Sunday, 16 November 2014


Just over a year ago my grandfather had a stroke.  That seems odd to write down, but he did. He already was in the early stages of Alzheimer's but he was on medication and doing pretty well. I live with my grandparents to help keep on eye on them.


The day it happened was a Friday. I was trying to use up some of my annual leave so I randomly had the day.  When my grandmother called me down to say there was something wrong with him. He was mumbling incoherently and suffering right side weakness. He’d been fine an half an hour before talking. I don’t know why but his dropping smile instantly reminded me of an episode of House MD I’d seen years before where a pregnant woman had had a stroke. There was a pneumonic  FASTA stands for arms – he couldn’t hold his arms up, in my head I thought S stood for smile, it’s actually speech but he couldn’t smile or speak and T stands for Time. For the life of me I couldn’t remember what F stood for. It’s actually Face, or so the paramedic told me later, it’s the one to do with your smile.


When I realised what happened I called an ambulance, luckily we only live about a mile from the ambulance depot so the bike paramedic was here within minutes and the ambulance a few minutes later. While that was happening I had to call my Mum and stepdad who had both gone to work, my sister who was taking her kids to school, I had to leave a message for my brother who was walking to work, call my great aunt who would let the rest of the family know and try and call my aunt. Through all of that I kept thinking I need to cancel the Asda delivery. I ended up calling Asda while they were loading him into the ambulance. I call from my mobile and it cost £3.60, they said they would reschedule, but the ended up delivering that day and for some reason setting up to deliver the exact same items the next day.


We all followed the ambulance to the hospital having to wait while the ran tests. He had a stroke but luckily we noticed quickly and got him to the hospital. There is a four hour window to get him on the right drugs to stop the stroke from killing his brain. After a few hours he was moved to a heart ward as he needed monitoring as he was on blood thinners, as we sat waiting I started to cry. I’d been holding it together for hours and I couldn’t cope anymore.


A few hours later he was moved to the stroke ward. He seemed so small in that hospital bed. He spent a few weeks in the hospital, he hated every minute. He kept beginning us to bring him home, he kept confusing the man the bed next to him for my grandmother as he had white hair. He kept calling for his mother and reverting to a child, some days he would recognise us and others he wouldn’t.



A year on he can walk and talk, he still has Alzheimer's and now Vascular Dementia, so he gets frustrated when he can’t remember things, some days we have the same conversation every five minutes, some days he remembers us and some days he recognises us but can’t remember our names. It’s been tough on all of us, but I’m just grateful that I had the day off and was here when it happened, as it couldn’t have been a lot worse if we hadn’t got him to the hospital so quickly or we could have lost him all together.


Shanna xx

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