Life After Stroke

I was 14 years old when I had my stroke,
which was out of the blue. I’d never had any health problems in my life. One day I was struck down with a fever. I’ve got barely any memory of it but my face and the right side of my body was drooping. We phoned the NHS 24
and they said, ‘Get him to the hospital right now’. It was a bacterial infection in the heart valve. The stroke was what revealed it.
In some ways it actually saved me. Went out to set up the kit,
had a funny feeling in my wrist. I went there – the local hospital, and within ten minutes
I was wired up to this, that and everything else. I had head scans, chest scans… So then I had to ring up and arrange for
another drummer for myself for that night. I attempted to go back on the drum kit
a couple of weeks later, only to be readmitted again
at three o’clock the following morning. That gave me more fear than anything. Because I thought that
never ever again am I gonna play. One of the nurses had come up to me and said, ‘I hear you’re an artist,
why don’t you draw something for me?’ I said, ‘Of course’. Took the pencil…
It just flopped out of my hand. And I couldn’t pick it up. That was the first moment of…
‘What’s happened to me?’ That was really scary. That temporary fright is horrible. I thought I was going to lose everything, but I didn’t. I practised my drawing and my writing again each day, and the physio…that all started to bring it back. Every day’s drawing had to be better
than the last day’s one. My target was I wanted to get back to work and I also wanted to get back to playing the drums. I then did everything the right way. I eventually got back to where I wanted to be
and life is good now. For me it was being able to get on with my work again and do all the things I’d always wanted to do. Now I get to work as an animator and a writer. Maybe just the attitude change that I had was to make each day special in its own way. It’s almost like taking your previous life for granted and then you’ve got it back
and you feel like you’re in control again. Every day really, from then onwards, is a bonus anyway. You’ve gotta try and get a positive out of a negative. I’m a firm believer in that.

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