I have just returned from our hospital stroke unit. How weird to write that sentence when I felt 100% fit last Friday! However, on Saturday morning as Carol and I prepared to go out to a local Methodist church coffee morning I came down the stairs and in a matter of seconds lost all the power down my left side. The paralysis was as alarming as it was sudden. I plopped backwards. When Carol helped me to a chair we realized that I had probably suffered, what I had come across as a pastor several times in others, a mini stroke.
Phoning our NHS helpline led to an emergency ambulance hurtling to us in less than 5 minutes. Paramedics tested me and declared that I needed to go to hospital Accident and Emergency. Less than 11 minutes later with wailing siren and (extremely bumpy) ride I arrived to find the stroke crash team awaiting me with amazing attention. Shunted into a serious illness bay I was examined carefully with ECG, blood tests, Cat-Scan and continuous blood pressure measurements. All the time the paralysis was gradually receding though the blood pressure readings were sky high (for me who is normally low!) How unreal it all seemed.
This morning (4 days later) the specialist undertook many more tests and declared it was a small stroke requiring several further tests. However, he reassured me about my general level of health and told me to live as 'normally' as my body allows. ' Listen to your body' he said. 'When you tire, stop!' But I cannot drive for a month and (with immense sadness) we had to cancel our US trip to visit our family next week.
So, it's a wake-up call that takes me into good company with many friends who have also suffered TIAs. And,yet again, in the reminder of life's fragility we have discovered the deep bonds of love of family and friends. Our church family in Histon has been magnificent with prayer and practical support. So too friends from around the world. Thank you so much for your concern and prayers for us both. We are immensely grateful. We really are.