I had a Transient Ischaemic Attack, known for short as a TIA. To those of us without a medical background, it was a mini-stroke.
I had seen the advertising and the TV commercial promoting FAST, and had done enough first aid to recognise the signs of a stroke, so, yes, I was scared.
I was at work and sitting in front of my computer when I felt a numbness down my right arm and pins and needles in my right hand. This soon affected the right side of my face and then the right side of my lips went numb. My Volunteer Centre colleagues called Donna, the first aider down to see me and they quickly decided to take me to hospital in Burton-on-Trent.
Of course, I phoned Sue and told her not to worry and that there was no need to come straight over because I was OK. Clearly I wasn’t, but I really didn’t want to cause her any problems (she hadn’t been in her new job for very long, and I knew that she’d be busy, as well.) This later proved to be my biggest mistake, because she was worried all afternoon until I finally asked her to come over from Nottingham to Burton, at which point I was on the receiving end of what can best be described as “grief”.
Anyway, I am jumping ahead. I was loaded into Donna’s car and shipped off to the Accident and Emergency department at the hospital. After a very short wait, I was whisked in to the treatment area where I was quickly seen by various doctors and nursing staff. I had an ECG and a blood test and was made to lie down for the next couple of hours under regular observation. The numbness in my arm had gone off before we even arrived at the hospital, although my brain continued to tell me that there was something that I could not define wrong. There probably wasn’t anything physical.
Throughout this time, Donna stayed with me and just as she absolutely had to leave, Sue arrived after a second phone call asking her to come and fetch me. By this time, I had also had the news broken to me that I would not be allowed to drive for a month.
When my blood test came back from the lab, the doctor told me that my platelet countwas very high. It seems that these little cells are what causes blood to clot, so a large number of them is not good for someone at risk of a stroke, which I now am. The doctor wanted me to be referred straight to Haematology and part of the delay in being allowed to go home was waiting for the specialist to return a phone call.
Since I was in hospital in Burton, it was decided, with some input from me, that I should be followed up in Nottingham. So when I was eventually released from the hospital there, the doctor extracted a solemn promise that I would go and see my own doctor the following day.
I did this and was promptly referred to the City Hopital in Nottingham the day after.
Here, I underwent the same battery of tests that I had been through two days before, with the addition of a CT scan on my brain. I am relieved that they found one, but that there was nothing untoward on the scan.
It was fairly quickly decided that I had probably had a TIA, that my blood platelet count was high and my blood pressure was too high, especially for someone with diabetes. So after a wait for tablets to be delivered from the hospital pharmacy, I was allowed to go home with a revised tablet regime.
A week later I went to see my own GP and I was delighted that my blood pressure had dropped well into the recommended safe zone.
OK, I am still at risk of a stroke, but I am now at much less risk than I was before this warning shot. And I feel 100% now.
Not being allowed to drive bit is a bit of a nuisance, especially as it is more than 30 miles from home to work. The boss immediately agreed that I could work fom home, but I wanted to go in to see the team, so a compromise was reached. I would go on the train once a week and work at home on the other days. My home computer was quickly set up to access my work computer remotely and I booked my train ticket online. Sue went with me to Nottingham station for a Cross Country train direct to Burton-on-Trent where Donna met me to take me to Swadlincote. This was so smooth and easy and only took a few minutes more than my normal journey by road.
The day after I had returned to work, I was at home when there was a knock on the door at 7:30pm. Sue opened the door and called me over when I was presented with a massive bunch of flowers from my colleagues at South South Derbyshire CVS. I think that this was the only time in life that I have ever had flowers for me, (although we have had flowers jointly for Sue and me).
I also suggested that I change my holiday to cover two of the non-driving weeks, so as of now, I am on a fortnight;s holiday. I have no real idea what we are going to do with the time, but I’ll try and let you know.
I’ll also catch up on the wedding.
(Even if I can’t ride at all at the moment)