Thank God it's Friday

29th September 2000 at 01:00
Saturday I get up at 6am for my daily two-mile run. Feel good. My mind goes over the training day presentation I'm going to deliver on Monday. I finish the run with a sprint, but pull up suddenly with an intense, blinding and excruciating headache. I stagger home and throw up.

Sunday I'm still throwing up and the pain in my head makes me scared to move. I'm taken to hospital where I'm examined by Jag, a doctor whose age I estimate would place him in Year 12. Jag calls for a second opinion. Nicola is very efficient, as you'd expect from someone who looks nearly old enough to vote. I have a blood test and am sent for a brain scan. The result is negative, but I'm kept in overnight for observation.

Monday Training day. I'm given a lumbar puncture. Result: positive. I have definitely had a head bleed. The neurologist tells me I'm to have a cerebral angioscan to look for an aneurism. This involves a tube being inserted into the artery in my groin, then pushed to the base of my brain. Dye is sprayed on to the brain nd X-rays taken. It could cause a stroke or death. "Please sign the consent form." I sign.

Tuesday School restarts while I'm cleaned up and my groin is shaved. It really is true. They do stick a narrow tube into my groin and keep pushing and pushing. The procedure lasts an hour. The neurosurgeon tells me I'm lucky. They've not found an aneurism.

Wednesday I am allowed to sit up for the first time in three days and use the toilet instead of a urine bottle. My drip is removed and I sample hospital food for the first time. Quiche made with sun-dried tomatoes; it tastes wonderful.

Thursday I am told that I must have a magnetic resonance angioscan in a few weeks. This will give me the final all clear. In the meantime I can go home.

Friday I assume that someone who has had a non-aneurismal sub-arachnoid haemorrhage will get to choose what to watch on the television. No chance.

The author is the headteacher of a secondary school in Warwickshire. He hopes to return to school after half-term


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