, but I was making progress – so live with it, dog! By this time the other dog had joined us. Assuming we were enjoying a new game, Bloo promptly sat on my head. Right, door open, but balance wonky. Next? Get down the stairs. But with wonky balance how do I do that safely? All fours. If it works for the dogs… Down we go. It was much later that it dawned on me that that wasn’t entirely rational as decisions go. So I crawled across the living room to the kitchen and with considerable difficulty hauled myself up on a dining room chair and got the door open and the dogs out’ SUCCESS! Just one slight problem. The sodding animals want back in again. How inconsiderate! So, try to stand… oops… balance wonky so down I go, and resume bouncing up nd down for a few more minutes. Now i’m starting to wonder if something might be wrong. Meanwhile… the good Mrs W realised she’d heard us go downstairs, but we hadn’t come back. SHR wondered if something might be wrong and came down to findme lying on the kitchen floor, trying to pull myself to a standing position by clambering up the dog (again). “Oh my god,” she said. “I think you’ve had a stroke. I’m calling an ambulance.”” ((She’s the smart one of the family.) “don’t be daft – that’s overkill,” I replied. (i’m the Knaphill village idiot.) Anambulance ride later, I was delivered to the Emergency Neurology team at St Peter’s Hospital, near Chertsey and whisked off to Cedar Ward. Somewhere along the way, they did a quick CT scan. Joan saw the images and found to her surprise that I do have a brain, and that it’s in my head, not my trousers… who knew?
IT seems I had a small bleed in the right side of my brain which damaged my ability to control the left side of my body. Hence falling over all the time. As well as having trouble balancing, I was having problems with my left arm and with speaking (I know, if it silenced me, that’s a good thing) The good news is that the brain can rewire itself, given the right therapy, though it takes time. And that’s what I’ve been doing for the last few weeks – the brilliant team of therapists at Wordsworth Ward, Ashford Hospital, have been helping my brain rewire itself enough that I can go home without being at risk of killing myself.
(+) Actually, it turns out it was – don’t laugh – FRIDAY 13TH, not Monday.