Several days ago I received an email from a faithful blogger, yes indeed it does appear that I do have one; sadly it seems only one; says he searching for sympathy; 😥
I happened perchance upon it about a week after it tucked itself away in one of my email thing’s inbox. Like a lot of people I imagine, I have multiple email addresses. Being pretty slack and lazy of late I haven’t been checking my mail on a daily basis so it must have been nigh on a fortnight before I got around to acknowledging and replying to the faithful one!
His enquiry naturally enough was about my health or what passes as my health and in the course of my reply I happened to mention the stroke I had a few years back, and he seemed curious not knowing that I’d had one, stroke that is; and questioned whether I was actually a nicer person before the stroke than I now am. The implication being that I’m not very nice now, which is no doubt one of the silliest bloody questions I’ve ever been asked and probably expected to answer truthfully! (I trust you/y’all will excuse the expletive, it’s the first time I’ve ever used one on thses pages. I banned the use of expletives when I made my first blog post; see Rumblings & Ramblings at the top of the page).
Well it seems that I didn’t get going as a ‘Blogger’ until after the event, stroke that is so now I’ll bore you further with the details complete with pictures 😀
Stroke of luck? It wasn’t massive!
Friday afternoon the 7th October 2011 doing nothing in particlar on my computer I suddenly lost all vision in my left eye, it had happened previously; but I was not completely blind on that occasion, a couple of weeks prior and I’d thought nothing of it at the time. This time however it lasted for quite a few seconds and somewaht bemused I went out to my wife who, if memory serves me correctly and as we all know it usually does, and told her.
Her response was immediate. “Get into the car!”. This was said in a tone of voice that I’d first heard nealy 40 years earlier, and was one not to be trifled with; the first time I’d heard this voice I was, as usual, sitting doing nothing much; reading with a beer at hand, and when I didn’t respond to the request or order whatever it was my beer was picked up from the table and slowly, deliberately poured over my head.
I’ve never made the same mistake again!
I never asked why, or where we were off to, because the only reply I’d have received was “Get in the car!”, so off we went heading to Mona Vale, when (I was going to say the War Office but I’m not allowed to use that any more) turned off into Coronation Street I guessed something not to my liking was about to unfold.
On parking I was again given instructions, “Out!” so I alighted and followed my wife into the Emergency Room where I was told to take a seat whilst she went to the desk; a few minutes after she returned to me we were joined by the triage nurse who after a couple of minutes of questions instructed us to follow her. I was taken to a surgery and a young Englishwoman doctor greeted us and proceeded to take some test or whatever it is doctors do at times like this; and I was being very good not carrying on as I would normally do (I’ve already explained why).
After the English doctor I was taken into a dimly lit examination room and soe other bloke camein, he didn’t say much if anything, and started using this ulta sound thingy on my neck, first the left then the right side. When he was done I was sent back to the ER and told to hop up onto a bed and wait for the hospital registrar.
Kerry sat waiting patiently with me, not saying much, we didn’t wait very long before the Registrar arrived, a diminutive lady of Chinese parentage, (she had a dinki di accent) who promptly advised me that I’d had a stroke. I didn’t feel as if I’d had one I felt perfectly okay.
Kerry looked smug! She’d thought that’s what had happened. 💡
Instead of being allowed to go home I was admitted straightaway into the hospital; while still in the ER they hooked me up to some machine and started pumping some stuff into me to thin the blood; no it wasn’t ‘Warfarin’, and wheeled me away to a bed somewhere in the depths of the hospital. Well not exactly,the room I was in had floor to ceiling windows overlooking the cliffs to the right and left and the Pacific Ocean taking centre stage. Beautiful.
And there I was to stay, the whole weekend, with this stuff pumping through my veins; and every four hours some one or other of the Vampire Brigade called upon me to partake of their fill, my blood runneth over!
