In December last year my husband suffered a stroke. I had seen the ads and read the leaflets countless times when waiting in the GP's surgery, you know the ones from the campaign, ACT F.A.S.T, but he did not display any of those symptoms. He had booked some extra time off for Christmas and it was the first day of his holiday. We had an action packed schedule that included buying and decorating the Christmas tree and meeting up with a friend for a birthday lunch.
However, as I zoomed around the house like a whirling dervish he went back to bed to "rest" complaining of a monstrous headache and nausea. He had had a bad bout of tinnitus a few years previously so we wondered if it could be that again, but after a while and driven at that stage predominantly by a need to "get on" with our day, he called our GP for advice, who suggested he pop in to be checked over.
In the five minutes it took us to get down to the surgery it was apparent it was something far more serious. He could only move with help and by shuffling his feet, his left arm was numb and he couldn't move his head without feeling as if he was going to fall over. The transformation in just half an hour was shocking.
Transported to hospital in an ambulance he spent the day going through a series of tests and was admitted to the stroke ward in the early evening. As the day progressed he regained mobility in his left arm but struggled to even raise his leg from the hospital bed and remained dizzy.
It transpired that this "funny turn" was what is known as a TIA or transient ischaemic attack which is also known as a mini-stroke. It is the same as a stroke, except that the symptoms last for a shorter amount of time. But although the symptoms may not last long, a TIA is still very serious. It is a sign that there is a problem and you are at risk of having a stroke and because of this, a TIA is often called a warning stroke. The first 24 hours after the first attack are crucial.
A diabetic with a family history of high blood pressure, Mr MoT naturally fell under the high risk category and under the expert care of the hospital underwent every manner of test, including a brain scan and MRI scan. Since being discharged he is under the care of the neurology department at our local hospital who continue to monitor his progress. He still suffers from dizziness but apparently this is normal and can take a while to disappear, but other than that he is well.
A stroke can affect anyone whatever their age and on a more serious note around one in eight people die within 30 days of having a stroke, so the quicker you act and the quicker you get treated the better your chances. Motivated by our own experience as a family we have signed up to take part in a the Stroke Association's "Make May Purple" campaign and are organising a series of fundraising events throughout May to help give something back.
Just like everyone else we donate to the charities that strike a personal chord with us and that is normally because someone we know has been affected by it, whether it be Cancer or something directed at children or a local venture that has value in our community. The stroke association is a new one for us, so with just one week to go before the start of May we are going into planning overdrive in our house starting today with preparing purple cakes for a Bake Purple sale organised by Teenager No.2. Please take a look and maybe you will be inspired to have fun Making May Purple for Stroke.