Meeting this lovely lady was a momentous occasion for me.
You may remember the nurse I wanted to track down called Colleen? If you read my blogs you’ll know how badly I wanted to see her again. Actually, it proves someone is reading em because only a few days later Colleen emailed me! Someone contacted her on Facebook only two days after the ‘Wanted’ poster went out!!! That was awesome …..so impressed! Talk about the power of social media! (And ‘Thank you’ Tammy the physio – nice one Tammy x)
Colleen and I used to talk in the hospital cafe, laughing at how crap she used to feel using the wordboard, but I explained, “It’s not if you’re crap or not, its all about having a go!” Just having a willing person to connect with felt wonderful to me.
Colleen said she was 10 weeks on the ward before she transferred upstairs and was one of the first nurses to bond with me in my sorry state. Yet, ironically, she was the one nurse I never got to thank and it was great to finally show my gratitude.
I was very proud of myself indeed, as, apart from my slight limp I was in good form and Colleen was pretty amazed, I think. She said I wasn’t even blinking then either, just eyes going up and down. Now here I was giving her hugs, drinking coffee and having a good old chin wag. We were talking a bit about how stroke and locked-in syndrome changes people, but then so do any major illnesses or injuries!
Colleen had lost her husband to cancer many years ago, and she said it altered her whole outlook on life
I was totally agreeing on that- my life will never be the same either, not that I’m sorry about that. Now I see if I hadn’t had this life-changing event I wouldn’t ever have met the most amazing people of my life; you know, nurses, therapists, and other stroke patients.
If someone had the power to rewind time and prevent my stroke from ever happening, or I could choose to stay where I am today, I’d probably say I’m better person now and am so grateful to know the people I know as a result. I truly feel the luckiest person in the world to have met them!
Not everyone feels the same way, of course, and I understand that, but if you’re struggling with a serious condition, one day you may see it; just keep going and remember – some of your greatest pain can become your greatest strength,
Nice to finally meet ya Colleen xxx
Now I’ve got my voice back, this interview for the Consumer Health Council will, I hope, encourage all my fellow sufferers of locked-in syndrome and help others recognise the symptoms of impending stoke.