Come the Monday morning, bored stiff, black and blue from the VB, (not really their fault I bruise at the touch of a feather) and wanting to go home I received a visit from the hospital’s “Chief Vascular Surgeon” with four or five interns/students, whatever, in tow! I’m not sure if he noticed me or not, but got to work straightaway on my neck with what appeared to be a portable ultra scanning machine hooked up to a laptop computer. Talking to and instructing his acolytes all the while.
Most of what he said went way over my head, I hope his followers understood, the only part I got was “we can’t treat this with chemicals we have to operate!” “Thank you very much doc, I got it second hand.” Actually that’s being unfair; when he’d finished his examination and instructions he told the followers to wait outside, introduced himself to me, “Doctor Adams”, and told me what was wrong.
My carotid arteries were choc-a-bloc full of cholesterol and there was no other way of treating it other than cutting it out, and he would do that on the Wednesday afternoon, no “ifs” or “buts”; he didn’t bother asking for my agreeing to the procedure, he just told me in detail what he planned to do. How could I not help liking this man? No beating about the bush straight to the nitty gritty. I suppose he assumed that I would agree.
After he’d finished, he asked if I had any questions, and I asked what the risk was, and he said that ” for a bloke your age and the condition of your arteries about 1 in 10 for failing “. True! I told you he was straight up. I said that was fair enough odds, and he toddled off to some other poor unsuspecting sod!
A while later I had a visit from the Registrar, can’t remember this young lady’s name, I do remember she was a very good doctor easy to talk to and we had a good chat; during the course of the chat I told her that if I was the one in ten then the hospital would have to contact the Woolongong University immediately so that they could come collect my body as it is donated to them. She told me “that is very kind of you”; I can’t imagine why anyway she said that would certainly be done.
She also told me that there was the risk that I’d suffer another, bigger stroke, whilst under and did I have any instructions, I told her “yes if that happened don’t try resuscitating me only do the minimum that was required by law”; and she said “that’s fine and would comply”. She was to assist Dr. Adams in the theatre, along with countless others I presume!
This is getting out of hand; I better get a move on!
Hello! You still there?
On the Tuesday I had a visit from ALL the immediate family, plus an in-law or two, I seem to recall; and on leaving me they all looked somewhat glum, I do believe they were thinking that perhaps I was not to survive the operation; however, being a nasty sort of bloke I had no intention of not surviving, come to think of it that’s probably why they looked glum!
The rest of Tuesday passed peacefully and later that night the drip that I’d had stuck into me since I arrived on the Friday was disconnected, seems that as the operation was scheduled for 15:00 hours on Wednesday, they had to thicken up the blood a bit so that it’d coagulate or something along those lines.
I got a good nights sleep, it was good not having any tubes stuck into me.
Naturally I awoke well before dawn feeling pretty good and having not much to occupy me (no books/papers/computer) , so I went and sat in an armchair at the large huge picture window and watched for the sunrise, (very peaceful no seranade), and what a sunrise it was; one of the best I’ve ever witnessed.
The hospital at Mona Vale is beautifully situated, to my left were the cliffs of Bungan Head and the Mona Vale golf course; to my right, parkland and right in front gardens leading to the cliff-edge overlooking the beach. And all this in various shades of gray. No rays of sun as yet.
Stretching from Bungan Head, across to the cliff and parkland to my right, was a thin strip of dark gray clouds about 1 cm above the ocean, and 2 or 3 cm thick, all wavy across it’s top. Mind you as it was several kilometres away it was much thicker than my few centimetres.
Slowly, enevitably Apollo in his chariot made his presence felt, the sky beneath the cloud layer took on a red glow and rosy fingered Dawn spread behind the cloud and into the ever brightening sky, the colours changing through reds to pinks then gold and finally yellow and the magical moments passed forever as the Sun took over it’s rightful place in our skies.
Once the spell wore off, I thought that if today was indeed to be my last, I’d at least go out with the memory of a beautiful start to the day!
Come 14:00 hours the orderly came and ordered me to mount his gurney or whatever the things called, and took me away to be prepped for the op. I was actually feeling very well, not apprehensive or nervous, just interested in everything that was going on around me , and before I knew it I was being manoeuvred onto the table and that’s the last I remember for several hours.
