So important to recognise the early warning signs......

By Dr John Sangster

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As a retired Cardiologist and in excellent health I attended the SANFL Grand Final in 2017. On leaving the oval I noticed I was bumping into people which I could not see. When I arrived home my wife noticed some left sided weakness and we both suspected a stroke.

She took me straight to nearby Wakefield Emergency where I was met by the Stroke team and had an urgent MRI scan confirming a significant right occipital cerebral haemorrhage. My condition rapidly worsened and I was put in an induced coma and treated to reduce brain swelling. My survival was in the balance for 4 weeks until the coma started to resolve.

I was still bedridden when transferred to the Rehab Unit at the Repat Hospital where I commenced an intensive programme of Physio, Hydro and occupational therapy. I was able to walk out of the Unit on Christmas Eve when I returned home in time to attend a family lunch. Outpatient rehab continued for 6 weeks and able to reach my goals such as catching the bus into town, reading on iPad and playing a little golf and more bridge.

My case highlights the need to recognise early signs and seek immediate help together with intensive rehab in a special Unit. My only residual deficit is loss of my left visual field which prevents me from driving a car.