This time 13 years ago I was still in hospital. I was admitted 26th Dec 2004 and I came home 4th April 2005.
Every year I always reflect on what I have learnt in the past year.
I used to look out of the window Every night in hospital and every night it took slightly longer to get dark. I loved that. I still do it today it reminds me how far I have come.
I was admitted boxing day 2004. The ambulance was called to my flat that was up 3 flights of stairs. The paramedic said I had had a stroke know one believed him. Henry stated alseep the whole time.
Once I got in to hospital there were loads of people around me saying all different things. But I didn’t understand any of it. I went for a CT scan, which is not as intrusive or as loud as a MRI scan. I don’t really remember it.
What i do remember is a midwife coming to see me to express my milk. I was hurting me and I was crying I wanted it to stop. My mum asked what they were going to do with the milk and nurse said give it too her son. Then a Dr said you can’t give her son that milk she has had some serious medication. Then everyone realised at once that we didn’t have any milk for Henry. The midwives where brilliant and gave my sister a weeks worth of milk.
With that all sorted my parent’s wanted to know if I had had a stroke and what the plan of action was.
It was boxing day and the hospital were on skeleton staff and the couldn’t give me a MRI until the next week. My parent’s were not having that and got me moved to addenbrookes where I had a MRI the next day.
I couldn’t stay still and was finding it really distressing. They finally finished the scan but then realised I had had hair pins in my hair so none of the pictures had come out. I was besides myself by this point and they sedated me for the 2nd scan.
I was in a room on my own so mum and Craig took it in turns to stay with me for the night. I was hoisted in and out of bed to use the toilet. My hair was washed while I was laying in bed.
One night there was awful pain in my arm. It had swollen 3 times in size that came from a infection from the cannula.
2 weeks to the day I moved back to Harlow hospital. On a general ward in a room on my own. Then the next day I was taken to the stroke ward.
I felt at home as soon as I got there. They had never had anybody as young as me before. The staff became like my family they cheered my victorys like getting the slightest movement in my little finger. They helped me through my sadness and the days when I didn’t want to carry on, when I couldn’t understand why this had happened to me.
I was on a ward with four other ladies. The closet in age to me was 66. In the 5 months I was in there, there was at least one new lady a week where the patient hadn’t survived her stroke. That was hard. The next ward was a end of life ward. Every day some times more there was someone who had passed away. I was surrounded by death and memory loss. I was asked the same question over and over and I found it hard as they all felt sorry for me. It was as if we hadn’t had the same thing a stroke. It was ” you are so young you poor soul” I always used to think I have suffered the same thing you have , don’t feel sorry for me.
I didn’t have anyone to talk to. People understood or sympathize with me but they hadn’t lived what was happening to me.
The nurses supported me when Henry was left with me for a little while before I came home. They kept checking i was ok and they appracheted that I needed time to bond with him.
I had physio twice a day Monday to Friday. My physio Margaret even got her friend to come in and see my once a week
Chitra she was to be my physio when I got home and she saw me for 3 years twice a week when I was only aloud 6 weeks by the NHS. I saw Chitra this week and she told me that I make her proud with everything I do. That felt amazing . Without Margate and chitra I wouldn’t be who I am today.
I was treated so well at PAH honestly the staff are my family and even though there is know longer a stroke ward at Harlow hospital I still pop up too see them.
This brings me on the 3rd person who has helped me in my recovery. This lady is often over looked and her knowledge and experience of strokes is second to none.
Patsy Simmons was the head of the stroke ward when I was in there and has only recently left. I remember the day she broke the news to me that I had MRMA
When I got told i had MRMA that was another shock which I couldn’t deal with I was so upset. I had to be washed in this electric blue gel for a week and then I was tested again. Luckily it went.
I remember the day she told me I would need to except that I would need to take a wheel chair home with me. Those were awful things to tell somebody in my condition. But I also remember the love and unconditional support which is still gives to me today. Very few people can say they are still friends with the people who cared for you while you are in hospital but I can. I honestly can.
I have so much respect for patsy. She is a amazing lady with a heart of gold and I am so pleased she is part of my life.
( one handed wheelchair which I use )
The day I was realised for hospital all of the staff came to watch me walk out . I was addiment that I would walk out of the hospital. It was Craig’s birthday , I was so excited . But know one had told me what to expect. We had been moved to a new ground floor flat. Stuff was everywhere . The bed was in the living room. Which in hindsight was the best thing as everything was in one room.
Everywhere had to be painted and carpets needed laying. I was expecting to go home and everything would go back to normal. But what was normal. I was a very fightened little girl, I was scared of everything. I was scared I would have another stroke and know one prepares you for that . The feeling of being alone . When you are in hospital everything is done for you. When you get home you are in a rush to get back to ” normal “. But it’s not like that . Your ” normal ” is no longer there , you have to make a new life. Start over again.
Pictures of me giving back to the stroke unit at PAH
I did a burlesque fundraiser 5th April 2014 . I brought 4 top of the range wheelchairs for them. That was the proudest moment in all of the chairty work I do. Giving back to the ward that looked after me, knowing that I would be making a difference to other stroke survivors life’s.