Personal Progress (May 2020)

I’ve got to be honest, the stroke hasn’t really dominated things for quite some time. I mean, I have lasting effects with my arm and leg, but the actual stroke seems a long time ago.

The fatigue is still a biggie – I’m fed up that I get breathless when I walk from the lounge to the kitchen, but I have developed coping strategies. Same with my eyes, I believe my eyesight has stopped deteriorating but I’ve been told it’ll never actually improve from here. But for that, too, I have coping strategies. I do feel that if I ever met any of my online friends in real life, nobody would recognise me because doing things on a computer is a doddle compared to actually doing things. But the effects are what they are, and I’ll take any advantage I can.

Although it left lasting effects, I never really felt that I was defined by the stroke, even though for a while, I probably was. I did, however, feel that I had quite a unique perspective from which to speak.

When I started the blog, I decided to highlight that perspective to make it as in your face as possible – Stroke Survivor. But it is a long while since I posted anything stroke-related. I post on far more everyday things these days.

So I decided to change the name of the blog. I’ve been thinking about it for a while. I don’t feel I need that “in your face” aspect any longer.

In the next couple of weeks, therefore, I’m going to change the name of the blog. The name I thought of was Mister Bump. Still an oblique reference to the stroke, but far less direct. Sharp-eyed readers will already have noticed that I changed my email, one (eagle-eyed!) noticed that I’d already changed the header image. And the URL, blog title & logo will soon follow suit.

I’ll keep my personal identity – Stroke Survivor UK – unchanged for now, but I’ll probably change that too at some point. Probably by keeping my name the same for now, most of you won’t really notice any difference. And anybody who sends an email to the old address, I set up an alias so it’ll redirect automatically to the new one.

I’ve been reassured by the folks at WordPress that everything will morph from one name to the other quite seamlessly, links, reblogs, images, the lot, but I’ll believe it when it happens. So there might be a few funnies as I fix broken links. If you find one, please tell me.

Who Won the Week (26 April 2020)

I do like Fandango’s Who Won the Week post, and liked to join in with some quirky stories from my own newsfeeds. I pulled the last couple of posts because Corona tended to dominate the news, but I have still found a few interesting stories, with the Corona backdrop.

I wasn’t going to post again today, after my last post (Fed Up). But this story has been airing repeatedly through the day, and rather than just making me fed up, this one thoroughly pisses me off. Maybe it is just a story that my ears are tuning in to. So this is a Who Won the Week and a Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday Peeve post, all thrown into one!

So, my winner this week is universal healthcare.

Let me explain. One of the sub-stories to have come out of this crisis is that many fewer heart attacks or strokes are turning up at the Emergency Room. You can read the core of the story here (the Guardian is a reputable British newspaper, this article, though, is a week old), although the story has been picked up by many media outlets since and was broadcasting today.

The BHF – British Heart Foundation -is a UK charity, again very well-respected, is reporting a 50% drop in people seeking treatment for heart attacks and strokes. I’m making sure that I am putting all these references in, so you can go look them up if you don’t believe me.

So, what is happening? Well, fewer people are presenting, because they must figure that their chances are better if they go nowhere near a hospital. This might be because they know that hospitals are where the virus lives, and they don’t trust hospitals’ abilities to keep them out of its way (despite being gravely ill) or it might be because they just think they will not get proper treatment at the moment.

This second case, I have some personal experience. Just before the start of this crisis, my auntie was in hospital. You might remember that I mentioned it at the time. They sent her home, so they could make room for COVID patients. They could not have thought that she was cured, because they gave her some pills as they kicked her out, pills that she had never even taken before. So, they didn’t even wait to see the effect, to see whether the dose was correct.

And, as part of this whole experience, the talk with a paramedic (yes, she was serious enough to call 999) revealed that they had been instructed that any care home residents over the age of 75 would not be admitted to hospital, whatever the reason. This worried my aunt greatly because while she resides in her own home, she is 79.

I’m not sure how much weight I would attach to this hearsay, if it were not for the fact that this “policy” has also been reported in the media. When you start to hear the same thing through several channels, it makes you wonder. And the media is also starting to uncover many, many deaths at care homes, deaths which have not been attributed to the virus.

There are big question marks at the moment about what our world will look like after this virus. Here is one possible change:

In the UK, we pay for our health service through our income tax. The tax is called National Insurance. So, if I am 20, with a lifetime of NI payments ahead of me, I’m looking at this tax, and thinking if, when I need it, this system is going to decide not to treat me, then why the fuck should I pay for it?

So, hurrah for universal healthcare, and… wouldn’t it be a good idea? I say, let’s have some of that!

Do tell me, please, if your country has seen similar drops in the reporting of life-threatening illnesses.