Did Morse Code save my life? I certainly believe it saved my mind if nothing else. Read the following tale and see if you agree….
“At 23:52 on 24/11/2013 I awoke feeling cold down my left side. I thought that I should rise from bed and visit the bathroom perhaps but discovered I was unable to move – I was having a stroke! Of course, I didn’t realise this at the time – after all it’s not something one does on a regular basis so I couldn’t call it up from previous experience. I shouted my wife awake and said I was unable to move and could she help me to the bathroom. So in a bumping, shuffling sort of way we did that. She asked if she should call the ambulance but, I said no, I am still conscious and they are for sick people. Next day was I was not good so we visited the GP – 45 minutes to walk/shuffle what should be a 5 minute trip. that was it – he called an ambulance to take me to the stroke unit at Lincoln Hospital.
So there I was, dumped in a side room in A&E waiting for a consultant to come and see me. My mind felt “fogged” and I was having to squint to see properly. I looked through the open gap in the doors ahead of me – remembering I am laid out on a trolley – and could see a desk in front of me. There were notices on the desk with instructions for the staff so I steadily began the process of translating them into Morse Code. Now I have to admit, I had let the code slip a bit and had just been using either phone or modern digital modes for my amateur radio transmissions for some years – so I had to really think over some of the less commonly used letters. However, it was keeping my brain active and after all, following a stroke, this is one area that needs the most work.
I was whisked off for a CAT scan and yes, a stroke was confirmed – blood clots on the brain (2) so I was lucky to survive. They sent me up to the Stroke unit where I made a rapid recovery and was back to almost full physical ability by the Wednesday (27/11/13) and released on that evening to return home. The ward staff were surprised to see such a rapid recovery and I can only put it down to the fact that I kept my mind active at the time with the Morse code. I am now much more active on the CW portion of the bands and have been making a few contacts of late. I can’t say it saved my life but I can certainly say it saved my mind. I am still lacking some movement in my left arm and I have a tendency to stammer but at least I can still operate my amateur radio station and converse with Morse Code.