Digesta Plaga #7

Longsufferinggirlfriendoftheblogbeth mentioned the other day that it’s been over a year since we’ve had a Digesta Plaga/Stroke Digest. And with uncanny timing, here’s the latest round-up of all the stroke news that’s fit to print. Get to the end, and we’ve got strokebots!

“Alda news that’s fit to print” (with apologies to Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland).

[For an extra portion of apoplexy each week, please sign up for my Tiny Letter distributions here. Thanks!]

1.  F.A.S.T.

Only a month after #WorldStrokeDay, #stroke was all over BBC radio again last week.

Devastating was right. A woman called in the 5 Live Daily to relate the story of her teenage daughter’s stroke. As she told it, the EMTs got it into their heads that the young woman had been drinking, and stuck to this diagnosis in a way that suggested they were perseverating. I assume the patient was slurring her words.

Four signs a stroke patient is drunk. Particularly #3.

Seems a strange thing to get all uptight about. In NY, the admitting process is all about whether you’ve been doing c’caine. But only because that’s important for diagnosis. Fortunately,  the caller worked in an old folks’ home and was able to navigate through the in-take process until she found someone she could convince of the nature of her daughter’s injury. So, knowing the F.A.S.T. signs of stroke is always important for being able to advocate for the patient.

2. Cool For Cats

Ever since the early days of apoplectic.me, Phonefinderoftheblogbeth’s suggestion that I write a post about feline stroke has been bubbling away in the background. And today’s the day!

Can you raise your right arm, Benny?

After P.M. the other day, My Teenage Diary came on Radio 4. I kept listening, because this week’s guest reading extracts from his teenage diary was Chris Difford, singer-songwriter and founder member of Squeeze. Chris pleasantly filled half-an-hour in conversation with Rufus Hound.

Here’s the entry as Squeeze (née The Kids) are about to play for their new managers for the first time. It’s momentous stuff.

March 12th, 1979: Urgh. Feel really ill, like death warmed up. I bought the double Beatles album, went to bed. Kept collapsing on the floor. Made it over to number 4, but Glenn pissed me off. Effing cat had a stroke….

Around the same time, Jools Holland drove Chris back to London from a weekend at Glenn Tilbrook’s girlfriend’s parents’ place. They were pulled over by the fuzz, because Jools was 16. And had no driving licence. And no insurance. And no M.O.T. And hadn’t paid any road tax, because he was 16, and had no driving licence or M.O.T.

Squeeze on tour, 1979.

Having performed a similar trick in Thailand, being deep in the nascent stages of Nerd Bait’s emergence as a beautiful butterfly, and being a fan of therapy and teenage poetry, I found this whole show deeply charming. And they finish at 24m10s with a version of Cool For Cats in which Chris’s cat’s passed in the aftermath of Jools’ bike backfiring outside the flat.

Lovely.

3. N.H.S.

Strokes also came up on the radio this week in the context of NHS England reviews that have suggested that accident and emergency departments should be shut down in many hospitals and consolidated into super emergency centres. 5 Live’s reporter indicated that part of the reason for this change was that it would benefit patients suffering heart attacks and strokes.

Credit: www.chrismadden.co.uk

Given that in the case of strokes, “lost time could mean lost brain,” this justification astounded me. We live not far from Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital, that A&E of which has been downgraded in recent years to a minor injury clinic. For someone suffering a haemorrhagic stroke like mine, the distance between the WGH and the Royal Infirmary on the South Side of the city could be the difference between a good and bad outcome.

4. Ooh La La

Returning to music for a second. Last week, Ian McLagan died of a stroke at 69, and he goes straight into apoplectic.me’s occasional series, Great British Strokes. It would be lovely if he was a surviving inductee, but strokes suck. Ian McLagan’s a massive part of British rock’n’roll history. He was the keyboard player for The Small Faces and The Faces, and played on Rod Stewart’s awesome Every Picture Tells a Story album. This means he’s the guy on Lazy Sunday, Ooh La La, and Rod the Mod’s version of (I Know) I’m Losing You. C’mon, man. As Art Brut might say, “Once is enough!

In later years, he was in Billy Bragg’s band, and I was lucky enough to see him a couple of times injecting incredible muscle into the songs of a Big-Nosed Busker from Barking. R.I.P.

5. Strokebot (h/t to Beth, again!)

The issues in stories 1 and 3 above could be addressed by a Strokebot. In fact, it’s hard to think of any problems that couldn’t be helped by a strokebot.

It’s actually an elevator. Listen to Robyn’s Fembot, instead.

The “stroke robot” in this article from azfamily.com describes how “[e]very year, a stroke will send 800,000 Americans to the hospital. And with every minute that passes, more brain function is lost.”

There are only 1,500 stroke experts in the country, so the system described in the article uses a tele-robot to allow an expert to diagnose stroke remotely. It’s neat stuff, but while we wait for one in every bedroom, keep reading apoplectic.me, and we can all become strokebots.

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