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Geoff - Interview 16

Age at interview: 68
Age at diagnosis: 65
Brief Outline: Geoff was in bed one morning when he felt sick and lost consciousness. His wife called for an ambulance and he was taken to hospital where he was admitted for 10 days. Although he has recovered, he still experiences some weakness in his right arm and hand, and has been left with some visual problems which now prevent him from driving.
Background: Geoff is married and has three adult children. He is a retired bank employee. Ethnic Background; White British.

More about me...

 Geoff woke up one morning feeling sick and perspiring, and he then lost consciousness. His wife was concerned and called for an ambulance. He was taken to hospital where a brain scan confirmed that he had experienced a mini stroke. Geoff does not remember too many details about what actually happened but he stayed in hospital for around 10 days during which time he had difficulties with speech and mobility, and his eyesight was impaired to some degree. During his time in hospital he had physiotherapy to help with his mobility problems and some help re-learning tasks such as making tea and toast. 

 
Geoff has found that since he had the mini stroke he still has some numbness on one side of his body, his speech is sometimes a little slurred and he has some short term memory loss. The most difficult aspect has been the fact that he has been left with visual problems that have led to him being told he may no longer drive and he finds it upsetting to have lost that aspect of leading an independent life. Prior to this Geoff felt himself to be healthy and active and used to walk several miles each day with his dog, however now he feels he has lost confidence in himself and sometimes finds it difficult to adjust to the limitations he now experiences. 
 
At the time when Geoff had his mini stroke he was waiting to have surgery to remove a polyp from his stomach. Having the mini stroke resulted in a 12 month delay to that surgery being carried out which upset Geoff because he was anxious to resolve the problems he had been having with regards his stomach. 
 
 

Geoff has been told by the optician that his eyesight has deteriorated and he can no longer drive...

Geoff has been told by the optician that his eyesight has deteriorated and he can no longer drive...

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Geoff' About my, my vision? Well I, I was going up to the optician and up at the hospital and they were , they were doing the visual field test and realised that I had this problem and said it probably won’t get any better. But now normal, you know, normal living I don’t seem to have any problem with my eyesight. And this is, this is why it gets me so upset really.
 
And so at that, at what point did you surrender your driving licence? And did somebody tell you, you had to do that? What happened? How did it come about?
 
Geoff' Well, obviously I couldn’t drive after I’d had the stroke and I was asking the doctor when I could drive and he said, “Well it’s all, it all depends on your, on your eyesight.” He said, “So, they’ll be, you know, they’ll be doing the, the eyesight tests and you’ll have to wait for the results of those.”
 
Geoff' the last time I went to the optic, my own optician, I mean, I don’t know whether you’ve, have you ever been to an optician and had the field test. And the last time I went to have my eyes tested she said and they go through the test, they said, “You haven’t done the field test,” she said, “I won’t need to because it won’t be any different than it was before.” [laughs].
 
Oh.
 
Enid' So that’s more or less saying it won’t improve.

 

 

Geoff had never heard the term TIA before, and doesn’t remember being told what the difference...

Geoff had never heard the term TIA before, and doesn’t remember being told what the difference...

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Enid' They told, well they told me, because I asked the nurse in the evening and they said it’s what they call a TIA.
 
TIA.
 
Geoff' TIA.
 
Enid' TI, TIA
 
Geoff' TIA. Transient …
 
Enid' TIA.
 
Geoff' Yeah.
 
And did you already know those, that term or was it new to you?
 
Enid' No, it was new.
 
Right.
 
Geoff' No, I didn’t know the TIA, I just thought a stroke was a stroke and …

Enid' Hm. Yeah.
 
And so was it, it, did they explain to you what the difference was? What it, what it was that you had had? It, you know, as opposed to a stroke?
 
Geoff' They haven’t explained the difference.

 

 

Enid rang the doctor as soon as she realised that Geoff was unwell and the GP arranged for an...

Enid rang the doctor as soon as she realised that Geoff was unwell and the GP arranged for an...

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Geoff' Early Friday morning I was in bed, about to get up and now I just sat up in bed and I just lost all consciousness. And the next thing I realised I was being put in a, in a little chair to be taken in an ambulance. And then the next thing I, I know I was, had, had the medical examination in [local hospital].
 
So can, maybe Enid can fill in some gaps there, what happened? What did you know to …?
 
Enid' Well, he woke me up by making a funny noise. And I said, “Geoff are you all right?” And he said, “No.” So I got out of bed and ran around the bed and I said, “What’s to do?” He said, “I don’t know.” But he wasn’t sat up. He was on his back. And he said, “I’m going, I think I’m going to be sick.” So I said, “Well, if you’re going to be sick, you’ll either have to sit up or get on your side or else you’re going to choke.”
 
