I left some things out of my description of a stroke. For a start I left out the CT scan which they did as soon as they got me to Honved hospital. I don’t remember much of the trip there which I think is a pity, because I love blues and twos, flashing red and blue lights, beebaah, beebaah. It would have been fun: sadly I think I was preoccupied with ghost arms and invisible cats at the time. At any rate I don’t remember much about it.
There I was, on a stretcher, wrapped up with blankets so I couldn’t move at all. I felt rather cosy. I looked up at the curve of the machine above me and thought, ahah, a CT scanner, maybe I am having a stroke after all? I recognised it from TV though not the particular angle. I stayed very still, feeling smug because they hadn’t noticed the cat which was a tortoiseshell like the very cute cat at home in Budapest, Cuki by name (pr. Tsuki, by the way).
Machine noises went, and out I came again. They unwrapped me a bit and moved me to a different kind of bed, wheeled me off. I did my best to help with the move. It was kind of exciting to be the centre of so much attention.
Which brings me to the point of this piece: at no time in the entire proceedings did the thought occur to me: ohshitohshit, I might die. Not once. The whole thing took place in a sort of vaguely benevolent puzzlement. I don’t think this was some kind of last ditch psychological defence: more the calmness of someone who’s been through this sort of thing and knows it will all be OK in the end.
Which when you think about it dispassionately was not at all true. It was a major physical disaster which could have killed me, though it didn’t (as far as I can tell.)
I still feel remarkably calm about it. Yeah yeah, I had a stroke, what’s the big fat hairy deal? I’ll be better in a couple of weeks. I have completely irrational confidence in my continuing existence. Even nasty thoughts like “What if there’s an aneurysm in my brain and it goes again?” leave me unmoved, except in the rational sense. Rationally I know it’s a possibility; far more powerful is my feeling that I’ll be fine.
I assume it’s probably something to do with the haemorrhagic stroke being on the left side of my brain, traditionally the site of rational gloom and doom. And that accordingly my optimistic fun-loving right brain is doing most of the thinking work.
It’s rather nice though.