Dodging a Bullet

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September 1st 2014
Published: September 1st 2014
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I think I was eating a sandwich Caroline had brought me in.!!
Firstly I am going to apologise to you for this blog as it would be fair to say that it has absolutely nothing to do with travel and as this is a travel blog, I would accept it if you grumbled.


Kangaroojack has blogged our adventures for over six years now, telling the story of our new life in Australia so though not a travel related story, this is considered still part of our amazing adventure, and we have always been able to pride ourselves on telling you just how it happened, without any bells and whistles, without exaggeration or ridicule.

Equally with regards to the related subject of this blog, I can assure you that I have not taken this lightly or even flippantly, as I’m sure you may have a friend, relative or loved one who has experienced some kind of major trauma, this is just how I am dealing with what happened.

Someone wrote to us recently and said that they thought we had moved to Australia for an easier life. imagine this, we came to Australia with only a suitcase each and money
Chow TimeChow TimeChow Time

Caroline thought this was hilarious, eating my lunch as I was fasting, before a scan
in a bank account, 10,000 miles away from a place we previously called home and not knowing one single person in this country, we had to start from the ground up, how can this be considered easy, admittedly meeting the amazing people that we have along the way, made our transition in to Australia easy, letting us experience the Australian way, it has been life changing and the easy life is around how we live our life, the work life balance and time for us.

Unfortunately for me, an easy life was not going to prevent what happened next, this is a roll of life’s dice and would not matter where and how we lived.

Do we have we any regrets? No way! It has it made us stronger, definitely! Would we do it again? Oh in a heartbeat! We are a team, Caroline and I, a team who have an unbreakable bond.

It is a good point, before I write too much to say some thanks, to my amazing wife Caroline, who basically saved my life, to Andy and Karen Bayley, Glenn and Natalie Bird, Leigh and Peter Walker, everyone
Flattering PhotoFlattering PhotoFlattering Photo

Looking my best
at work, the Toyota Landcruiser of WA and everyone who has sent us messages from all around the world.

If you are lucky enough to know Caroline, she is not the type of person who feels she needs to trumpet her abilities from the roof tops; she just goes around in her own sweet way, quietly, with professionalism, compassion and empathy.

Sunday 24th August.

We had visitors, up from Tarcutta in New South Wales, only about 4,000 kilometres away, it was Jo and Andrew Wemyss, friends who we last saw just after our Wedding Anniversary last year when we were camping at Palm Valley near Alice Springs that can be seen in our blog (Into the Valley) dated 21 August 2013 where we shared our anniversary celebrations, the pictures is of Jo and Caroline holding a posy of wild flowers picked by Andrew.

We were delighted that Andrew and Jo made such an effort to drop by and see us, and delighted to have dinner with them and put them up as long as they wanted to stay.

Andrew and Jo and their boys have
View from my bedView from my bedView from my bed

Not a stunning photo, but hey!!how many times do you get dragged of to hospital and you have your camera with you!!
an earth moving business in New South Wales, and Jo is busy with rearing her calves, time away from the farm has to be timed, so when Jo and Andrew venture off to the wilds of outback Australia their boys and respective partners look after their business interests.

We got a satellite call around a few days earlier from Andrew and Jo saying they were in Laverton, Western Australia after driving the Anne Beadell track from Coober Pedy and they were heading our way, we were overjoyed as it had been nearly a year to the day since we had seen them. When we celebrated our Anniversary earlier in the week, we spoke about them and wondered where they were and hoped they were having a great anniversary somewhere together.

We had temporarily moved out of our 5 month house sit in Mandurah as the owners had come back for two weeks before they set off for their final three week trip to Singapore so it was refreshing for us to have a break and stayed our first week at Andy and Karen’s house then our 2nd week we had an apartment in the city.

Our second week in the city was a bit mad really, we arrived on the Saturday afternoon and decided we couldn’t be bothered to go and do grocery shopping, and as there was a place that Caroline wanted to try, we decided we would eat out on Saturday night to make it easy on ourselves.

Then we met our friend Phil for Breakfast on Sunday morning, ate out Sunday evening, then it was our wedding anniversary on Monday 18th and went out to Chutney Mary’s in Subiaco, ate out again on Tueday19th, dinner in the flat on Wednesday and Thursday then went out again with Phil, Glen and Natalie on the Friday night in Perth and whilst eating I got a cramp in my left leg just below my buttock, which seemed really unusual.

I stood up, sat down walked around, this cramp was really painful but after about ten minutes of standing it did subside, this was possibly as sign that I was due to have a stroke as they think I had a clot that was moving.

We had a great evening and all went our separate ways then on the Saturday went back to our long term house sit for the final three week stint.

