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  1. Around the time of my haemorrhage stroke (August 2018) I was exhausted and living on adrenalin for several months before it happened. My husband had been diagnosed with a brain tumour a few months earlier and had undergone his craniotomy to remove it in early July ‘18. That was a success, but he had some serious complications in the month following his surgery, which included sepsis. He was transferred back and forth between the Royal Derby Hospital where we live and QMC Nottingham where he had his surgery. In the meantime my mother (93) had had a hospital stay in June ‘18 and needed a lot of aftercare to get her on her feet again. I was her carer. Back to ‘stroke day’. It was a Saturday and I didn’t have to be anywhere until 1:30 - visiting time at the hospital. I was determined to have a bit longer in bed as my wider family would be visiting my mother that day. I woke up and about 10:30am decided to check my emails. There had been one from my husband’s neurosurgeon at QMC which I had missed the day before. He stated that he needed to transfer him back to QMC from Derby in the near future because he wasn’t happy with his progress. That was in reply to an email I had written to report I’d been worried about his progress. His reply had been delayed due to the holiday period. When I read it I began to cry, and felt a certain panic because I had missed his email earlier. I was very disappointed because at last he was in Derby, where he wanted to be. It would be less driving for me. I leapt out of bed and tried to get dressed ready for another transfer - again. I just couldn’t function with my clothes. I stared at them, not really knowing what I had to do. I presumed I was in shock because of the email. I went downstairs to make myself a cup of tea, hoping it might ‘snap me out of it’. I found spilt milk on the floor. I still have no idea how it got there as I remember nothing about it. I was alone in the house. I didn’t know it at the time but I had no use in my right arm. I had just forgotten it existed. Again I didn’t know how to mop up the milk. I just stared at it. I never got the cuppa in the end. My son had arranged to meet me for visiting time at the Royal Derby. He phoned to confirm, but I couldn’t seem to get the words out to explain about the transfer to Nottingham. Sensing that something was wrong he came straight round to see me. None of us have any experience of strokes so he thought that I had overdone it lately and was having a nervous breakdown (the most likely scenario). He drove me straight to his house where I could be cared for, then went to visit my husband. For the rest of that day, and the next day, I still could not get my words out and I could not manage to put on my clothes myself. I couldn’t hold my fork at dinner. They invited my mother and a friend of theirs who is a psychiatric nurse to Sunday lunch to see if she thought I was having a nervous breakdown. During her visit the Royal Derby phoned to say they were transferring my husband shortly to QMC. We delayed lunch to allow my son to go with him in the ambulance. Meanwhile I was left with my mum and Angie, the psychiatric nurse. Angie found it very difficult because she had never met me before, so she couldn’t really tell if I was any different from ‘normal’. She suspected I might have something neurological going on because I wasn’t using my right arm at all. When asked I just dismissed it, not having realised there was something wrong. She dialled 999. Even the paramedics didn’t realise it might be a stroke (as far as I was aware). My son, having just arrived back from one ambulance trip, found another ambulance outside his house. He escorted me to A&E in the second ambulance trip of the day. First his father, then his mother! It was only after I’d had a CT scan that anyone realised for sure that I’d had a haemorrhage stroke. That was on Sunday evening by then - some 33 hours after the stroke actually happened. I was transferred to HDU on the Stroke Ward. Whilst on the ward - some four or five days later - I had a seizure 30 minutes after being moved to a ‘normal’ ward within the Stroke Ward. I went back to the HDU for a while. I cannot praise highly enough the care and attention I received on that ward. It is a fine example of the NHS at its very best. Today most people wouldn’t know I’ve had a stroke. I occasionally suffer with fatigue and its side effects if not managed well, and ‘twinges’ in my head, like nerve pain. I’m not sure of their cause. I’ve taken redundancy recently so at age 65 I have officially hung up my hat and retired - as of yesterday. I’ve improved so much in the last 12 months that I can finally enjoy my retirement and relax. PS. A word of thanks. If I had not had such amazing support from both my daughter, my son and my daughter-in-law who immediately started caring for my mother - who all put their lives on hold to sort me and my husband out, and my long-suffering husband for his endless patience, I wouldn’t have done as well as I did with my recovery. Thanks go too to my friends from my church popping in with meals and flowers, and all the neighbours who looked out for us when we needed help with things like keeping our garden tidy, mowing lawns etc. and my colleagues from work who allowed me some slack when I was getting overwhelmed. I thank God for my stroke, without who I would not have known the wonderful support of my family, friends, neighbours, colleagues, Headway and the NHS.
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