Sorry it’s taken a few days for me to get around to this update. You know how life gets busy…
Here’s the answers to my questions, in no particular order, and what happens next.
(1) Aspirin. The 75mg a day of baby aspirin has to continue for two reasons. First, the clot is still there in my vertebral artery (in the back of my neck). The aspirin prevents it doing any more damage. Second, there is the minuscule chance that there is some kind of congenital weakness there – he made it sound more like winning the euromillions type odds than getting struck by boring old lightening, though the figure of 5% chances of reoccurrence on a tear has been bandied around the VAD group recently. In any case a baby aspirin would prevent this doing much harm so it would make sense to continue that even if the clot ever clears itself.
(2) Scans. They are putting all my scans on a CD for me, and it’ll be ready in a couple of weeks. If I can work out how to find the right ones, I’ll post a couple. The one in May was an MRI and it suggests the clot is still completely occluding the artery. Apparently CT is much better than MRI for seeing vessels but CT is strong x-rays and I’ve had too many in the past 12 months out of necessity, so they won’t do another for maybe a year, just to see what’s going on.
(3) I’ve been moved on to a young stroke survivor clinic. Not sure what I was in before but it’ll be the same doc so I don’t think it makes any difference. I don’t see him again for a year.
(4) Tiredness. I got off very lightly on this one compared with some of my friends, so I don’t want to overplay it. But I’m aware that, having moved by work base from my house to an office set up that takes 20 minutes on a packed train (even though I avoid rush hour) means i can’t then do most evenings and weekends out and about because something has to give. I asked whether that’s just being out of practice, being a year older(!) or from the brain injury but pre-fixed it with, “Look I’m sure you can’t tell either but.” He said, without hesitation, it’s the stroke and that most of the younger patients have it.
He suggested that older people are retired so many not notice tiredness and I’ve been shielded from it by organising my own work days. I work long hours but because I’ve avoided commutes and sitting still at a desk for 5 hours straight (I never sat still for more than an hour in my ‘real’ job and I am desk based in the office as I’m the only one working for me there!). He says stop trying to be there 5 days a week and work from home a couple of days a week. Of course, I have some worries about what happens if I need a ‘real’ job in the new year… this is where I have to question the wisdom of the advice which was something like:
“Any employer that doesn’t give their staff a week off after a week of really long hours in an emergency isn’t the right employer.”
He’s a neurologist in an NHS hospital, so I’m kind of assuming he has weeks like this but the two people I told since have both done what I did: laughed. My friends make me feel far less cynical!
I guess it’s a case of building up instead of jumping in the deep end again. I’m not prepared to sacrifice my whole outside-work life (which I did when I briefly went back to work for three few months after) so I’m going to use the next few weeks to build up the hours not working from home and make sure I’m working away from the home during the week without issue over the next few weeks. I’d rather do it while I don’t have an employer than find out what happens at the same time I start a new job (if my current work for myself doesn’t result in a decent enough income!).
Anyway, that’s all.
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