Geoff' No, I don’t remember any, any of that.
 
Enid' Now he said, “I can’t.” So I realised then he was paralysed.
 
Aha.
 
Enid' So, I got me….
 
So, you then…?
 
Enid' …I rang the doctor first and then she sent an ambulance. And they rushed him to the hospital.
 
When the ambulance, the paramedics came, did they give an indication of what they thought might it be …?
 
Enid' Yes, they said they thought it was a stroke. They were very, very good actually the paramedics that came. I' Hmhm. So, Geoff, perhaps you could carry on with your story now?
 
Geoff' So when, I came round after being examined in hospital and there was just wait, they were, the. It was a doctor, was it?
 
Enid' I think you were about two hours before you came round.
 
Geoff' They were trying to find me, find a place to take me, weren’t they?
 
Enid' They asked you some questions before that. And asked you if you knew where you were and if you knew what had happened. And you just said, “I’ve had a funny do.” And they said, “Where are you?” He said, “[local hospital].” That’s the hospital in [town] because we used to live in [town].

 

 

Geoff remembers a small incident that happened prior to his TIA and thinks now that he should...

Geoff remembers a small incident that happened prior to his TIA and thinks now that he should...

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I used to go out with the, the dog, I mean, the, it was my job to go out, to walk the dog and I was out and I don’t I’d been even, even told Enid this, I was out with the dog one morning and I was over talking to a friend like you meet out with the dog and I did have a, like just like a dip, a small dizziness.
 
And I think was that a warning sign, now?
 
How long did that last? Can you remember?
 
It was just a minute or so. Because I was talking to this friend and we were stood in the what they have for the horses in over there and I had to turn round to the fence and get hold of the fence to make sure I didn’t, you know, fall over.
 
But it was only a second or so, I feel. So, I often think, was that a warning? And should I have done something then.

 

 

Enid rang the doctor as soon as she realised that Geoff was unwell...

Enid rang the doctor as soon as she realised that Geoff was unwell...

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Geoff' Early Friday morning I was in bed, about to get up and now I just sat up in bed and I just lost all consciousness. And the next thing I realised I was being put in a, in a little chair to be taken in an ambulance. And then the next thing I, I know I was, had, had the medical examination in [local hospital].
 
So can, maybe Enid can fill in some gaps there, what happened? What did you know to …?
 
Enid' Well, he woke me up by making a funny noise. And I said, “Geoff are you all right?” And he said, “No.” So I got out of bed and ran around the bed and I said, “What’s to do?” He said, “I don’t know.” But he wasn’t sat up. He was on his back. And he said, “I’m going, I think I’m going to be sick.” So I said, “Well, if you’re going to be sick, you’ll either have to sit up or get on your side or else you’re going to choke.”
 
Geoff' No, I don’t remember any, any of that.
 
Enid' Now he said, “I can’t.” So I realised then he was paralysed.
 
Geoff' So, I got me….
 
So, you then…?
 
Enid' …I rang the doctor first and then she sent an ambulance. And they rushed him to the hospital. They were very, very good actually the paramedics that came.
 
So, Geoff, perhaps you could carry on with your story now?
 
Geoff' So when, I came round after being examined in hospital and there was just wait, they were, the. It was a doctor, was it?
 
Enid' I think you were about two hours before you came round.
 
Geoff' They were trying to find me, find a place to take me, weren’t they?
 
Enid' They asked you some questions before that. And asked you if you knew where you were and if you knew what had happened. And you just said, “I’ve had a funny do.” And they said, “Where are you?” He said, “[local hospital].” That’s the hospital in [town] because we used to live in [town].
 
Enid' So they said, “Where are you?” And he said, “I’m in hospital in …
 
Geoff' “I’m in hospital.”
 
So he knew what was going on at that point?
 
Enid' He knew what going on then. Yes.
 
Yeah.
 
Enid' But I bet it was about two hours before he actually came round.
 
Geoff' Yeah I don’t, I don’t remember anything.
 
Enid' Because I don’t remember them doing like they do on your knee you know to see if you have any reaction.
 
Geoff' Yeah.
 
Enid' But when you spoke they said that was a good sign.
 
OK. So then what?
 
Geoff' So that.
 
When, when you did start remembering, what, what was, what can you remember now?
 
Geoff' I remember taking, me, taking me out of the emergency department and…
 
Enid' Took you to another ward.
 
