Before we go any further, you know how occasionally I do a serious post about real things and they're usually all deep and meaningful and you get as far as the middle and you're about ready to slit your wrists and then there's an uphill slog to the denouement where it's all puppies and gamboling schoolkids and suchlike as a big volte-face making sure we all go home with a song in our hearts and a lovely firm hug for our nearest and dearest.
Well... This is one of those - And it's all about me. And I wasn't really sure about how to give it an uplifting ending.
If you read my last blog (or if you know me in real life) You'll know a couple of things about me:
- I write, it's my thing - It's the second funnest thing you can do when it's just you and an Internet connected laptop and the curtains are closed. You should all give it a go, you might enjoy it (But don't be better at it than me, I shall pout and possibly kick you in the danglies... Multiple times)
- I am old, and fat, and unfit, and bald. It's a good job that I'm happily married because there is literally no other way that I would ever get to have sex otherwise without it costing me the GNP of a reasonable sized European country. I'll be 50 in six weeks for God's sake.
- I had a TIA a couple of months ago. A 'mini' stroke and I didn't take it anywhere near as seriously as it seems that I should have done.
A couple of weeks ago, a letter landed on the mat, asking be to drop by my friendly neighbourhood outpatients department and have a quick chat with a Consultant Neurologist; which I did, last Thursday. There was nowhere in the letter to say what it was all about so I assumed that it was the stroke clinic 'signing me off' and letting me live out the rest of my life quite happily, if a little over-medicated in a 'rattle when I walk' kinda way.
It turns out that it wasn't that at all.
The nurse working with the consultant did my measurements, height, (185cms) weight (about 19st) and blood pressure (190/140 - Which I believe in the trade, they like to call a 'Hypertensive Crisis' and causes them to start shouting words like 'Stat!' and 'Crash' and similar into the light fittings) - She whistled at that one, and quickly said "That's not the worst I've seen." when I raised my eyebrows at her. I asked if she'd seen worse in anyone who was currently still alive, she went very quiet. Then I asked her if any of those people had died by actually exploding, to which her only reply was, "You're taking it very well..." When I asked if running around the room crying and yelling would help, she replied that it was probably best not to if I could manage it, all things considered.
Then she led me gently by the hand in to see the consultant, who proceeded to set about me with a hammer, allegedly to make sure I still had reflexes, but I wasn't convinced. He did all the standard 'follow my finger' stuff and asked me to put my clothes back on, whilst also reminding me that he had never actually asked me to take them off in the first place.
We did a bit of small talk about it being unseasonably hot, and he introduced me to a junior doctor who was sitting in with him - Seemingly they all want to get experience of when a sturdy looking fat bloke goes postal when he finds out his diagnosis and how best to call security without copping for a dead-arm. Then he showed me a picture the inside of my own head... It looked a tiny bit like this:
|Although the actual brain sort of filled the skull as you might expect, because: clever|
Consultant: See that? [pointing a my brain]
C: Not this, [circling the whole brain] But THIS, [pointing at a white cloud the size of a 2p piece]
C: That's a damaged area of your brain, the white cloudy bit is brain damage.
Me: Your actual brain damage? [Sticking my tongue firmly in my cheek and crossing my eyes]
Me: But just that bit right? Is that from the stroke?
He shook his head and flicked through about ten other picture 'slices' through my brain, pointing out the damage on pretty much every single picture, including one that he got quite excited about that was in my 'deep brain area' and one near the connection between the left and right hemispheres that looked like a hand-print.
I must admit to not listening very hard over the next bit of his explanation, but I heard words like 'extensive' and 'incurable' which to be honest, are not good words to hear on a Thursday afternoon, the day before you're due to go on a relaxing weekend away, if at all. It seems that most of the damage has been caused by years of undiagnosed high blood pressure and that the only way to slow (but not stop) further damage is to lower my blood pressure both chemically and by making changes to my lifestyle.
- I asked if this is what would kill me - He shrugged
- I asked how long I have got - He said somewhere between ten minutes and 50 years, much like anyone else.
- I asked if there will be any odd effects - He shrugged, but said that there may well be, and I should come straight back if I felt anything 'suspicious' or started having headaches etc.
I will freely admit to feeling quite frightened about this, but then I suppose you would, even if you knew there was nothing you can do about it.
And I have started to experience what I assume to be the first effect... I have started to forget words that I use quite regularly, and I feel that is immensely cruel - And you should totally let me off if you find anything nonsensical or misspelled in this post.
Anywho, talk more next month probably... It's my 20th Wedding Anniversary and I'll be expecting a fairly decent present especially if you want to roll it together with my 50th birthday the month after, if I'm not around you could just give it to the wife.