Thursday, 28 April 2011

Back to Life... Back to Reality!

Hello Crumbs! Couture Fans!!!

I thought I would write a little post to say hello to you all after a prolonged absence for just over a week.

Some of you may know that my Dad had a stroke last Tuesday lunchtime, an event which has put my world into a bit of a spin since then. It was so out of the blue, he has never had a history of stroke. The 19th of April is actually the anniversary of my first date with my husband, and so the day started off with us planning a meal that evening, discussing the hotel bookings for our upcoming 10-day trip to France which was due to start on Good Friday, as well as being deep in admin and baking for our campaign Cupcakes for Japan.

I had been in the kitchen in Chingford preparing for a Cupcakes for Japan sale that was scheduled for Weds 20th April at Morgan Stanley. In just a split second everything changed. My dad was with me having a lunch break when his stroke occurred, and each day since I have thanked God that I was there as I was able to spot that something was wrong and rush him to hospital. The initial behaviour differences were so subtle that a stranger would not have realised that there was anything wrong with him, however with a stroke, time is so crucial in saving that person.

Thanks to my love of TV I had often seen the "Act FAST" advert on the telly and ran through the test with my dad, as I was unsure if the episode was a low blood sugar issue or if he was having a stroke. The test can be seen here:

I called an ambulance as my instincts told me that something was definitely wrong, and that it was more than a low-sugar issue. The paramedics arrived in 5 minutes but those 5 minutes felt like a lonely eternity as I was so scared for my dad, who was slurring his words by now, and acting very confused and unsteady. I was adamant not to cry or get too het up as this would only worry my Dad more. The paramedics confirmed my suspicions that he was having a stroke and we took him to Queens Hospital in Romford that has a Specialist Stroke Unit. The journey from Chingford to Romford, despite actually only being about 10 mins as we went with sirens and flashing lights, felt about an hour long!!

Once we reached the hospital they rushed my dad off to the "Resus" area and I was told to wait in the family waiting room until called for. At this point I called my mum who was at work in her sugery in Willesden (she is a GP) and broke the news to her, telling her that Dad had had a mild stroke. I then called my husband who was at work, and told him to leave immediately, get to my mum and to drive her to Romford as there was just no way that she would be able to make that 2 hour journey alone after having heard the news.

When I was allowed to see my Dad, the doctors were doing various test on him, and they told me that his stroke had progressed to being "moderately serious". He couldnt move his left side, couldnt feel anyone touching his left side and his speech was almost unintelligible. The trauma team could see that I was on the verge of cracking and was really upset, yet I told them I didnt want my dad to see me crying. I was asked to give various consents about "clot-busting" drugs that needed to be administered which had some unmentionable side effects, however they were hopeful that these drugs would help my dad.

The feeling of loneliness that I experienced while alone in a hospital in Romford while my loved ones were stuck on the North Circular is something that I never want to go through again! At this point I was sat wondering if my Dad would need a carer for the rest of his life, whether his grandkids would ever see him how he used to be or if they would only know him as a person whose speech could not be understood and couldnt walk.

My Dad's stroke occurred at 3.45 pm and he was admitted to hospital at 4.30pm. Finally, at 8pm, my husband and mum reached the hospital, and that is when I broke down. I think the feeling of relief that I had my husband there, as well as my mum with her knowledge of medicine made me feel like I didnt have to hold it back any more.

My dad was moved to a Hyper Acute Stroke Unit, where he was to be monitored for the next few days. We left him at 9pm, we all felt totally numb, and I went back to the kitchen to lock up after my speedy exit with my dad in the ambulance. My husband and I stayed with my mum that night, knowing that she must not be alone, and that it should be me that calls my brother in Hong Kong to let him know the bad news.

We slept as much as we could through tears and fear. The next morning I was relieved to hear that the amazing Natalie from Sweet Things was taking control of the Cupcakes for Japan sale at MS so that was one less thing for me to fret about. We drove back to Romford, not sure of what state we would find my dad in, and we were so delighted to see that he was actually sitting up in his chair drinking tea and having toast for breakfast. The consultants told us that he had made a great recovery overnight and that he had responded very well to the clot-busting injection. His speech was still not back to 100%, and he was having trouble eating, but fundamentally he was alright, he had regained feeling to his left side and could walk, go to the bathroom unaided and could dress himself.

The best news of all came on Thursday, just 48 hours after my Dad's stroke, when we were told that we could take him home! The doctors felt that he had recovered physically to the extent that he no longer needed to be in hospital, and that the rest of his recovery involved rest, which was best at home. Since then he has gone from strength to strength physically and has even reached the point of boredom as he is not allowed to drive for 6 weeks.

My husband and I cancelled our holiday which has resulted in a remarkably empty diary for me!! This has meant that I can spend time at home with my parents, and we have played lots of games of cards and watched many episodes of Only Fools sand Horses! Now that things are returning to normal a little I am back on blog duties and have even contacted The Stroke Association to discuss our next fundraising campaign!!

I urge you all to click the link above to learn more about the signs of a stroke, it may help you to save one of your loved ones.

Have a wonderful weekend!

The Cupcaker x

1 comment:

  1. Sorry you went through this but as you say, thank goodness you were there to act FAST and get treatment for your father when he needed it most. Best of luck and good wishes to you and all your family. Janet Mohapi-Banks x