Geoff' They took me down to put me on a ward, which was down the road and out of the, the building where we were, and across and into another building. And they put me into bed there. 

And that’s where I stayed.

Enid: Until he came home. 

Geoff: How long was I in?

Enid: Nearly a fortnight. Well, it happened on the 27th of July and it was the beginning of August when you came out. 
 
 

Geoff’s wife saw that he was having a dizzy spell and encouraged him to go to see the GP who...

Geoff’s wife saw that he was having a dizzy spell and encouraged him to go to see the GP who...

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Enid' Well, the other week, a few weeks ago you said you were going dizzy when you bent down. And it was me that spotted it because I, and I said, “Are you dizzy?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “Right, the doctor’s.” So the doctor looked at his prescriptions and he said, “Well, I will take you off this straight away and put you on another one.” And he said, “I’ve been on that since I had my heart by-pass.” He said, “Yes, you probably have.” He said, “Because then in 2001 that was the gold star.” He said, “Now what I’m going to put you on now is the gold star.”

 

 

Geoff still gets numbness in his arms and hands – “it was worse and it has improved but it’s not...

Geoff still gets numbness in his arms and hands – “it was worse and it has improved but it’s not...

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Geoff' my main therapy was walking and …
 
Enid' Little bit of physio you had.
 
Geoff' A little bit of physio and they did like a rehabilitation where I had to go and, took me to, they have like a little …
 
Enid' Kitchen.
 
Geoff' kitchen set up and I had to go and make some toast and brew a cup of tea …
 
If you laughing, did you find it …
 
Enid' Play house [laughs].
 
Geoff' No, I was OK doing that, the only problem is if, carrying anything. I mean, it’s affected this side of my body so presumably it was on that side of my brain.
 
Enid' Brain.
 
And when you say it’s affected, in what way has it affected it?
 
Geoff' Well it feels as though, now, as though I’ve been laid on this side of my body and I’m waiting for the complete sensation to come back. Which, but I realise now that it won’t come back fully but I’m supposed to be on medication to help with that and it’s, it helps a little but I don’t have full control. I mean, I could perhaps, could carry a beaker of tea now but at times …
 
And that’s your right hand. Were you, were right handed?
 
Enid' Yeah.
 
Geoff' Yeah, that’s why it took me so long to fill that form in because I …
 
Right. Could have helped you if you’d said [chuckles]
 
Enid' [Chuckles].
 
Geoff' Because it, I mean, initially I couldn’t write at all. I mean, it was, no, my hand was going all over the place but now if I really concentrate I can write as you can see on the form.
 
OK.
 
Geoff' And it is more or less legible.
 
So there have been, it was worse and it has improved but it’s not fully back to how it was originally?
 
Geoff' It’s not fully back to how it was, no. Just, it just feels as though I’ve been laid on this side of my body and I’m waiting for the sensation to come back but I realise it’s as far as it will go now.

 

 

Geoff and his wife find it more difficult to visit their daughter in Cornwall and it takes a lot...

Geoff and his wife find it more difficult to visit their daughter in Cornwall and it takes a lot...

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Geoff' It’s made a great impact. I mean, we’re fortunate in having our bus passes. I mean, we’ve got our over, over-60s railcards and bus passes. I mean, our daughter lives down in, in Cornwall and we used to drive down there to see them. And after I had my stroke my daughter came up didn’t she?
 
Enid' mhm.
 
Geoff' And spent a few days with us.
 
So now, if you want to go and visit you have to do it a different way, you have to take train or something like that?
 
Geoff' We go on the train.
 
Yeah.
 
Geoff' And so …
 
Enid' And she meets us at the station, doesn’t she?
 
Geoff' Yeah. But she lives out in the country down in Cornwall so you really need a car. I mean, my, we, are fine going down on the train, I mean, it’s better that, it’s better than actually driving but it’s when you get down into Cornwall and she lives out in the country and we can’t drive.
 
What are the limitations for you about, I mean, just getting your shopping and all those kind of things? Well how does it, how does it pan out for you?
 
Enid' Well our son takes me on a Thursday morning shopping, which I’ve been this morning. And if he can’t go for any reason I go down and do the shopping and have taxi back.
 
Geoff' Or sometimes you have a walk down, don’t you?
 
So you’ve found ways, you find ways around it but at the same time it, it sounds like it upsets youto not be able to have that, is it …
 
Geoff' Yeah.
 
 … about losing your, your independence?
 
Enid' It’s independence, isn’t it really.
 
Geoff' I mean, when you’ve got a car there you, you can think, “Oh I’ll just nip, nip down to the shops.” But going out for shopping now, you, when we go back to the hospital I mean, I went to the hospital…
 
Enid' Tuesday.
 
