Medical Perspectives: “Stroke – The Doctor As Patient” (The Lancet)

From a The Lancet online article:

The Lancet NeurologyAs a consultant, I had profoundly failed to appreciate the experience of fatigue and apathy among patients. More than excessive tiredness, the fatigue was overwhelming, turning simple activities into insurmountable, exhausting challenges. It was frustrating and I fell into the trap of overexertion when I did have energy, thus exhausting myself and sabotaging the day’s recovery plan. Had staff not been so adept at encouraging me when I lacked energy and holding me back when I tried to overdo things, I would have squandered much valuable rehabilitation time. 

I was a consultant in neurological rehabilitation for acquired brain injury when, at the age of 62 years, I had a stroke. Running for a train, I experienced pain in the right side of my head and mild weakness and sensory loss in my left limbs. I thought I’d had a stroke, but I was remarkably calm. It was late and my instinct was to get home, where I went to the study. In the morning, I found myself on the floor, half-blind, half-paralysed, and terrified.
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Scans showed a large intracerebral haemorrhage in the area of the right basal ganglia. My symptoms could be explained by the damage to my brain—my medical world was in order, something to hold on to. I discussed my diagnosis and treatment with my colleagues during brief waking periods, grateful that they still saw the person I was before my stroke. Meanwhile, my wife was in the good hands of staff who treated her with sensitivity, giving her plain facts and support.

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