We have always been a close-knit family; working and holidaying together. We have always held family meetings, a time to discuss what’s happening in our personal lives and in business. Family comes first, however our kids now have their own families and priorities are now different and so prior to Stewarts stroke we had started to forge new paths. He has been wanting to step back from scaffolding for over 5 years now, however a combination of dramas, both personal & global meant that the timing hasn’t been right. This summer we had the realisation that there would never be a right time and so had put a plan in place for him to step back at the end of 2024.
Stewarts health crisis though put a whole new focus on what these paths would look like. The meeting Stewart called was hard, he really thought in a couple of weeks he would be back to work. AS we started discussing what had just happened, he started to outline how he thought we would continue as before and talked about the future, we listened and then realised, he had no comprehension of what had happened and what faced us. A very emotional and loud discussion started to take place, explaining to him that the one big thing that had changed was him. My energies had to lie with helping to nurse him back to health and we couldn’t shoulder all the work pressures. We went over the same thing again and again as he couldn’t understand what we were saying. Tara got so emotional that she had to leave, when you love and respect someone so much and they are not realising the implications of a situation, it is so hard to imagine walking through hell again. Jon, being the calm, understanding person he is, firmly enforced the decisions we had made and then left us so that the news could sink in. It was heart breaking. We were having to take control because of his current mental capacity.
The following morning started off slightly sombre as the news sunk in, but we moved his focus to the charity BBQ that he had arranged several months before in aid of AFB (Armed Force Bikers). Friends had offered to continue with his plans, and he was so looking forward to going. We agreed in advance that he would stay for 2 hrs and that he needed to sit down for the duration. In proper Stewart style, he totally ignored our agreement and immersed himself in chatting with everyone. He has always loved helping others and for 7 years funded the majority of Little Box of Love, never wanting anyone to know that it was him supporting me.
Three hours later we returned home, looking pale he sat down and mentioned that he thought he had pulled a muscle as he had a pain in his side. He was worn out and sat watching rugby taking it easy, the cough still annoying him from his pneumonia.
At 2o’clock in the morning I was woken with him struggling to move with the pain in his side. I got him painkillers and we tried to settle but something was nagging me, and I decided to call 111. They said he needed to be seen quickly and said they would ring me back with a walk-in appointment, not wanting to miss the call I got up as the painkillers started to work and he drifted back off into a very unsettled sleep. I didn’t get a call until 7.30 am and was told that the GP would be ringing. They rang at 8am and we were at the surgery at 9am. They acted swiftly and a scan was arranged with the paramedic at the surgery advising us to pack a bag. The scan showed that he had a clot on his lung. His filter was working but a clot had managed to pass through and so arrangements were made to admit him. We sat there waiting for the Dr to give us a plan and Stewart drifted off to sleep.
The hospital has been wonderful in this whole journey, we have had an amazing experience, I say ‘we’ because they have supported me throughout this to. However, that was all about to change. Arrogantly walking in, the consultant abruptly woke Stewart and introduced himself and swiftly said:
“well, you are a very complex case, we have two options, the quick one or the slow one. If we go slow there is a possibility you may lose an eye, but its only an eye, you can survive. Your heart might stop beating buy we could thump that and potentially get it going again but if we go the fast route your brain may start bleeding and then you could be dead, so I need to decide what option to take and hope you don’t die in the meantime” and with that he left.
Now, that was not a good bedside manner regardless, but Stewart had just had a stroke and is slow in his understanding, he doesn’t have the mental capacity to think rationally, and we were just told that he was likely to die. We were both left in shock.
He laid there replaying what the Dr had said and I sat there thinking, is he going to be here tomorrow. We were gobsmacked and this was feeling a lot scarier than before. I drove home in a daze.
Once I got home, Stewart messaged to say they were going with the slower option and we were both left with the knowledge that he may go into cardiac arrest. The injections were started. During the night he was moved to another ward and put on an air mattress. The mattress failed and he was left stuck for 30 minutes as he has lost his upper body strength, they weren’t interested and he was left in agony as his muscles cramped. He called me in the morning distressed as he had not been given his anti-convulsion meds or pain relief. For him to call me I knew he was struggling and quickly rang the ward myself and told them he had been forgotten. I honestly think because he looks ok and is a big guy they think he can manage himself but that is not currently the case. No one had spoken to him, and he was still wondering if he was going to die.
I arrived at the hospital at lunchtime having looked up the visiting times to be told that I couldn’t enter, so I sat reading my book and messaged Stewart. He once again was in pain and had asked for pain relief and was being ignored. The atmosphere on the unit was horrible and the staff miserable. I once again asked for an update and the staff nurse came to see me and said that he would be able to go home but we needed to wait, and she didn’t know how long. My response “if its anything like the pain relief, will be all day”. She immediately got them.
It was another 4 hrs before we were able to leave which was a huge relief. He still had pain but his cough had subsided and he had colour although again, no one had filled us in as to what had happened or what to look out for, we both very much felt that we had been turfed out with no information.
Whilst all this has been going on, I have continued to look for a premises that I can take on that will suit all our needs and I am so excited to announce that the Universe has delivered the perfect solution, more of that next week. Eeeeeekkkkkkkk!!!!!!
Sorting out Salvage had been a huge challenge. The sheer quantity of stuff to clear and sort through has been daunting and we can’t thank my sister, Ann & her son Austin enough for their hard work and dedication in helping us tackle this. Jon & Taras work ethic has been phenomenal, they are certainly a chip off the old block. Our overheads remain the same yet our income has been slashed causing me many a sleepless night. A chest infection has slowed me down alongside the numerous phone calls and appointments, but we are getting there.
In times like this you quickly see who your friends and allies are with some people taking advantage of our situation causing us more work by not paying their accounts. The 80/20 rule. as I have said before definitely comes into play. This is when you remove the friendship side of things and reinforce your boundaries. We didn’t ask for this, our lives have literally been turned upside down.
Just as we think we are starting to ‘stabilise’ we are hit by 3 more bombshells, none of which I can talk about yet but suffice to say, my stress factors have gone through the roof!
Next Week - Ask And The Universe Will Deliver