Geoff' I went to the hospital on Tuesday because I’m now on warfarin after a, all me procedures [laughs] so about every six weeks I’ve to go and have my warfarin level checked. And which, we’ve to make a, a day of it almost haven’t we to get back to the hospital.
 
So things take a lot longer…
 
Enid' A lot longer…
 
... for you?
 
Geoff' A lot longer, yeah.
 
Enid' Yeah.
 
Geoff' It’s all right saying you, you, “Well you’ve got a bus pass, you can go anywhere on it,” but it’s the time it takes.
 

Geoff feels frustrated that he is not allowed to drive because he feels he can see well enough to...

Geoff feels frustrated that he is not allowed to drive because he feels he can see well enough to...

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About my vision? Well I, I was going up to the optician and up at the hospital and they were , they were doing the visual field test and realised that I had this problem and said it probably won’t get any better. But now normal, you know, normal living I don’t seem to have any problem with my eyesight. And this is why it gets me so upset really.
 
And so at that, at what point did you surrender your driving licence? And did somebody tell you, you had to do that? What happened? How did it come about?
 
Well, obviously I couldn’t drive after I’d had the stroke and I was asking the doctor when I could drive and he said, “Well it’s all, it all depends on your, on your eyesight.” He said, “So, they’ll be, you know, they’ll be doing the, the eyesight tests and you’ll have to wait for the results of those.”
 
So I didn’t drive again. I mean, we have the car in the garage and I was driving it in and out of the garage to, to keep it mobile and that was fine. I mean, I, I always reversed into the garage so I was driving it out, warm, keeping the engine warm, then reversing it back in. And I mean, there was only, there’s only inches on one side and a foot on the other and I could do that but, but that annoyed me more than anything. I was driving the car [laughs] in and out the garage yet I couldn’t go on the road with it.

 

 

Geoff’s wife helps him remember what medication he takes and she noticed when he seemed to be...

Geoff’s wife helps him remember what medication he takes and she noticed when he seemed to be...

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So you’re on warfarin which thins the blood, doesn’t it? Are you on any other medication?
 
Enid' Oh yes.
 
Geoff' Yes.
 
For the T, for the TIA I mean?
 
Geoff' Yes..
 
Did you just, did you get given aspirin?
 
Geoff' Well I was on aspirin but because I’m now on warfarin, I mean, I mean, they say you don’t need aspirin if you’re on warfarin.
 
And did they change it for a particular reason?
 
Enid' Just a moment. They kept you on, they said when we went about the warfarin that if he were on a small dosage of aspirin it would be all right to stay on it.
 
And then she told us that as a group, did this lady. And then she wasn’t a nurse, and then she took us in individual, she took us in individually and I asked, “Well, my husband forgets things so is it all right if I come in with him?” So she said, “Yes.” So I went in. So I said, “Now let’s get to the bottom of this aspirin.” I said, “He’s on a 75mg.” “Oh, that’ll be fine, that’ll be fine.” So he went on the warfarin. So when they said he was losing blood in his tummy they thought it was the aspirin and the warfarin that were causing it between them and the doctor rang me, when he’d had your blood test and he said, “Take him off the aspirin straight away.”
 
Right. So it was, it was having an affect on …
 
Enid' An affect on that, yeah.
 
... his health. Right.
 
Enid' OK..
 
So, you’re now on warfarin. Any other medication for the TIA side of things? Any cholesterol …
 
Enid' Yes, cholesterol …
 
Statins, is it?
 
Enid' You’re on blood pressure tablets, aren’t you? Two blood pressure tablets …
 
Geoff' Yeah,
 
Enid' And a heart tablet. Right. Well you take a tablet for your stomach. Nothing else for your, concerning your TIA.
 
And so how does, how does that make you feel? Have you, have you got any other side effects from the medications that you’ve had to take or do you generally tolerate them reasonably well?
 
Geoff' I seem to tolerate all the medication.
 
Enid' Well, the other week, a few weeks ago you said you were going dizzy when you bent down. And it was me that spotted it because I, and I said, “Are you dizzy?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “Right, the doctor’s.” So the doctor looked at his prescriptions and he said, “Well, I will take you off this straight away and put you on another one.” And he said, “I’ve been on that since I had my heart by-pass.” He said, “Yes, you probably have.” He said, “Because then in 2001 that was the gold star.” He said, “Now what I’m going to put you on now is the gold star.”
 
Ah, so they’ve updated it?
 
Enid' So they’ve altered that, yes.

 

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