May 31, 2014
It was the 20th November 1990. I went to work as on
any other day. Around midday I was on the phone to
a client. Suddenly my head started to wobble, I said I
had to go, I felt dizzy, my head just didn’t want to stay
straight on my body. Something major was wrong, but
at this stage I didn’t know what. The secretary who
was passing my office heard me yelling “Get me an
ambulance, quick!”. The next moment it happened. It
felt as if someone picked me up by the brain and gave
me a good shake. Once, twice, three times. I was
frightened and shouted: “I’m dying”. As quickly as it had
come, it was gone again. For some reason I stayed fully
conscious, a fact that surprised the doctors. By now I
was lying on the floor with no feeling in my right side.
The ambulance had arrived, an officer was attending to
me, and soon I was whisked off to Auckland Hospital.
Once there, a scan revealed that I had an aneurysm that
had burst, leaving me with severe bleeding, a so-called
cerebral haemorrhage. Unfortunately, the aneurysm
was situated at the brain stem, which meant it was
inoperable, even if it had been detected earlier. It also
meant that not only one side of my body was affected,
but both. On top of that, I had to have a tracheotomy
(they cut a hole into your throat), because I couldn’t
breathe (I was on a respirator for some time), and
nasal gastric nutrition, (a plastic hose through the nose
straight into the stomach) didn’t let me see any solid
food for almost a month (I couldn’t swallow).
Apart from this I had many of the symptoms that
normally accompany a stroke. While the majority of
strokes are caused by a blood clot which travels to
the brain, stopping the blood supply to certain nerves,
a cerebral haemorrhage causes bleeding in the brain.
Again the blood supply is interrupted. It is much rarer
and leaves most people dead, or, if they’re very lucky,
My wife and relatives couldn’t believe it! Particularly
because I was only 39 at the time and absolutely
healthy. Why me? I don’t know, but everyone seemed to
ask this question, and later, during my partial recovery,
I was to ask this question myself.
No doubt every stroke victim has at some stage asked
this question. Why me? May I ask the question: ‘Why not
you?’ I’m sure nobody can give me a good reason as to
Excerpt from my book "How to survive after a Stroke", available from Amazon/Kindle.