Nobody asks about the 900 pound gorilla

No one from the NHS ever talked to me about the causes of a stroke or asked about diet.

(Of course , hospital workers are quite hypocritical – I have never seen a slim dietician. They take
up 3/4ths of a hospital corridor when they pass by.  Which brings up physiotherapists as well –



Insight - June/July 2011

 Northampton General proudly ran this picture of one in of its publications –  the head of physiotherapy inflicting her will
on an old age pensioner, touting the benefits of exercise, something that has eluded her for about an excess of 100 pounds. I couldn’t have made this up – here is the picture, and NGH is proud of it. Insight, June/July 2011)

No, I don’t smoke – I quit about a year and a half ago.
Because of Type Two diabetes I was eating reasonably in my diet – I watched
cholesterol, salt intake, read labels on salt and sugar content, exercised
twice a day enforced by a pack of dogs (read earlier post for clarity), took my
medicine religiously with vitamin supplements. Blood pressure was normal with
medicine, then, I had a stroke.

OK. What aren’t you telling us? Maybe I had more than a few hot dogs and spare ribs, but my cholesterol levels were good according to my
GP’s routine blood tests every quarter. There wasn’t an inquest as to why I had a stroke. Nobody asked about lifestyle, diet, hard drugs, trips to Africa, metal piercings or family history. The stroke was just the 900 pound gorilla in the room (not the hospital dietician), and not one medical authority wondered how it got there.

There was talk about how we would deal with the effects of
the stroke, the medicines I’d take, the rehabilitation I’d have, physio and
speech therapy, and in all these discussions I remember the great medical minds
saying:  “You can recover,” “You’ll be back to normal” more than once. But no talk about where this stroke came from – the causes could be the prevention.

In any event, Amoret was thinking the same way. Together
with my oldest daughter they conspired to keep me alive and well.

On my team: my oldest daughter who says diet will help me
recover from a stroke and prevent another one and provides scientific proof
(research papers) that show you are what you eat; Amoret, who says I must take
better care of myself and who squeezes my hand to say “stay with me.”

This means no white bread, whole wheat instead, the same with pasta, and plenty of herbs, passanta,
plenty of chicken (red meat once every seven days) and fresh fruit and
vegetables. I drank only tea (black; I know it’s against the law without milk)
where once I had consumed 8-10 cups of coffee a day.

(Once in my early reporting days in Baton Rouge Louisiana I went through city and parish [county]
government  offices every day in search of stories. It involved getting a paper demitasse cup of lethal and strong Community Coffee in
each office and sipping it while questioning people. You can’t just ask:  What’s going on? You have to “smooze” the stories
out of them; get them talking. I once counted I had 24 separate cups of coffee in one morning. It’s no wonder I loved my job – I was wired!)

(Under this family good food assault, what once was an acceptable 6.2 cholesterol reading eventually dropped down to 2.4 in a matter of weeks)

I checked my blood pressure every day – I’m calm now that Mrs Doubtfire is out of my life.

I didn’t need the government’s faceless cartoon characters telling me to “eat five a day and exercise or you’ll turn into a fat arse and we’ll
have to look after you” or something like that.

The dogs have new devoted energy towards me.

Now, the work on my speech can begin.  I’ve got my first visit to the speech therapist scheduled and I’ll soon be wise-cracking again.


2 responses to “Nobody asks about the 900 pound gorilla

  1. Hello – thanks for writing; my husband’s now on stroke number 4 and they are only now beginning to ask why. They have been going on for 6 years, since he was 42. I feel that if I wasn’t asking nobody would be explaining anything and John’s brain injuries have taken away the fire you obviously still have.

  2. Thanks for the comment. All I have left to communicate is the blog and it’s nice to get feedback. I still can’t speak properly, which if you read “about” section of the blog, is really depressing, so all I have is slow writing. It takes about a week for each blog. As somebody said: Aphasia has taken away my speech, but not my voice.

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