First thing I can recall is the voice of a woman asking “are you awake”, I’m pretty well still out to it at the time, but she persists until I’m forced to acknowledge that I was, anything for peace. Next thing they’re trundling me along on a bed and I’m taken to the ICU for the night.
I was kind of manipulated onto a bed and hooked up to a big heap of machines, I was sort of half on my left side and my left arm was caught up in some unnatural and uncomfortable position, I never said anything thinking that they knew what they were doing. That was the problem!
It must have been a couple of hours later, then again maybe not, time didn’t mean much, and I was in all sorts or agony, not from the operation but with my left arm. I couldn’t feel a thing from operation, it was all good.
The nurse who was supposed to be watching over and monitoring me told me to stop carrying on making noises and groaning and said something about the wound and I recall doing my block and saying something like” you silly bloody woman I’m not in any pain from the op I’m in agony with my arm”.
Next thing the doc in charge of the ICU came to see what’s going on and I told her, and after re-arranging my body and getting some life back into my arm the relief was instant and I went off for a snooze. When I woke up a bit later; (this was half way through the night would you believe) the nurse with whom I had a brief encounter was nowhere to be seen and there was a nice young (everybody’s young compared to YKW) smiling, chatty nurse to keep me company.
I was supposed to be just the one night in the ICU, but I suppose the kerfuffle with the arm business did something to all the readings, whatever it is those monitors and things do, so they decided I’d have to stay in the ICU for another day, the night doc had been relieved by the ICU surgeon in chief or something equally as important and his word was law.
So I had to spend an extra day in there but that was fine as they were’n’t over worried about my condition and shoved me into a private room with windows galore and though I was still hooked up I was propped up and had an even better view than he one from the ward.
Late Friday, they decide I was fine, and moved me out of the ICU back to the ward, I was okayed me being discharged on the Saturday, which pleased me no end. What effect this had on the family I don’t know, probably a bit inconvenient coming out on a Saturday.
Naturally I was given instructions, verbally, of what I had to do next; and needless to say, I got them mixed up. I’m not going to bore you with that, anybody wants to know then I’ll tell them, but got to move on. I was supposed to go back to the hospital and have the sutures removed on the Wednesday the 19th, didn’t happen, and I had to go see Doctor Adams at his rooms in Dee Why on the Thursday the 27th which happened; of course I still had the sutures.
Did he go off about the hospital, and their negligence, until I confessed that it wasn’t their fault, it was mine; and told him what I hadn’t done, but was supposed to do. Anyway he calmed down and we had a nice long chat as he removed all the staples/sutures ( you/y’all will see what I mean soon ), I like to have nice long chats with some people, and he is one of them!
Well the session finished with him telling me that now everything was going well I could ring the hospital make an appointment to have the otherside done in a couple of weeks time.
Yea indeed! I had to go through the whole business again to have the left carotid artery cleaned out! I went home rang the hospital and told them that Dr Adams had instructed me to make a booking to have the operation in two weeks. As he is the head of vascular surgery at Mona Vale there was no humming or hawing they gave me the date, and so once more I had to prepare myself for another ordeal.
ow for the good part! The pictures; they’re not the greatest, we’re not all as adept as you/y’all know who. The first is of the neck with the staples/sutures and the other two are of the cloresterol, might have been taken with one of those phone camera thingy’s, they’re enlarged of course. The second of the 2, numbered No 1 of course, you will see a small black line at the end of the cloresterol stuff, this is the hole through which my blood was trying to get through to my brain, there wasn’t that much getting through but having a very small brain it probably didn’t need much just a wee bit more than it was getting! 🙄
So, two weeks after these staples were removed, I had the same on the left side. It may seem hard to believe, in fact I thought that I’d finish up making Al Capone look like a fresh faced kid,but there was very little by way of scarring and in fact the fine scars that were there have faded almost completely way.