Update – Reasons to Be Grateful

This post is to update everyone on my recent absence. I hope you can bear with me while I explain.

Roughly three weeks ago, I awoke in the early hours of the morning. I am no stranger to waking in the ‘wee small hours’ and have developed a routine for such circumstances – tea and a good book until sleep eventually overtakes me. So, I prepared myself to go downstairs to the working kitchen.

But when I attempted to swing my legs out of bed, I quickly discovered that my limbs were unwilling to cooperate. In a state of panic, I called out to my wife and to my horror, I found that I could not speak properly. I knew what I wanted to say, but the words came out in a slur.

More panic set in, and I yelled in gibberish as loudly as I could and managed to use my elbow to get my wife’s attention. When she awoke, she was as shocked as I was. She jumped out of bed and turned on the light.

“I think you’ve had a stroke,” she said. “I’ll phone for an ambulance.”

To cut a long story short, I was taken to the hospital and given a bed on the stroke rehab ward. Fortunately, my symptoms lasted only 24 hours, and it appears there is no lasting damage. I was allowed home the following evening, much to everyone’s relief.

The CT scan I received in the hospital showed something at the back of my brain, but my follow-up MRI showed everything was normal. I guess that I suffered a TIA (mini-stroke). My mother has had several of these over the years, and these things tend to run in families. I have been prescribed blood-thinning medication as a precaution, and I will have to attend the hospital as an outpatient.

In addition, I have been advised to get plenty of rest and to avoid as much stress as I can, but the next unforeseen event did not give me much chance to follow the doctor’s orders.

A few days later, my daughter was identified as a close contact of a pupil at her school who tested positive for Coronavirus. This revelation shook me to the core. I have thought for some time that the safety measures in schools are inadequate. In my opinion, children need better ventilation (an open window is not sufficient in a classroom with over 30 pupils) and more social distancing in classrooms. By saying this, I am in no way blaming the school staff who are doing their very best to keep children safe in a challenging situation. I do believe, however, that government should be doing more to protect our young people while they are attending their place of education.

Anyway, I was advised that my daughter needed to self-isolate at home for ten days and that I should get her tested for Coronavirus. I ordered a home testing kit, which arrived within hours of placing my request. We followed the instructions to the letter and popped it in the post. It was hard to think of much else as we awaited the result, and time seemed to come to a halt.

Thankfully, we did not have to wait long to get the result. I got a text message the next day, which I opened gingerly with shaky fingers. I breathed a huge sigh of relief, however, when I saw the result – negative. We dodged a bullet, but I cannot help but wonder how many more times we will have to go through this process now that schools are reopened. And the law of probability would suggest that one cannot dodge every bullet.

The last few weeks have been eventful, but I am grateful for how things panned out because, in truth, outcomes could have been much worse. And I feel I have to add that I am looking forward to getting out among the trees again. I do miss not being around nature.

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