My sah struck on Sunday 28th Nov 2004 at around 8.00 am, while making tea and breakfast. Quickly realising what was happening I called my 14 year old daughter to ring for my sister as I stupidly didn’t want to call for my own ambulance! I knew time was critical but all I could do was grip my head and remain calm and shut down. I was very frightened!!
Up until then I had enjoyed perfect health and fitness and never visited hospital with the exception of the maternity ward. Twenty minutes later we arrived to a quiet A&E in Winchester, whereupon a young aussie Registrar took my case; in retrospect I dare say, if it wasn’t for her good instincts to organise a ct scan straight away, life could have been a lot worse. The diagnosis was immediate and my poor family were distraught, keeping vigil for a lot of the time overnight in HDU. The following morning, a Monday, I was transferred to the Wessex Neuro, Southampton for an angiogram followed by an MRI which showed no aneurysm. Two days later I was transferred back to Winchester where they instigated vigorous physic. Many of my work colleagues, family and friends came and went by the bottom of my bed tho I was asleep mostly and barely cared nor noticed who came.
I was discharged 10 days before Christmas and slept for most of December; altho I was emotionally engulfed by the vast tragedy of the tsunami unfolding on my bedroom tv and almost lost my mind completely after boxing day! Not conducive to recovery!
Come the New Year, my sisters made it their absolute mission and goal to exercise me relentlessly with their dogs - daily circuits of 5 kms, with hot chocolate thrown in enroute at the pub, later to be called the ‘hot chocolate run’. I then adopted a rescue dog, golden retriever, Layla, and to this day we go on long jaunts in the countryside. Some of my friends were saints‘, taking me shopping, dropping off cooked food, cleaning my flee pit of a house, tending to my many needs & putting up with a deranged, gibbering, tearful wreck!! One friend in particular, ‘St Phillipa‘, was a real motivator, having previously suffered life threatening illness herself, took the lead for a whole year to put me right. Surprisingly tho friends I presumed would be there weren’t all that much, and have drifted away, but my loyalties lie with the strong ones! Family relationships have been severely tested to their limits! One lesson in life I’ve learnt is to realise the true value of friendship; and never to take personally, or at all in fact, other people’s indifference or insensitivity.
I have undergone reinvention in the job arena; just doing part-time work I love combined with study which suits for now. I had my wake-up call and would never put my health at risk, I strive to keep a balance. Stress was the causal factor - I still look at it as tho I had blown a fuse! I’m not capable of pushing myself to that extreme again. Any side-effects 3 years on would be short episodes of crippling fatigue (caused by ignoring the body’s needs) and migraines (now controlled by medication). Overall, I have developed a stronger stamina and attitude of mind in the last couple of months, with fluctuations of fatigue mostly influenced by stormy weather.
What my sah has taught me has been never to take people or life for granted! I have become calmer and quieter. Although in acute testing conditions, its amazing at how razor sharp I can flip and lose the plot; I would say this is what I have inherited from my sah. I need to address this issue!
On reflection, I have made a miraculous recovery; and with all the rollercoaster of emotions, fatigue, exasperation and frustration this has entailed, my brain has not let me down, and I know recovery happened by taking a day at a time and as much rest as possible. Recovery time is individual, there are peaks and gulleys; yes it is that dramatic but develop as much patience and kindness for yourself and the healing comes.