The last 24 hours of my life have taught me how very fragile life can be, and how quickly you can go from being a fit and healthy person and then at the speed of light how quickly you can become very ill and this is without little or no notice.
On Monday evening just gone I was sitting on the sofa watching TV with my wife, when around 8 o’clock I started to feel strange, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I just didn’t feel right. I can only put it down to the fact that my body was not the same as usual.
I decided to ring the out of hours doctors. I gave them my symptoms and was immediately transferred to the ambulance service. I have to admit I was beginning to get just a bit frightened because I knew the symptoms were the signs of a stroke.
Since Christmas I’ve been suffering with high blood pressure. This resulted in me being hospitalised in January. After a few months of trying a number of medications without success, my blood pressure was still very high.
The symptoms I started to feel was weakness in my left arm and leg, blurred vision and pain in my chest. This was all systematic of a stroke. Me being me I ignored it and thought well it will go away, but it didn’t. After about an hour there were three paramedics in my living room and I was being hooked up for an ECG and IV. Now I knew this was actually serious. Before I knew it I was onboard an ambulance and on my way to hospital.
The paramedics were brilliant, and for a small window in my life I made two friends in paramedics Gareth and Roger, who of course I will never see again, but they kept me very calm.
I was in the back of the ambulance for four hours because no beds were available in the hospital. I guess what’s new there? However, they really do an amazing job under intense pressure.
I was finally admitted to the resus department of the hospital and again was hooked up. Throughout the night I was constantly checked.
Finally I was checked by the consultant and he informed me that I had most likely had a stroke. The shock at being told this was mind blowing. I genuinely thought it was just my high blood pressure. I was transferred to the stroke team, who then started a number of CT scans and other tests. After many hours of waiting I was informed that the CT scan had confirmed that I had damage on my brain which definitely indicated and confirmed that I had suffered a stroke.
The reality had dawned upon me that indeed life is very fragile no matter what your age, and I never thought at my age that I would suffer a stroke. It has really scared me and made me realise that I need to make some changes in my life.
The stroke team did not pull any punches in telling me how serious this is and next time I may not be so lucky, and could very easily end up with more permanent damage. The first thing I need to do for a healthy lifestyle is to stop smoking which I was told on numerous occasions during the 24 hours while I was at hospital.
I am now for the next few weeks on quite a large dose of various medications to level my blood pressure and to get it under control once and for all.
The 24 hours in resus has left me shell shocked and made me evaluate my life and how important it is for me to be there for my beautiful wife who I love with all my heart and my awesome five children. My love for them has no bounds, and I want to see them all grow up.
Life has a habit of changing without warning, but this is a warning that I am taking very seriously. I wish I had taken it more seriously when I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, because I very nearly paid a heavy price.