Monday, 11 July 2016

Day 2 - Diagnosis

18th April 2016

After waking up (thankfully) the day started with fear of what might happen over the next few hours.  There is nothing like a major concern over your health to make you think about how vulnerable you are.  You think you are invincible and nothing bad will ever happen.

I know that this sounds bizarre but I was almost hoping for a stroke diagnosis as the alternatives sounded so much worse.  I wasn't feeling unwell, maybe a little fuzzy and I still couldn't see to my left but other than that I felt fine.  For this reason there was even thoughts that there was nothing wrong and i would be better later that day and everything would be alright.

We had to get to the ward at 9:00 and as Stephanie goes to work at 8:00 it seemed simpler to go with her.  At least we would be able to get a parking space!! Before my MRI I went into work as things were very busy and I spent sometime doing some work on the year end accounts.  I still didn't really believe that anything was wrong.  As I knew what I needed to do I didn't have to think and did most of what I could remember.  As I was dressed casually people asked me if it was dress down day.  When I explained that I might have had a stroke they were concerned and wanted me to stop.  I did as i couldn't really think much more.

The next few hours was a bit of a whirl with loads of doctors asking me about any weakness in my limbs and how I was feeling.  I have become an expert in recognising pens as everyone waved one in front of me asking me when i could see it.  The first doctor asked me to say when I could see this.  As it was in my blindspot I naturally said "see what?"

One of the things that impressed me is that the "hellomynameis..." initiative was used throughout the hospital.  Everyone introduced themselves and it was very reassuring.  If you haven't heard of hellomynameis then you should check out the website 

I eventually went down for my MRI.  One advantage of working at the hospital was that there were always friendly faces and people I knew.  Never was this more apparent than when I got to the MRI department when I was greeted by Claire who had seen i was on the list and had brought in a cd for me to listen to.  She remembered I liked ELO so I listened to their Greatest Hits during the MRI scan.  Small gestures like that mean so much when you are worried and confused. 

I was then taken to the stroke unit and taken to a quiet room where Stephanie and I waited for more information and a diagnosis.  At this point i still had no real idea what was wrong and and was still worried more about other causes than a stroke eg, tumours.  Stephanie had gone to speak to her manager and was said it was okay to spend the rest of the day with me.  Again a simple thing but it was great to have Stephanie with me all day.  The consultant Dr Azim and Javid (I cant remember his surname) came to tell me of the diagnosis.  He confirmed that I had a stroke.  Bizarre as this sounds i was relieved as I hadn't got  a tumour or other brain problem.  Thinking back now it seems strange that I thought this was the best outcome at the time.  The doctors then spent time with me explaining what had happened and where i was affected.  For the more medically minded of you.  I had infarcts in the right thalamus and right occipital lobe.  They discharged me to the Stroke Early Discharge Team and said I would have a number of follow up tests to determine the cause of my stroke.  These were an MRA, an echocardiogram, 7 day ECG and orthoptist appointment.

Before returning home I went back to the office to explain that I would not be back to work for a few days.  I genuinely believed that this was the case at the time.  I was aware that it was the busiest time of the year and I didn't want to let anyone down.

We then went home to the unknown.  We Facetimed the children and explained what was wrong.  We played down what was wrong as we didn't want to worry them too much.  

Trying to get to sleep that night was difficult, i didn't know if I would wake up the next morning.  There was lots of "why me", "Its not fair" but it always happens and stroke does not respect fitness, diet an healthy living.  I have always been fit and healthy so "its not fair" seems a reasonable response at the time.  Why did I bother with running and keeping fit.

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