Birthday girl

It’s my birthday tomorrow. I can’t believe I made it to 41!

People ask me if I want to block out the last few months after the stroke but the truth is, I don’t.

I hope I don’t come across here too whingey because my life has actually changed for the better. I’m healthier, happier, less stressed and I think kinder than I was before. I’m indeed grateful that I had the stroke, even if I’ve got health issues now that are getting on my nerves and are making parenting a challenge at times, but I’m so happy to still be around and spend time with my beautiful children, and when I feel a bit crappy I just remind myself of that.

We’ve just spent a most wonderful week in my native Germany, with the fam. I had secretly been dreading it as I didn’t know how my brain would cope with all the excitement that travelling brings, but it was fine. Travelling with two small people can be quite exhausting at the best of times but overall they’ve been really good (apart from when Archie wanted to open the airplanes door or when Clara had a tantrum because I didn’t use the correct crayon for colouring in).

Once in Germany, I felt, hmmm, how can I best describe it, safe. Two reasons for that: it’s my home and you know that belly feeling you get when you come home. And secondly, the healthcare system is simply amazing. I had booked my annual visit to the gynie months ahead and been looking forward to a long, in depth chat about stuff, not the rushed 10mins you get from the nhs. Then, scarily, over the weekend I had a couple of episodes of aura migraine that frighten the living daylights out of me, so my dad (a man who loves a doctors surgery and all things medical) booked me into an emergency mri for the next day.

It was a truly delightful experience. Not only did I spent a full 40mins in the mri (as opposed to 15 when diagnosed with the stroke), but then again had 45mins with the consultant. Afterwards I went to a pharmacy to get some bits, and this too was just beautiful. I marvelled for a very long time at all the products and potions and medicines and enjoyed the fact I didn’t have to wait for 15 mins for my pills to be ready.

Don’t get me wrong. This is not an article to slag off the nhs. I love and support the nhs. I’ve survived a triple spinal fracture, two births, one miscarriage and a stroke under the nhs and the care I’ve received has always been good. I understand it’s a different system and funded differently (Germans pay a minimum of ca 50% tax which goes into healthcare) and I don’t doubt the competence of British medical professionals. But in Germany, it’s just more thorough. You don’t get fobbed off or made feel like you should pull yourself together. You can have a proper moan and whine about your health and life in general, and I’m a true believer in the positive effects on mental and physical wellbeing through the medium of moaning.

Having said all of that, I’ve been left a little confused albeit a happy confusion by the results of the mri. It turns out I “only” had a mini stroke and my brain seems to have healed reasonably well. A mini stroke is also called a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack), and means that symptoms disappear after a few hours. Mine did indeed but the stroke consultant here said it was a full stroke rather than a TIA. Not sure what to believe now?

In any case, I’m feeling good and happy and very tired. I’m excited to see what tomorrow brings and am looking forward to all your birthday wishes 😁

Me waiting to go into the mri.
A German pharmacy. Delightful

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