Brian Derrick
Strand Western Cape South Africa
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I am a chef by trade so I like cooking as well as wood work, gardening and mountain biking.
Since my stroke I don't get much time to do any of this, but I try
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  • Brian's Blog

  • Oct 28th 2020 at 4:34 AM
    I am a Stroke survivor

    Why is it that people take life for granted? Is it because they feel alive, they have a good job, earning good money, no cares in the world. Well you know, I used to be like that. My job did not pay very well but I was enjoying it.

    Mixing with the clients, lending a hand where ever needed. Teaching my staff that worked under me new things, Ye life was great.

    On the 1st September 2015 at about 03H30am I woke up feeling very untoward, something was wrong and I just could not figure it out. I remember wondering why I woke up, I mean I did not feel like going to the toilet or anything like that. Then I tried to stand up and fell on my butt, there was no feeling in my legs, and then I noticed that the room was swaying from one side to the next like I was on a boat on the ocean.

    I tried calling my brother, I could hear myself, but no words came out, so I reached over for my cell phone and called him.

    Eventually, he came to my room and asked what was wrong, I tried to explain but he could not understand what I was saying, the words just did not come outright. Anyway, I showed him that I could not walk, and managed to tell him that something was wrong and he should call the medics.
    When the paramedics came they told us that I had just had a stroke and they were going to admit me to the hospital.

    Well, my life changed in the blink of an eye.

    I mean I was pretty fit for my age "59 years young" I use to walk a lot and whenever I was off I would go hiking in the mountains. I was at the doctor about two weeks before all this and my blood pressure was good. I mean how could I be having a stroke.

    Well, when I got to the hospital, they checked me out and my right side brain was affected, which affected the left side of my body. My left leg had no feeling, my left arm had no feeling, I could not swallow and I could not eat. I had lost a couple of million brain cells, not much just enough to turn me into a near vegetable.

    Well, when I got to the hospital, they checked me out and my right side brain was affected, which affected the left side of my body. My left leg had no feeling, my left arm had no feeling, I could not swallow and I could not eat. I had lost a couple of million brain cells
    Anyway, after about two weeks at the hospital, they sent me to the rehab centre, and that is where I started getting some of my life back. The first thing they did was send me to the hospital to have a PEG inserted into my stomach, that was for the liquid diet that I was on, then came the training.
    The rehab was run by physiotherapists and there was only one doctor. Now, these physio's knew their stuff. We did exercises every day. One day for the upper body and the next for the lower body. We only got the weekends off. At this centre you get to realize that a stroke is not just for the older generation, the youngest person that was there who had a stroke was 24 years old. That made me feel a little better, not much but a little. I went into rehab in a wheelchair and after 3 weeks I could walk out. Although I chose to use a wheelchair.

    Now I used to sit at home and wonder why me? what caused this? What did I ever do to deserve this? Well, there are no answers to these questions and you cannot harp on why.

    You just need to buckle down and accept that your life has changed and work, towards trying to better your life under the circumstances that you are faced with.

    This is a test, I have no clue what the test is all about, but you are being tested. Every day is different, some days are very hard, some days you just feel like giving up, everything you do takes a lot of concentration and if you lose that you are on your ass so to say. Every stroke survivor has it different, there is not one stroke survivor that feels like the other. Ye sure the systems are the same and we have all lost a couple of million brain cells, but we all have different feelings.

    My left side is affected, so I struggle to hold things with my left hand, I mean I can hold things but I do it in a different way to what I used to. And then I can feel the temperature on my left side, but cannot feel the temperature on my right side, which was not affected. Strange. If I scratch myself on my right arm, then I feel the sensation on my left or on my face or everywhere else except where I am scratching. It is such a strange situation.

    And my left eye, the tear duct does not work, so the eye does not liquidate itself, I have to constantly put drops into it to keep it moist. I had an abscess grow across my eye, but that is under control and has gone, but my vision out of my left eye is blurry. Which will never come right.
    And I get these stabs of pain on the left side of my nose or my left eye. It is as if someone takes a red-hot needle and sticks you with it. I live off paracetamol tablets. I take up to 6 a day. It is the only tablet I can take for the pain.

    Well, I am a year and a half down the road, I struggle to walk, If I eat quickly then I have to regurgitate my food back up to rechew it. My balance is totally out of sync. But I manage and just have to take each day as it comes.
    One thing that I can say for sure is that you very quickly get to learn who your friends are. I mean people that I thought were friends are no longer there and people that I least expected to be a friend is there. Strange.
    But, that is life. Life has a way of throwing you a curveball now and again, and if you don't know how to deal with it then you will struggle. We are all linked to nature and we will all survive no matter what. The only problem I have is an income, unfortunately, in today's world, we need money to live.

    But, I will survive.
    But, hey, that is just my opinion.
    Brian Derrick

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I am a Stroke survivor
Oct 28th 2020 at 4:34 AM
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