Nick Wildsmith of Yarroweyah was on a southeast Asian cycling tour when he had an unexpected stroke.
Fortunately his partner, Anne-Marie Kerr is a qualified nurse and deputy director of Nursing at Cobram District Health.
‘‘I cycled up through Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia and met Anne Marie in Saigon.
‘‘By that stage I had already cycled a few thousand kilometres, so we rented a motorbike and headed north.
‘‘We got most of the way and were in a town called Hue, staying at a little guesthouse there.
‘‘In the morning I was on the floor doing some stretches and Annie was in the shower.
‘‘Just as I stood up I fell over a chair and Annie came out of the shower and said, ‘What’s happened?’ and she could see staright away that I’d had a stroke.’’
Mr Wildsmith said that at the time he was not really aware of having the stroke.
Fortunately they had aspirin in their first aid kit, which is an anti-coagulant.
‘‘She gave me a couple of aspirin, which massively helped,’’ Mr Wildsmith said.
‘‘And then we got a taxi and got to the hospital.’’
After one week he was transferred to Bangkok Rehabilitation Hospital for another 10 days.
Medical insurance helped with a private jet flight to Bangkok and a first class seat back to Australia.
‘‘Bangkok was exceptional - it was really first class,’’ Mr Wildsmith said.
‘‘I was probably the fittest I have ever been physically and mentally,’’ he said.
‘‘I was in superb condition and it wasn’t caused by hypertension or high blood pressure.
‘‘High blood pressure is one of the biggest causes of stroke.
‘‘I guess that if I’d had blood tests before I went, it might have picked something up.
‘‘So for people over the age of 45 or 50 it’s probably best to set up regular tests.
‘‘It was still a fantastic trip - although with a bit of a weird ending.’’
The story was so interesting, Mr Wildsmith has even written a book about it, called ‘Pedal Stroke - a Bicycle and Stroke Journey’.
The book tells the story of his 6000km ride through SE Asia which terminated in both a haemoragic and an aschemic stroke.
Strokes expected to double in Cobram
Do you have your blood pressure checked regularly? How’s your cholesterol? Any sign of an irregular heartbeat? Does your job see you sitting down for most of the day?
If any of these ring a bell with you then consulting your GP might be a life saver.
With the estimated number of people living with the effects of stroke expected to double by 2050, it is critical that people pay attention to the warning signs and see their GP regularly.
Men are more likely to suffer a stroke than women and one of the reasons is that they are much less likely to see a doctor regularly.
This National Stroke Week the Stroke Foundation wants to ensure someone in every Australian household knows the signs of stroke.
When a stroke happens, almost 1.9million brain cells die each minute, so time is critical.
With the right treatment at the right time, many people are able to make a full recovery.
Paramedics, nurses and doctors can only help if people recognise the signs of stroke, dial 000 and get to hospital quickly.
Time saved equals brain saved.