These are the words of a single mother in the Black Country who received pioneering treatment after suffering a stroke while sleeping.
Fiona Grant, from Wolverhampton, was unable to speak or move her left side – and was found by her son, who raised the alarm.
The 38-year-old man, whose situation was presented in an episode of 999: Critical Condition, said: “I remember waking up and my arm was dead and my left side was not moving. I thought someone was in the bed next to me and then I realized it was my own hand. I couldn’t speak and when I tried to scream, all I got was a little noise.
“Finally, my son came in and saw me and realized that I couldn’t speak. He put a pen in my hand that I could move and I managed to write ‘I’m having a stroke’.
“He tried to help me out of bed and I look back and I think he was so stupid because I’m not sure we knew what would happen next. But he called my closest relatives and 999 asking for an ambulance.”
Medical assistance was transferred to New Cross Hospital before it was transferred to Royal Stoke University Hospital for advanced treatment.
The mother of two, who went through the pioneering stroke mechanical stroke service, said, “In the ambulance, I remember hearing that I had a limited time to get to Stoke and that the doctor was waiting for me and started explaining the procedure and the next thing I remember is waking up in the recovery room.
“The service I received at Stoke was fantastic. I can’t find words to explain how I feel about the doctors and nurses who gave me the normal life I have today.
“My thanks go to the entire unit for returning my life to me and I wish that anyone else in the same position as me would have the opportunity to receive the same treatment at the time that I need it. I am very grateful to be alive.”
The hospital is one of only two in the country that can provide the service 24 hours after a stroke has occurred.
Dr Sanjeev Nayak, an interventional neuroradiologist who treated Fiona, said: “It is very rare for someone to have a stroke, but juvenile strokes are a reality. The stroke is not only a disease of the elderly, but it also affects young people and can result in a life-changing disability if left untreated and, in the worst case, the patient will die.
“Strokes in young people can be much more devastating and that is why it is essential that people recognize the symptoms so that we can provide prompt treatment whenever possible.”
Fiona’s story was filmed as part of the 999: Critical Condition Services at University Hospitals of North Midlands available on demand on My5.
The three most common signs of a stroke include facial and arm weakness and speech problems. But people should be careful of numbness on one side of the body, sudden blurred vision, memory loss, confusion and a sudden, severe headache.