I am not a writer. I don’t know how to write. I don’t think I’ve written an essay since I was in the sixth form and that was back in 1976 or a written report since I was slaving in the Civil Service. I don’t write, I jot, I’m a jotter. I have piled up notebooks full of jottings.
So this is not an essay or a report , it’s a series of jottings, by me, Lee Carroll, in an attempt at documenting what happened to my Brain back in July 1996 and my response to a series of photographs taken of me by my Son, Sean Carroll under the heading ‘Does not suggest death within six months is likely to occur’, taken this year around my home.
I’ll be trying to make some kind of sense on how an exploding blood vessel in my head caused me to be irreversibly changed in an instance… forever…. in this life anyway.
I am one of the lucky ones. I survived. Is there such thing as luck? I’d like to believe it was by Gods providence that I survived at all, but this is not going to be a religious debate about faith but faith can come into it if you want because a third of all people who suffer a brain haemorrhage will die pretty quickly and another third will die within a month of having had one. The remaining third will survive. Some will be so severely disabled, requiring constant assistance never leaving the confides of a medical centre. Others will lose the use of a limb or two or the ability to speak or swallow or the means to be able to see properly or some will develop fits or have to endure mind numbing headaches. As your brain is the source of everything you are or do the list could go on and on and on. There’s a lucky 10% who survive pretty much intact. I don’t know where I fit in to all these survivor statistics. I didn’t come out of it unbroken that‘s for sure. But more about that in later posts.
So how is all of this fair, how does that square with any faith you may have and how come I was lucky when so many are not; there I go again…..luck….or providence.
Of course I wasn’t thinking of any of this at the time it happened…I didn’t even know what a stroke was let alone a brain haemorrhage but more about that in later posts too. Now that I have had years to analyse these events, going over them probably thousands of times in my mind, reliving the events over and over, what increased my chances of survival was that I happened to be in the right place at the right time. The right place because I was at home, I wasn’t driving or out on my bike or walking in the street or over the field with the dog or even at work. The right time because I wasn’t alone and someone had the sense to stick me in a car and drive me off to the nearest hospital. The right time because I was probably in the fittest condition of my life. Mid 30’s, I was a weight trainer, racing cycling fanatic, thirteen an’ half stone full of stamina that fuelled the hours and hours that I invested into my children my life and a demanding job that I liked with a promotion looming. In other words my body was strong and healthy…so what could go wrong? The right place at the right time?….It’s never the right time is it? How could it ever be the right time. My life was to be changed in a second, it would never be as it was again.
My Brain haemorrhage started about 11am on Saturday the 27th July 1996 and it wasn’t until the late afternoon of that day that the medical teams realised that I was having a Subarachnoid haemorrhage. I had been ferried during the day to three different hospitals where doctors tried to figure out what was going wrong with me and why it was that I couldn’t see anything. .. It wasn’t until a young ophthalmologist, shining his small torch into my painful eyes suggested to his colleague that It would be an idea for me to have a CT scan with the words, that I can still remember , ’ I think there is something going on inside his head’. A little later it felt like my head had exploded.