So this post is a little different to the usual ones I publish. I hoped that if I could get my grandad’s story out, it might just help someone else. My grandad suffered a mini stroke due to a blood vessel being blocked in his throat. This is currently being controlled by medication.
For me to explain my grandad’s situation I have to go back a few weeks ago. He lives on his own unfortunately so no one was there to help him. He became unbalanced while trying to change his top and fell and hit his head. He put his arm out to break his fall and his hand and head collided together. He didn’t tell anyone for a few days, but then had to when his arm was aching and a finger was slightly dislodged. After that he seemed okay. Nothing felt out of the ordinary. A week later we were celebrating his 91st birthday (incredible). His mood and behaviour had changed. He was very reserved and quiet. This is unlike my grandad who can chat for ages. The next day I took him home as he stayed with my mum. He said he was extremely tired as he didn’t sleep well, which he said was due to his arm aching. He was also quiet and looked unhappy. (I just wish I picked up these signs sooner.) Later that night he was rushed off to hospital as he was complaining of a numb arm. Thankfully my auntie acted quick and listened to the signs.
Even though we acted fast on helping my grandad, it doesn’t mean he was able to make a full recovery. After the stroke, he has lost quite a bit of strength in his arm and is quite tired most of the time. He has also become forgetful but this is all early days and with time and patients we can help him to improve from month to month. They couldn’t operate on his throat with the age being a far greater risk. We are supporting my grandad as best we can, and will continue to watch out for any symptoms that may re-occur.
After doing some research recently on stroke, it has made me realise it’ not all textbook. People’s symptoms vary; the majority know F.A.S.T (Face, arm, speech and time to call 999). This is a bright red flag indicating someone needs to act fast on getting medical help to the patient. Every second counts as a stroke stops oxygen getting to the brain which means your cells is being starved and permanently damaged.
Not everyone is aware of symptoms of a mini stroke. A mini stroke medical term is called Transient ischemic attack (TIA). This is a temporary blockage of blood and oxygen to the brain. You may experience symptoms such as an ache or numbness to the arm. Tingling feeling, dizziness, abnormal taste or smell, confusion, vision change, unbalanced, difficulty speaking or loss of consciousness. They say these symptoms will disappear as the blockage dislodges. This is not always the case. My grandad suffered a mini stroke which from a CT scan showed a blocked blood vessel in his throat. Luckily enough it was picked up quick but the blockage didn’t move. Which means it could have caused a full stroke. After researching through this I found stories of people, who experienced a TIA and didn’t even know. They didn’t see the warning signs. These symptoms could of happened months, or weeks before but because some are so temporary (might only last a few hours) the patients were ignoring the big signs their body was sending off. Studies have shown that people who have TIA are more likely to have a full stroke. It is so important to act fast and to listen to your body. Thankfully my grandad did, and I am able to share his story.
For me this stroke has been a big wake up call. It is far too easy to let life cloud the things that matter. You get so caught up with work or running around or seeing what’s new on social media. I was neglecting his precious valuable time, time that one day I wish I still had. It made me think that right now I don’t have to regret not spending enough time; I can make sure I am there for him as much as I can. I just wish I didn’t wait until a bad situation happened before I opened my eyes. Don’t let life cloud what’s important.
Thank you for reading x