Stroke: bilateral multifocal cerebellar infarction plus six TIAs over three months prior. Date: September 5th 2020. I was lucky to survive, this stroke has a 1-2% mortality rate. I have not recovered even the slightest to how I would like to be. I am barely able to breathe when I am sitting in a relaxed position, I have constant dyspnoea , it feels like I am being submerged beneath water every hour of the day. I have been to only four places outside of my home in 2021. I gave up my license and car.I cannot see properly, I have to feel my way around my home as if I am completely blind, even though I can see where I am going. I have had a series of severe panic attacks that lasted several weeks over a period of two months where I was bedridden. I was fed in bed, basically, only seeing daylight when needing to visit the bathroom. The nystagmus and stereopsis is so chronic that turning my head produces disorientation although I might be standing still. I cannot bend down for the earth rushing up at me, and I walk like a gunslinger. The tinnitus roars in my head day and night I get nausea that is so severe I almost gag. But, I am a stroke survivor.
I have somehow, despite having no spiritual affiliations, or medical intervention, survived a rare stroke. I must be either lucky or a survivor. I take the latter. Like the incredible fungi network, somehow, I have moved forwards. Re-routed around the problem. My brain has kicked into gear and saved the rest of my body from defeat.
Every day is a set of challenges that I could, in my idle way, just give up the ghost and default to what is easiest for me at the time. However, life is full of intrigue. Wonderful things happen even in pain. I think it was Dostoevsky who said, “There is pleasure even in toothache.” I tend to disagree with him but I get what he was stabbing at. There are so many addictive, interesting things about life, it’s such a wonderfully, all encompassing miracle. As my father used to say, “how can one be bored, there’s just so much to do”.
Essentially, srtoke recovery is longterm for most, but it takes repetition and dedication. The neurones need to flash repetitively until they stay lit. Without repetition they fire up and then die down again, repeatedly,. I am not a medical professional, just someone with an interest in my condition and the desire to help others. My father was an aircraft technician in the RAF, my grandfather was a Wing Commander in the RAF, my great grandfather was a Major in WWI, and the rest of my family were either clergymen or military. Colonels and such in the Boer war, a fighting family. Part of The Royal Welsh Fusiliers too. Church and state. A pragmatic family and I feel I have that same decree.
Obviously, we have all suffered strokes. Each individual stroke will be different to each individual’s needs. The NHS has a limited amount of resources toward recovery (we only really have each other, and wayward scientists trying to rectify our predicament which they are doing to the best of their abilities). Britain has a limited amount of “media” toward recovery helping us to access easily. It’s okay to seek out “novel methods” to improve recovery from stroke as long as they aren’t medicinal - for instance, if you have an arm that is not responsive, bandage up your good arm. Or try the mirror box. Just try things repeatedly. There’s no magic formula. I managed to correct my gait by crawling on the floor for ten sequences at a time for over three months. It sounds bonkers but it helped me to stop shuffling.
You only get one go at this life, if you are happy with it as it is. So be it. If not, then it might be worthwhile to take a leap of faith, and try different things. I only say this because I believe stagnation produces quagmires. It’s a positive thing to keep alert and stimulated. I have included a picture of my cat Horace giving me a cuddle, in case, anyone has any doubt over my qualifications.