My stroke was in February 2011 on a plane returning from Australia. It was the middle of the night and I needed the loo so off I went. When I’d finished I stood up and I had a strange feeling come over me I thought it was just jet lag, but as I walked back to my seat I struggled lifting my feet. It was as if I was wearing old fashioned lead diving boots. I then asked Jeannie if my face was OK as I had pins and needles. She then called the flight crew who called for a doctor and thankfully there was one.
I remember him telling Jeannie that I was having a stroke. Then my body started to shut down and I only remember bits after that.
It took four hours to get me to hospital in Dubai. They put me in a drug induced coma for five days and my family flew out after they were told that I might only have a few days to live. My son even arranged a cremation funeral and jar to carry me home in!
On the fifth day a tracheotomy was carried out as my family had organised a MEDVAC to Norwich. This happened on the ninth day in Dubai and I had my own Lear jet! Jeannie wasn’t allowed to come with me because they feared I might not make it. The next thing I knew was I was lying on a stretcher at Norwich airport and it was drizzling and cold.
After eight months in hospital and a year’s Community Physio later I was discharged. My ambition was to try and regain all my old activities like skiing, winter wild country camping, climbing, canoeing, etc. Sadly, some of what I used to do is out of the question for now. However, in 2012 I was an Olympic torch bearer at Sandringham and I managed to walk 28 steps with my torch, supported by only one stick! In 2013 on my birthday I climbed Mam Torr in Derbyshire – granted it was from half way up and took me three hours to do a return trip, that would have taking me twenty minutes each way before my stroke.
I do plan to ski again, even if it’s just at a snow dome. I also fancy sky diving, but in one of those artificial sky diving centres, not out of an airplane. In my pre-stroke bucket-list I’d planned a huskie sled holiday and to camp on an ice field, but I think that may be out of the question, not because of my stroke – it’s a bit financially out of my reach these days
Today I am Norwich Different Strokes Volunteer Coordinator and life is great! Different Strokes has been a life-saver for me and I know many others can say the same.
For a fuller account please also see my blog www.bantaneddie.com