Lee hopes that by sharing his story, he can help everyone be more aware of how to notice a stroke and the right actions to take.
Stroke Association, Stroke Awareness Month ‘May’ 2023
On Saturday 8th January 2021, my family and I set out to go for a meal and watch a movie at the cinema. During the movie I started feeling a little strange, as if I was going to be sick. The uncomfortable feeling was so bad, that I couldn’t even stomach eating the Pick’n’Mix sweets, that I had wanted just earlier. I stuck with the movie, but afterwards said to my friends and my wife that I felt very unordinary. We drove back home from the city, dropped off our friends and went straight home to bed.
During the night I felt very unwell and went to the bathroom, returning to bed with no more symptoms. But, 1 hour later my wife woke-up and asked me (apparently) if was I alright, she said I was unresponsive, just staring and looking through her and not engaging at all.
She immediately called 999 and explained my symptoms. The response from the Paramedics was very quick, they arrived at our home and started to check me, they also got no response from me. They informed my wife that they believed I may possibility had suffered a Stroke.
Whilst being transported to the hospital, I remember trying to say something, but I was unsure of what I was trying to say, I was also not understandable. The next thing I remember was in the Accident and Emergency resuscitation department at James Paget Hospital. I was alone, my wife had been told she could not join me at the hospital due to Covid restrictions and had to remain at home, now supported by our friends. I cannot imagine what she must of been thinking.
The Doctors soon contacted my wife to inform her that there was a change in the situation and it was now necessary for her to come to the hospital, she was needed to help me with decisions about my stroke. She was made aware that because we were still within 4 hours of the Stroke taking place, I could be given medication which could possibly remove the clot that was causing the blockage in my brain. But the risk to my health, could be high. I believe my wife made the right call, she asked them to proceed with the medication and thankfully it worked.
When I regained consciousness, my immediate feeling was really deep upset. I was upset about what was happening and had happened, I was upset that my right arm was ‘hanging;’ on the bed and I was unable to control it, my right leg was the same and it felt so weird, as if it had been amputated. I had zero-speech, and my blood pressure remained extremely high.
My time on the Stroke Ward was gratefully brief and I can’t remember much of my experience. I was very emotional, on many occasions, especially when my wife video called me (visitor access was still restricted). I was very anxious and upset about what had happened and what the future would be for me.
5 days later, on January 13th 2021, my Doctors said that I could go home. I was terrified that I was going to a burden to my family and friends, I had no right arm function, though my leg was now, thankfully working. My wife wanted me to come home, but the thought of having me back home, in her care, must have been terrifying. I will be forever thankful.
I didn’t leave the house for about 9 weeks following my return as I was too upset and remained feeling very anxious. Something I continue learning to control.
I ask of you all, please take the opportunity to check your blood pressure from time to time, this itself can be a major indicator for a Stroke.
If you suspect a Stroke, use the acronym F.A.S.T.
Face – is the face drooping
Arms – can you lift your arms
Speech – is the speech slurred
Time – this is critical, act FAST
Written by Lee Woodward: Workboat Master