The Anatomy Of A Stroke [Month 2]

I get messages most days asking about my dad. I generally reply saying things are progressing well, but slowly, and had intended to make this generalised update over the weekend – exactly two months after suffering his stroke [19th December].

But, suddenly, in a moment, everything changes…

Last week one of dad’s physio sessions decamped to the local golf driving range; a new experience for both girls supporting him, whose first job, after placing the basket under the wrong delivery chute, was to roll around scrabbling to pick up the 50 balls now randomly bouncing around the hard-stone-floor corridor. Considerable hilarity ensued. I wish I’d witnessed that. And to highlight my dad’s often twisted perspective, he later bemoaned his apparent loss of form without a shred of irony!

Other than that, the last few weeks have mainly been characterised by the inching forward in hand mobility and walking distance; the sheer tiredness associated with the mental and physical effort; and the small tremor in his hand, which the support staff believe is likely to be a combination of working it so hard, coupled with his own sense of anxiety and frustration.

Everything changes…

Early yesterday afternoon my step-mum was set to go to the supermarket and dad happily decides he’s fit and well enough to go, too. His first return to routine mundanity; now a genuine challenge.

Apparently he tired quite quickly. My step-mum told him to go and sit down. He wouldn’t. Eventually, at the checkout, he admitted to feeling quite unwell. They got back to the car with him ‘wobbling all over the place’. Now a little concerned, my step-mum returned to the shop and asked if there were any first-aiders present. No less than four of them swiftly descended on the car and immediately called the emergency services.

The rapid-response paramedic arrived. ‘He was the strangest colour. His lips looked almost blue and he said he couldn’t see anything.’ The problem wasn’t obvious, but she wasn’t happy with the ECG trace, so an ambulance was called and off they went to A&E.

Time dragged on. Five hours later, amidst a hectic A&E with people on beds in corridors, and the ECG monitoring had revealed nothing. Dad was feeling better – though exhausted – and asked to go home. He was disconnected from all the wires and traces, slowly got dressed, and was pulling on his coat as the doctor approached, “I’m sorry. You’re not going anywhere…” The blood tests showed some abnormal results which suggest a problem with his heart.

24 hours later and the cardiologist still isn’t entirely sure what the problem is. Three men are next to each other in beds at the end of the ward, currently grouped together as ‘Mystery’. He’ll definitely be there all weekend now, with little further investigation likely before Monday.

I think he’s beginning to crave much less drama and mystery and considerably more mundanity. We all are.

I Tweet Therefore I Twat

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking… it’s like Shakespeare never left us, right? Ahem.

I started a Twitter account back in October last year. It was partly initiated by my desire to board up the windows on the creepingly insidious Big Brother machinations of Facebook. My first Tweet on 8th October 2011 was inspired thusly:

“I is here now. I is also there. But not F*c*book. It is the devil’s cheese. This place stop waffle much. Think about edit. No use long word.”

As someone with an built-in tendency for waffle, I’ve since found the 140 character limit and interesting exercise in achieving brevity! It’s read by virtually nobody, of course; quite possibly half as many as will read this. And the number of people reading this would probably require an advert to recruit additional places for my WordPress 5-a-side football team!

Anyhoo… I thought I’d indulge my Tumblr feed with a Top Ten pick of my thought [edited to within an inch of their understanding] Tweets:

“I actually saw some bees knees today. And, must be said, I’m not
entirely sure what all the fuss is about?”

“They say the squid is an intelligent animal. And yet, despite having
all that ink on tap, none have written so much as a single word.”

“Thought I was scrunching through the freshly laid sharp frost. Realised
I was still indoors and there was a hole in bottom of cereal box!”

“The News: Death. Death. Death. Debt. Dead. Misery. Death. Death.
Destruction. Death. Tragedy. Dead. Funny animal story. Have a nice day.”

“Why would anyone need to buy the magazine Psychic News?”

“Willow dropped his stick in the fast flowing river tonight. Gone. I
keep telling him, it’s not like they grow on trees!”

“If you peeled back the skin of a giraffe, would you find a zebra inside
with a periscope?”

“It’s hammering down with rain. You drive under a bridge. Everything
seemingly goes quiet for a moment. There should be a name for that.”

“I just had a long-life light bulb die on me. That can’t be a good sign,
eh? I may need some form of therapy.”

“I’m just nipping out to the cornershop on Kepler 22-b to get some milk.
I’ll be back in about 1200 years.”

Words scattered to the four winds of the electronic ether and devoured by the accidental Twitter tourist who may’ve stumbled across them, much like our superior race may one day discover the Earth. “Is that it?” And the metaphorical saloon doors swing shut again as they return into the dusty spectral twilight accompanied by cosmic tumbleweed…

Nature Vs Nuture

This image [colour version – follow link below ] has provoked quite an extraordinary response on my Flickr stream these past few days. The responses have ranged from the flippant to the thoughtful, from the concise to the lengthy reflection, in public and an unusually bulky private message Inbox.

As someone wrote publicly: “Street documentary is a controversial subject. I agree with whomever it was that wrote that it is here to provoke an emotion. Which emotion that is is individual but the job of the photographer is to present the image so that it is felt by the viewer.”

And another message privately: …[I like photos that] provoke discussion …it’s a chance for people to hear themselves think.”