Friday, 27 November 2009

Chapter 34 Hospital Here I Come

This chapter was typed on a lap top brought into the hospital by my son Mark so that I could regain movement in my right hand. I shall leave it in its original form including any spelling mistakes and omissions. It descriptive wording is brief as it took a lot of effort just to type a few lines.
The author 19th July 2007 Aylesbury

It is now almost a week since I was admitted to the National Neurological and Neurosurgery Hospital.
Well little did I know when signing on that morning, Wednesday 13th June 2007 that it was to be the last day of my coach-driving career. I spent an hour on standby then set of for Woodhall Farm. Leaving there at 6:50 I ran on down to the town then up to the Motorway. Normal busy traffic to Brent Cross and then down the Finchely Road to Lords. Sitting in the bus lane in Park Road I suddenly felt an overwhelming sense of panic and my right hand and foot became very heavy and I new straight that I was having a stroke. I some how managed to get the coach around into Baker Street and onto the stop in spite of my foot feeling like a lead brick. None of the passengers even noticed and those getting off thanked me and wished me a good day. However when the lights changed to green and the other buses moved off I new then that I could not move and I was facing early retirement. I turned around to the passengers and said “I am terribly sorry but we seem to have a problem, I cannot move my right side” They immediately realized what was up and called for an ambulance and came and supported me because at that point I just wanted to go to sleep. I remember seeing Debbie and telling her I was up for early retirement also it was lucky that Geoff the Victoria controller was on the 757 behind me and took over from the passengers in trying to keep me awake.
The ambulance arrived within ten minutes and I was placed on a chair stretcher and take off the coach. Fortunately I had the presence of mind, (it being undamaged) to remove my module and keep the waybill. I was kept in the ambulance for about fifteen minutes whilst they stabilized me and then it was off to University College Hospital and straight into A&E. Here I was quickly assessed as having a stroke. At this point Mark turned up and has been remarkable in my recovery. Geoff had rang Mo at Hemel who had rang Annette. Mo told her I had collapsed so she in turn rang Mark. Soon after I had been admitted to UCL I was told a bed had been found for me at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, it backs onto Great Ormond Street children’s hospital. Well after being told transport was on its way, after four hours I was told that if we don’t get you out of here ‘the shit will hit the fan’ The prime minister Tony Blair had decreed that all A&E departments will clear within four hours and so I was quickly wheeled up to a ward. Whilst here with Mark, Pat Donnelly an Inspector turned up .He stayed for awhile, asked after my well being and then left the ward only to return a few seconds later saying Ken Hargreaves my garage manager had reminded Pat to collect my module and cash, our ever thoughtful manager! At one point a lot of movement retuned to my hands and legs and while Mark had gone to the toilet I got up and also went to the toilet, a bad move, I became all weak again and got back into bed completely immobile on my right side. After some time there was some discussion as to who was taking me to the NHNN. It was about 3:00 that I was finally moved down to a waiting ambulance and with Mark on board we began our very bumpy journey along to Russell Square. Whether it was the Bob Marley music or the bumpy ride I don’t know but I began to lose consciousness. I remember both Mark and the para medics calling my name. I soon arrived at NHNN and was quickly assessed by Professor Martin Brown the head of the Acute Brain Injury Unit along with Dr Adam Cassidy and Dr Brian Strange. Professor Brown was most annoyed that it had taken them nearly six hours to get me to the NHNN. It is most important that stroke victims are seen and assessed as soon as possible after a stroke. I was soon put on a ward. Next I was wheeled off to have a CCT scan of my brain and a chest X ray of my heart. Then a nights rest although under 72 hours continuously monitoring. Next day I was to have two MRI scans. This is where one is rolled into a tube a few inches wider than your own body, not to every ones liking, in fact 10% of people can’t take it. It is not just the enclosed place but also the intense noise, it’s like having a pneumatic drill going along side ones head. After that it was back to the ward and a rest. Following a stroke one gets very tired very easily. By Saturday I was beginning to walk and Mark was coming in every day to help me recover. Dr Cassidy was making a daily assessment of my progress. I was now getting intense therapy from Sasha my occupational therapist and Sherryl my physiotherapist. Along with these two beautiful torturers I was also having to play mind games with Rennie the neuropsychologist who was trying to assess if my thought and cognitive processes had suffered any damage.
Well it’s now just over two weeks since my stroke and I shall be going home on Friday. My stay here has been very interesting an insight into brain injuries. I think I have been so lucky to have been hospitalized here. Also the fact that I have not felt any anger over what has happened has of course I believed helped aid my recovery. Well whether this is the final chapter in my forty year career of bus driving remains to be seen. The End

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