About the author
In 2001 the author went on a holiday to England to see his daughter, suffered a brain attack, and spent six weeks in hospitals in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He has done smarter things. He returned to Australia in a wheelchair to spend a further four weeks in hospital.
He lives with his wife of thirty-six years in a high rise on the Gold Coast, Queensland. Previously he lived in Melbourne, where from 1979-86 he was chief executive of the Ascom Group of companies, a major construction grouping, having earlier graduated in Engineering and Commerce. The Group undertook infrastructure projects such as high voltage powerlines, grain storages and power stations in Australia, New Guinea, and the Middle East. He was a councillor of the City of Sandringham, Melbourne, 1974-80, mayor 1978-79, a Fellow of The Institution of Engineers Australia, and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.
The author’s first book, Hit by a Stroke, is a light-hearted account of the onset of his stroke, his time in hospital, and life for the first year. This book continues his story.
I live with
Lacunar Infarcts. No, not a leggy Nordic blonde, something entirely different.
You probably don’t have them, or know what they are. I have them, but before
you get envious and rush to the shops to get a few dozen, let me tell you about
a chat I had when I first went to see Doctor John.
were at his surgery in Burleigh Heads, following my discharge from hospital.
me exactly what happened in there,” I said as we examined the x-rays, and I
pointed to my noggin.
his quiet way he replied, “There are two main types of stroke, or brain attack
as it’s best described … the first is when a blood clot from the body passes
through the neck, enters the brain and...”
havoc,” I said.
and the second main type is where an artery in the brain bursts and blood …”
yours was a third sort. You have ended up with lacunar infarcts, the blood did
not circulate fully to reach all parts of your brain, the small arteries there
might be too fine, or blocked, or diseased.’
are relatively young, so probably they were too fine, and that part of the brain
was starved of blood, so the tissue there went dead …”
pointed to white streaks on the x-rays.
is hard to accept that part of you has died.
those bits are called infarcts, and you can see they are shaped like narrow
wedges, hence the term lacunars from the Latin word for a ditch. They are in the
left side of brain, so they control the right side of your body, or rather once
was one of those times when you wished you had a large piece of paper and a pen
to write it all down. A dazed expression must have appeared on my face, because
course every stroke is different.”
are affected in different ways.”
have to admit it all took a lot of absorbing. He knows a lot about strokes, even
though he hasn’t had one himself; rather he is a good listener. I hobbled out
of his rooms deep in thought, and Helen drove me home. Wordless I was, I had to
read the dictionary several times, also the encyclopaedia, before I could
pronounce those two words, let alone spell them and explain their meaning.
might say I am a man with holes in his head. So what? I cannot be the only
person in this wide world with them, but at least I know.
live quietly, with many things not the same. Travel, for instance. In my view
you encounter too many Basil Fawltys, too many Sybils, and too many Manuels. And
how would I travel?
don’t want to put myself in the hands of the people who run airlines, nor do I
wish to sit in a train or a bus for hours at a time, cramped next to a
well-meaning person who may otherwise have the mannerisms of Mr Bean. At the
destination, would there be healthy food, a computer, gym, and air conditioning?
I rarely see these advertised in a travel brochure.
sun, sand, yes; booze and nightlife, yes; and ancient buildings, yes, but not
the civilization I wish to enjoy.
not think I am pedantic. I am not, persistent yes, but not pedantic. Let me put
it this way: my son has an aquarium in his house and keeps his goldfish at an
even temperature, and a snake box also at a constant mark. You may say I am not
a fish or a snake and think you have outwitted me, but if my son’s goldfish
get a controlled temperature, should I accept anything less?
Eighteen months after
a brain attack, I have time to whittle. Afternoons at Bullant Towers pass
slowly, and idle and restless, I spend hours on the computer, whilst Helen my
wife goes to the supermarket. She does all the shopping. Some readers may berate
me, the sloth of a male you may say, spoilt by too much caring, but others of
you will know that Helen is guarding me from the single ladies on the prowl at
My fight back has now
been a time of persistent improvement, but still the question remains ‘why
me recall the carefree life of Sudsy Werdna, who was named for reasons that will
be clear to you. I see him in the carwash manually washing his car. What is there about Sudsy? How is it he should once be a
window cleaner, then a can collector, and now be hearty?
is there about Nelson Fenwick, forever tuning the engine and changing the oil in
his car? Where-as I, once a civil engineer, a company
head, a mayor, now sit at a computer,
typing with my left hand.
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