Saturday night (our first night back) we had Peter, Leigh, Andy and Karen over for dinner, we ate a beautiful joint of pork and an extra slab of crackling with a fun packed evening, man that pork was awesome and the crackling was to die for (There’s a joke in there somewhere).

Sunday was a normal day, I was working on the truck doing some routine stuff and in the afternoon we went down to the foreshore for a walk and a coffee.

During the afternoon Andrew and Jo called us and said they had made it to Northam so were only a couple of hours away so we set about getting tidy and preparing for another fun packed evening.

Around 5.30 our guests arrived they had a full day of driving and looking tired and weary they came in set their stuff down, we broke out the beers and wine and chatted.

Dinner was served and we continued to chat, reminiscing over past events back on the farm and all things Caterpillar, which is close to Andrews heart and around 10.00 we decided to hit the sack as we had to be ready for work in the morning.

It was around 2.50 am when I got up to use the toilet, and as I turned the light on I could hear the fan in my left ear, amplified about 20 times what it should have been then all of a sudden I was struggling to keep my balance as the whole room was moving in a peculiar way.

I staggered back to the bedroom, clinging on to anything that would support me, Caroline had woken and asked me if everything was OK, and I said that I felt dizzy.

As soon as Caroline assisted me on to the bed she asked me to poke my tongue out, smile asking me to talk to her and instantly said, “I am not happy with this, I am calling an ambulance.”

I heard Caroline very calmly knock on the spare bedroom door to wake Andrew and Jo and asked Andrew if he would sit with me whilst Caroline sorted the ambulance, put the porch lights on, unlock and open the front door for the paramedics and then calmly get dressed.

Within about 6 minutes the paramedics were asking me questions which I tried my best to answer, but my words were just coming out slurred and unintelligible. I don’t remember this, I don’t remember how I got to the ambulance but Caroline left Andrew and Jo in charge of the house and was placed in the passenger seat of the ambulance and off we went.

The nearest Hospital was only about 1 kilometre away but the paramedic working on me advised the driver that they would not have the stroke drugs that I needed and that we needed to go to Freemantle Hospital which was about an hours drive.

The clock was ticking as there is a 3 hour window to get a stroke patient the assistance they need, so lying in the back of the vehicle the journey was fast and smooth, arriving in Fremantle just about 4.00am.

They wheeled me in to emergency, and the cannula they had inserted in my right hand may have come in useful but honestly I have no recollection what happened, what was said or what they did until possibly 9.00am, when I was aware that Caroline was sitting next to me holding my hand.

I had asked either a nurse 3 times or 3 nurses individually that I felt I was going to be sick and needed something, when I finally chucked, they came around with a tablet, my “sense of humour chip” had been switched off and I must have made suggestions to a nurse that they took long enough and the tablet they said to pop under my tongue was a bit late.

A neurologist came in and Introduced himself to Caroline and said that they suspect that I had had either a bleed or a blockage in the cerebellum and they needed to do further tests and as soon as they had a bed for me I would be whisked away.

Poor Caroline was shattered I had drifted in and out of consciousness since the event but Caroline had been on adrenalin since 3.00am, my mate had turned up with his wife and took Caroline for a coffee and a croissant, which I was pleased about to give her a distraction and some sustenance.

I finally went up to the ward at about 5.30pm and whilst laying on my wheelie bed, I heard the guy (Ted) enter a room and say to the occupant, Marjorie, I have a nice young man who is going share your room, and she said, “Sh*t, I don’t want a man in my room.”

Ted said “Marjorie he a lovely young chap” (even though he didn’t know me) and she said “I don’t care I don’t want a man in my room.”

Personally I couldn’t really care less, all I wanted to do was get settled and be left alone, so when I was finally pushed in, much to Marjorie’s disgust and chuntering, I just rolled over and took no notice, she eventually warmed to my sparkling personality, and seemed to accept the inevitable.

After a CT scan, MRI, Angiograms, blood tests, Echo cardiograms and enough holes in me I looked like a colander, it was confirmed that I had indeed suffered a right cerebellar infarct without haemorrhagic complication, what does this mean? Well simple really I am off work for two weeks minimum; I have had to advise WA Department of transport and will not be allowed to drive for 28 days, from the day of the event.

The cause, well that’s simple really, it was the roll of life’s dice and I do thank my lucky stars to have survived, and dodged a bullet. I don’t know how I got off so lightly, I look around the ward and wonder why I was not so badly affected as others.

My speech is slightly slurred, but that’s the only effect it has had on me except I am exceptionally tired.


