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Hi there, I’m a 49-year-old guy (2017) from the UK (Wiltshire). In many ways I led a quite unexceptional life, I’d always been a high flyer, I had my own business which sold my expertise as an IT consultant, and ultimately spent a dozen-or-so years working with some of London’s most prestigious banks. At the same time, I have a lovely house on the edge of the New Forest, about 100 miles south-west of London, a wife and a seventeen-year-old daughter (2017). I lived quite an affluent life, statistically I was among the top 1% of earners in the UK, but around 5 years ago things started to happen which have put a whole new perspective on life,….
In March 2012, my mum went into hospital for some tests, and very unexpectedly died. She was only in her late 60s. This had a profound effect on my daughter, who was only 12 years old at the time, and who had already been diagnosed with mental health issues. Possibly, this also had an effect on my father (who had advanced pre-senile dementia (I think it might be called “early-onset” these days, but the same thing), as he himself died a few months later. All of a sudden I had to untangle their estates!
Their house was 200 miles from me, and visits were quite significant in terms of travel time alone, so I withdrew from consulting with clients, and even effected a career change (I became a bicycle mechanic) as, at the same time, I sorted through their probates.
Life became more difficult for my daughter. Somebody at school committed suicide (which she took very badly), and there followed a couple of first-hand suicide attempts. This culminated in early 2015 with her being taken into care, alleging that I had physically abused her and that my wife had stood by and watched. Solicitors and unpleasantness followed, before a few months later the local authority conceded that we had done nothing wrong – daughter (who remains in care) has since been moved-on from several accommodations/colleges, there always seem to be issues getting along with people, and there have been at least two other times that she has alleged that she has been abused…. As a result of this, I have no relationship with my daughter, although my wife still does.
No sooner was the legal situation resolved than in February 2016 I suffered a stroke. When I consider that I spent much of my time in hospital unable even to walk, I am greatly improved, although I have weakness on my left side – I don’t walk properly and my arm and hand are, effectively, useless (also possibly my vision was affected, although I was having treatment before the stroke). I am generally quite unimpressed by the level of medical care, for example when I first presented at the hospital, they did an MRI scan and, for whatever reason, they didn’t recognise that I’d had a stroke so sent me home.
Later on, nobody was willing/able to pinpoint the cause of the stroke either, although I have a history of high blood pressure and am diabetic, so there are two instant red flags. Before the stroke however I was a actually pretty fit and a keen cyclist – I used to ride up to 100 miles at a time, although despite taking the meds I was prescribed I didn’t track my blood sugar very closely and never really felt that my blood pressure was under control. In particular, all the exercise I got did not make a jot of difference. Possibly one of the plusses of the stroke is that my meds were overhauled and I now have reasonable blood pressure and sugar (which I measure regularly). Nowadays, however, I am unable to balance well enough to ride any of my bikes, and even go to the other extreme, qualifyifying for a disabled parking permit and for various disability benefits. I have ridden a bike when it is anchored into a static trainer, but not on the open road. And, given that those two ailments were really the only (identified) long-term problems that I ever had, I figure I might just avoid further strokes by trying to control them as best I can. I’m able to do this with varying degrees of success, which you’ll be able to read about here.
This blog is simply my “take” on life, given my new-found disability.