Confronting Mortality

So, it’s been a funny old week. I have just come home from a trip to the hospital to see a Neurologist after being referred quite alarmingly last week by my GP. I went to see him after my multiple trips to the opticians (see previous post Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue) due to my dizziness and the weird lights and floaters in my eyes. A temporary black-out in my left eye a few weeks ago was also starting to concern me and I went off to my GP appointment last Friday convinced he would look at me like I was a paranoid time-waster. He didn’t. After asking me to wait in the waiting room (appropriately) whilst he contacted a few people, he called me back in to tell me the Ophthalmologist didn’t think it was anything to do with my eyes, “Oh good,” I said, laughing.

“The Consultant Neurologist would like to see you though as there is a very small chance you have had a T.I.A,” he said. Not laughing. Not even smiling.

So, after not getting it for a few minutes and wondering why I was being asked to join the Territorial Army he explained that basically there was a small chance I’d had a mini-stroke and so someone from the hospital would contact me to arrange an appointment. He started to check he’d got my telephone number logged right in his fancy computer system. “I’ll be at work,” I told him. “They can contact me on my work number.” He looked at me then like I was mad and told me that I should wait at home as they would want to see me within the next 24 hours and I should not drive my car.

Bloody hell. My own mortality had nonchalantly wandered in to the GP’s consulting room and taken a seat right next to me. It had appeared, huge, imposing and uninvited out of nowhere. F**k!


Hubby came home from work to be with me (I think he thought it might be my last hours on this earth) and I did eventually get a call to advise me that I would be seen on Monday. “Monday?” I almost shrieked. “I was told you would want to see me within 24 hours?”

“We don’t have another clinic until Monday and we have reviewed your GP’s letter and we are not overly concerned.”

I felt like telling them that my GP must have bad grammar, or perhaps he’d not realised I had three small children and therefore should be a priority, or maybe they’d misinterpreted his words completely. But, instead I said nothing and spent the rest of the weekend pottering about, aware of the presence of ugly, dark, depressing Mortality hovering nearby, casting shadows over everything I touched. I even slept lots and I never sleep in the day – I just can’t do it. Not normally.

Hubby spent most of the weekend telling people I’d had a stroke and I have had lovely messages from friends and family, worried sick about me. He is so bloody dramatic! Yes, inside I was scared and a bit frightened that something bad was happening but I was managing to keep a lid on my fear and not let it or the ever-present shadow of Mortality invade my space too much. Hubby however, well….he seemed to enjoy the drama to be honest and  had to keep telling him to stop it. To stop making out that I was knocking on death’s door! I could see Mortality hovering nearby like a weird, uninvited, antisocial party guest, but I wasn’t ever going to admit it to him, or anyone else.

So, long story short…..they cancelled my appointment on Monday. They had an emergency apparently (though the consultant blamed a clinic rota problem when I did see him!) and would see me today instead, Thursday.

And…..I’m fine apparently. There is little or no chance it is a mini-stroke. The symptoms don’t really match and the fact I am getting floaters and flashes in both eyes is not typical of a TIA. He did lots of neurological tests on me; made me stand up, feet together, eyes closed and asked me to touch the tip of my nose a few times; made me walk in a straight line..things like that. He checked my eyes for signs of retinal detachment or a mass pressing against the back of my eye but couldn’t see anything and I have come away, calmed and reassured that I am not dying, but a bit confused as to what is wrong with me. He did mention that the headaches I am getting (all the time) may be just tension headaches which makes me think perhaps it is all tension and stress-related. Perhaps this is my body’s way of coping with the constant pressure of 3 small children, a business and a poorly mum. Maybe it has just been a really shit 12 months and this is the result  of pushing all my worries to one side most of the time and cracking on with life. I don’t know and he didn’t either. Instead, he has referred me to the Ophthalmologist to give me some piece of mind and to check that there is nothing sinister going wrong with my eyes and I have booked myself in for a neck, shoulder and back massage! It might help with my weird symptoms, but even if it doesn’t, it’ll be a bit of a treat.

Oh, and for the moment, Mr Mortality has faded away. I didn’t notice when he left – he certainly snuck into that consulting room with me today, dark and ominous, his presence constricting my lungs slightly, making my heart beat a little faster than normal – but he wasn’t there by my side when I walked out again. Ha! Victory this time you fiend!

Now…time to get some work done, put a load of washing in, organise a food shop so that we can all eat tonight, take the duvet that Martha was sick over to the launderette, plan my next dementia project (it is ambitious and will involve podcasts!), tidy the office, sort out my flights to Italy (Yeah Baby!) and remember to have lunch. Oh, and check in on The Crazy and Dad, make sure he is coping and there are no emergencies I need to fret about.

Headache? What headache!?

Me and girls
Sticking out our tongues at Mr Mortality!



3 thoughts on “Confronting Mortality

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  1. Sarah, how scary this past weekend and week must have been for you! I’m glad you’re okay, and I love the picture of you and the kids sticking your tongues out at mortality!!! You are a strong person! I can only imagine that we’re much in the same when it comes to thinking that WE too must have dementia as soon as we forget the simplest thing. I would never want to scare you, but have you thought about the genetic testing for yourself, if available in your area? (Mentioned in my Previous Post – Would You Want to Know What Your Future Holds –
    The flashing white lights just worried me a bit when I read your post. I recently read a book called “The Theft of Memory” by Jonathan Kozol who mentioned that he saw flashing white lights (and he had Alzheimer’s). Research also shows that this can be signs of a stroke, dementia, or some sort of neurological issue. I hope it all just goes away for you and that you don’t have any further issues. My prayers are with you and your family. ♥♥♥♥♥


  2. Hi Dawn, thanks for your message. I have heard there is a genetic test you can do and Hubby has joked that I should get it done (so he can leave me and find himself a younger model apparently!) but I don’t think I’d want to know. I think it would scare the life out of me and I wouldn’t live a full life, instead I’d be waiting for the first signs, terrified of their first appearance. I hadn’t thought my weird eyes and floaters could be linked to dementia, I bloody hope it’s not! I had a back and shoulder massage last night and I have a huge amount of tension and stress in my shoulders, so am hoping it might be something linked to that. Am going to see another optician as well, to check there’s nothing behind my eyes and am going to try reflexology too. The neurologist has ruled out a mini-stroke, thank God!
    All the best to you and your family. And keep smiling xxx


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