1st September 2014

So pleased you're still smiling...
Just wanted to say we're SO pleased you're ok Andy and reading this blog we cannot begin to understand Caroline's calmness in the face of it all, but agree she is an amazing lady, you're one lucky man and you have an un-breakable and very special bond that has only been built on more since you decided to desert us all in the UK to go on this epic adventure! It's great to hear your humour about it all and have no doubt it's your best way of handling it so long may that continue as it's integral to 'our Andy'!! Take care, rest up and here's to a speedy recovery so you can get blogging about road trips and exciting adventures outback again! Lots of love xxx
2nd September 2014

That's the Andy we all know and love .....
Andy - you scared hell out of us the other night when you phoned to tell us what had happened. We just couldn't take it in for awhile but, thank heavens you are all right. Caroline - felt much better after talking to you the following night when you were able to fill in some of the blanks about Andy's condition that our stunned reaction of the night before had prevented me from asking. As with everything you do and face in life, you do it with a calm determination and positive outlook and this will be no different. Your happy disposition, enthusiasm, zest for life and living was one of the first things we noticed about the two of you when we first met in the Warrumbungles years ago. Not making light of what has occurred, sometimes a sense of humour is also what gets you through the tough times and, you have bucket-loads of that. :) Anyway, mate, just get better - we aren't ready for you to pop your clogs just yet. Too many more adventures to be had. All of our love and best wishes for a speedy recovery. J, T & Co. xxx
2nd September 2014

Dodging the bullet
Hey guys, take care so that we can see more of your adventures in the future. Getting ill like this is scary as we found when Rob suffered a cardiac event at mid night at Lake Towerrenning WA. So glad that WA medics all took such great care of us both including one Ambo driving our motorhome to the hospital to save Marg the stress. We are thinking of you both and wish a speedy recovery to you. Cheers, Marg and Rob
2nd September 2014

Lucky dodging!
What a scare that must have been for the both of you! So glad you got through it ok, and that you've got such great support. Take care! xx
2nd September 2014

Bugger! Bugger! Bugger! but hope it all works out. Stay in touch whatever the outcome.
2nd September 2014

Stay well!
What a time....glad to hear that you are on the road to recovery. I hope I am reading more about your travel tales again soon and you are both being well supported.
2nd September 2014

Fortune favours the brave
A saying that seems to apply to you Andy. May your strength continue to return to full throttle. How lucky are you you were in Mandurah and not on the open road...and your wife knew how to take charge and get help for you quickly. Yep...fortune favours the brave...and when it is a strong couple...even more so.
2nd September 2014

Your near miss
Hi Andy and Caroline, so sorry to hear of Andy's recent problems. It seems he was very lucky to come out of so well, quite obviously due to some rapid response from Caroline! Time to take stock and heed the warning young man, life is not that keen to hand out "get out of jail" cards. On your last visit I did think the waistline was showing signs of the good life which I am sure I mentioned in my usual unsubtle way!! Maybe time for some regular walking. Any way, so pleased to hear it is going well. Don't push your luck. Love from us both Ed & Ange
2nd September 2014

Dodging a Bullet
Andy and Caroline, what a dreadful experience for you both! But, Andy, your positive attitude should go a long way to your full recovery. Caroline, you seem to have handled this crisis so well! My best wishes to you for a full and fast recovery. Please keep us all updated on your progress. Anne
3rd September 2014

Wishing you Well
Andy, so glad you are on the road to recovery. Do take care and let nurse Caroline take care of you (but don't take advantage!!). Please keep us informed, if you don't mind. Even though we have never met, I feel I know you (at least a bit).
4th September 2014

Those Dodgey Bullets
Keep the "pecker up" and watch out for the boomerangs. All the best to you both and keep smiling. Keith and Jan
12th September 2014

Hi Jan and Keith, hope you are both well. Thanks for your kind regards, I am defiantly on the mend know, speak soon. Our best regards Andy
6th September 2014

hello Andy, just got back from hols. shocked to read what happened but very relieved to hear that you are ok. you were very lucky to have Caroline there to calmly deal with the situation. i hope you have both managed to rest easy since and look forward to hearing about your adventures when yoy have fully recovered. take it easy. Steve
12th September 2014

Hi Steve, there is nothing like being scared in to something and I have to say it was terrifying. Thanks for your well wishes. Hope all is going well with you . My best regards Andy
10th September 2014

Well ducked!
Good work Caroline! Well ducked Andy! Really glad to hear you are on the mend. Can't wait to see you in the flesh ... although didn't expect to see that much flesh in blog photos lol!! :-) Hope you're continuing to feel much better. Love and stuff from all of us xxx
12th September 2014

Ninja Training
Hi Guys, my Ninja training came in to play, it was like second nature, the only thing is I am suing up my 9 lives, I think I have got 3 or 4 left. Tell us more about seeing us in the flesh, are you coming to Australia if so when, All the details please. Andy

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