I Know Where Tomorrow is – What Happened to Yesterday?
It was Friday 20th May 2016, most people’s favourite day of the week, it’s certainly mine. The reason being, I recently made the decision to close the business at 4pm on a Friday, allowing myself and my son a little more time for us. Being the owner of a small business I allowed myself the privilege of making this high powered decision, one of the few made without argument, can’t understand why.
Having finished and locked up, feeling fine, I decided to have an hour at the golf driving range. I had just treated myself to a brand new set of golf clubs and needed to get used to them. Normally my son would come along and we would try different shots etc., but he had other plans on this particular day.
It was just after 5pm (I put the time in case my son reads this and thinks I had a flier) when I got to the range, looking forward to trying the new clubs; you never know they might just make me give Tiger a run for his money. Dream on I hear you say.
Having purchased 50 balls I wandered up to the bays, put the balls by the practice mat and prepared to hit the first one. I generally hit a few short balls at first, just to loosen up, boy if only I had known what was about to happen.
Having hit the first, and which I might add, was going to be the only ball, which was straight and a lot longer than normal for that club. So being on a high, I’m thinking to myself, if the rest go like that I’ll be well happy. So setting up the second ball, for hopefully a similar shot............
Then all hell breaks loose, I had what I can only describe as being the strangest feeling in the world. The best way I can put it, you would swear someone had unscrewed a bolt in the top of my head, poured warm oil into the hole until full. My left leg went numb from top to bottom, with a mild panic setting in I attempted to move but couldn’t. My mind is saying to me, you may be having a stroke, test yourself like the advert on the telly.
So, picture this, a guy in a bay on the driving range, starting to lift both arms in the air, smiling and talking to myself, I couldn’t see anybody due to the head full of warm oil so I wasn’t embarrassed. Obviously I’m saying to myself, you can talk, you can move your arms, you can smile, maybe not a stroke. Trouble was then, thinking to myself, so what’s wrong?
Having managed to collect my belongings together, how I did it beats me to this day, I staggered dragging my dead left leg down the passage to the entrance door. Just outside the door is a small wall, I decided to sit on this to try and pull myself together, this doesn’t happen to me, I’m relatively fit come on pull yourself together.
All the while I have this warm oil feeling sloshing around in my head, the next thing I know I’m falling backwards into bushes and blacking out on the way. How long I was out of it I have no idea, on coming round, here I am on my back in the flower garden with my legs vertical and draping back over the top of wall. I couldn’t move, no strength whatsoever, tried a few times, still with this oil in my head and a dead leg feeling going on.
Fortunately, two young lads going up to the range asked if I was ok, can’t imagine what they thought, seeing this guy on his back in the flower garden with legs draped over the wall. I managed to say that I was not feeling too well and could they pull me up onto the wall top, dread to think how long I would have been there if they walked on by, and these days would you really have blamed them. However, thankfully they pulled me up.
Being very grateful I recall saying to them as a way of thanking them, they were welcome to the 49 bought and paid for balls in the bay at the end of the passage.
Sitting on that wall my mind was racing, I like to think I’m an organised in control type, being ex police (started business when I left) as well I like to think controlled in adversity, but I have to admit I was baffled and a little confused. My conclusion was to ring my son to come for me ASAP, can’t drive, head swimming, leg dead, and need help. What would have been if I wasn’t able to use the phone? Doesn’t bare thinking about.
Again, how I don’t know but managed to stagger to the car park and wait to be transported home, which thankfully arrived pronto. Should I take you to the walk in centre or hospital he asked, and being a typical bloke, no, no, just take me home. When will blokes ever learn? Arriving home, a phone call to the Doctor was short and sweet, put the phone down NOW and dial 999 for an ambulance.
That was the start of what is to be my new life, and I mean that in more ways than one, read on. I was used to blue flashing lights, went through red lights on many occasions, but never for me.
Fortunately, the ambulance was less than a ½ mile from me at the time they took the call. During the fast drive to the brand new emergency hospital, I chatted during the journey to the paramedic, who turned out to be ex police also, and joked, about our experiences as police officers.
I felt a bit of a fraud, having no pain, that I can recall, except for the “oil in the head and dead leg bit” that was bad enough, little was I to know what was to come.
I remember little after that. I am told by my wife that I was then again blue lighted to the Royal Victoria Infirmary and rushed straight into rhesus. I was apparently zapped back to life twice that night, thankfully I have no memory of that or for that matter about any bright lights at the end of a tunnel etc. During the course of that night the miracle staff fitted the coil and a shunt, (a pipe into the vein to allow blood flow) I believe that’s what they call it.
Having slept best part two days, other than the usual interruptions, blood tests etc. When I finally woke, whilst I had no previous pain leading up to my ‘life changing’ events, boy I had some now. Pleased to have a standing order with the nurses for pain killers, morphine etc.
That was probably the hardest fortnight of my life, the mind being willing but the body weak, desperate for a refreshing shower, but unable to stand, and looking like a pirate with an eye patch to counteract the double vision. Thankfully, though I was not suffering pain to the extent I have read in some of the other entries, I could see virtually two of everything. But things could have been a totally different story or in fact no story at all.
Despite the pills and potions, numerous needles in the stomach, morphine taken orally, using those syringe type things used for kids, the headaches just would not shift. After talking to one of the Doctors, He advised/suggested a lumber puncture. He had hardly finished his sentence before being told to just get on with it.
What a relief, I never thought the result of curling up on the bed and having a needle pushed into your back would be so welcome, remember earlier the oil being poured into my head, well the Doctor just took out the drain plug.
Relief was almost instant, or at least it felt that way. Whilst it was short lived the headaches were nowhere near as severe or so it seemed. Maybe the painkillers now had a chance to do their work. Just as well because the next morning I felt as though I had been kicked in the back and could hardly move. But, you know what, I was laughing and joking with all and sundry, come on I was alive, not quite kicking yet, but I’ll get there, I’m not a quitter, but don’t mind admitting I need a bit of help now and again, but please don’t tell anyone, I have a reputation to maintain. But realise I am on a fairly long road to recovery.
After a fortnight or so I made it out of there, could not believe how tired you can get doing nothing, even walking to the bedroom took effort. Making progress though and even after just eight weeks or so feeling a lot better. Still got the headaches, fuzzy head at times, especially if I bend down, or turn too quick, tire very easily, good days, bad days, hopefully the days between them will grow more and more. But I’m alive relatively pain free, full use of limbs, brain etc along with positive thoughts, looking forward to putting my new golf clubs in the back of my new car sitting on the drive.
Life hopefully someday back to relative normality. Got a million questions when I learn how to get them to you all, but will leave them for another day, this is already turning into a book, but can’t help myself when I get going.
An old teacher once told me (going back a bit now).,
The amount you give, in life, is the amount you receive, with something more besides.
So I hope that this helps and inspires someone else’s progress through their illness, knowing you’re not alone in this is certainly an advantage. It has helped me.
We have all made it this far for a reason, our time is obviously too valuable to lose.
Best of luck to all.
SAH 20th May 2016.