Hi im Adam . I wanted to share my story, as hopefully others might read mine and be rest assured as I have been from reading others on here, that things will be ok.
I recently applied for a career break from my job to explore the possibility of living in Spain. For about 4 days leading up to going – I had some really bad headaches – thought nothing of it as my job involves some really early starts and I put it down to lack of rest etc…
Upon arriving in Spain – all was well – until about 2am the FIRST night.
I simply was woken by the neighbour snoring (very thin walls in Spain it seems) – and all I did was rollover in bed. I can only describe the pain as horrendous in my head. I clutched it and knew something wasn’t right straight away. I got out of bed and immediately started falling to my right – I could not stand up at all. I seemed to find my way into a spare room and all I wanted to do was find the corner to rest??? (Weird I know but its what I remember).
My wife bless her was freaking out. It seems at this stage I passed out as I ironically started snoring really loudly??.. But I soon came to.
All I wanted to do was sleep – I just felt so tired. At this stage my wife wanted to ring an ambulance – but in Spain we had no idea of the number/It was an Air bnb and she had no idea how to tell them where to go…. An absolute nightmare. We didn’t ring for an ambulance. Hindsight is wonderful and if we were in the UK, one would’ve been called. My speech did slightly slur but nothing major so to speak. I did say I think ive had a stroke but you don’t want to believe it – surely it cant happen to me… im only 45 - but it did .
The next day, after speaking to travel insurance – they advised to take me to the nearest hospital. I couldn’t stand straight at all – I just kept on falling to the right. - My wife was in bits but she turned into the strongest woman I know as from then on – nothing was not do-able so to speak. She was effectively on her own in a foreign country – I cannot imagine what she was going through. A family member flew out the next day to give her support which I am eternally grateful for.
To cut a very long story slightly shorter – after an MRI/CT scan – they diagnosed me that I had a stroke. Im still unsure what one ive had but its referred in my Spanish documents as “Occlusion of the right vertebral artery from its middle third”. All I know is in the base of my neck on the RHS an artery is blocked. Can I just say that the help I got in Spain from he hospital was outstanding. The private healthcare was ace – but I hear the version of national health is just as good. I was in very good hands and I got so many tests done in such a short space of time.
I had no balance in the hospital, very hard to focus on things as room was spinning, but got better over the next few days. I was discharged after 5 nights in hospital. I could walk but wasn’t easy and I was very unbalanced – couldn’t shower without help and toilet was difficult. We remained in Spain for another 3 weeks until the insurance decided I should come home. The insurance were awful and we had many issues with them – we are complaining but that’s a whole other story.
I was referred to the local TIA clinic to get the ball rolling so to speak – but it is a full blown stroke.
Had a bubbles test which was clear, awaiting results of 72hr heart monitor to come back to rule out any heart arrhythmia (I did have Wolffe Parkinson which was cured).
So to now 3 months and 2 weeks later – if you looked at me, you would never know I have had a stroke. I am walking fine and talking fine and doing normal day to day things. However my head still isn’t right. Its like I have brain freeze on the RHS of my forehead and it feels like the skin is so tight. Its annoying but its not stopping me from doing things. Its so hard to explain but my head still feels woozy and if I move my head from side to side too quickly – I get really dizzy for a few seconds.
I also have the hypersensitive arm and leg but it certainly doesn’t affect me any more. In the early days it felt like my foot was on fire, and it caused me discomfort – and whilst its still warm so to speak – im living with it.
I still don’t want to drive a car yet as I don’t feel confident. Im being told that I can etc… and whilst I did drive around a car park and felt fine – part of me thinks I would be a risk – so I don’t want to yet. But maybe im being hard on myself and I should push myself?? Work want me back and ive been given the ok – but as im not even driving a car – im not returning to driving for a living yet … no chance. I don’t think they realise how serious this is and how bad im feeling – because on the outside I look and talk fine. I wish I could put a manager in my head for 5 minutes – they soon would change their mind.
There is so much more to my story about what happened in Spain regarding the insurance etc, but I feel ive waffled enough
After reading some stories on here – I feel nothing short of lucky to be sat here feeling the way I do – as others are feeling many symptoms a long time after having the stroke. I am heartened to read though – that my head should rewire itself and things should return to normal, just given the time.
The Spanish doctor said I could hopefully return to work in 6-12 months and its only been just over 3 so im trying not to be downbeat – I know im a very very lucky man.
Ive got a massively supportive wife and family around me, which helps a great deal.
Ive also had 3 occasions where ive been “fixed” – first in the hospital – I sat up and all was right – but that soon went after a few mins. A second time in the spanish apartment – again only for a few mins. But recently I was in Devon – and the rhs of my face suddenly “popped” – like your ears do but it was the whole side of my face. I instantly felt more confident and I felt better! - now that lasted a good half a day but alos faded. I think my head is trying!!!
Im exercising more and paying more attention to the foods that I eat – and lets see where it takes us…
Fingers crossed its back to Spain for good….