As I was saying........

.....before technical issues derailed The Warrior blog for nearly nine months. At the time of my sudden disappearance from the interweb, I was in the process of travelling all over the country to spread my stroke-awareness message to as many people as possible.

I was doing so because of my passionate belief that what I am saying is crucially important, but is also something which people refuse to acknowledge until they absolutely have to. I talk a lot about 'the life-changing event which will always happen to somebody else'. What I have to do is make people realise that it can and will happen to them, if they let it.

Yet what I was refusing to acknowledge at the time myself was that I was flogging myself too hard for my cause. I was doing the very thing which had put me in this mess in the first place; pushing myself too hard, doing too much, not getting enough sleep and rest. 

I had plenty of friends telling me I looked tired and wiped out, my closest friends, who can be brutally honest with me for my own good, were telling me that they had no intention of visiting me in hospital if I had a second stroke, or of going to my funeral if that second stroke killed me.

I blatantly ignored them (and, of course, Mrs Warrior), refusing to acknowledge that I was retired on medical grounds for a reason and that if my consultant was telling me I should only do three hours of 'brainwork' each day, rest in the afternoons and take a day off after a busy day, he was doing that for a reason, as well.

Then something happened to change my outlook; my father, Mr Warrior senior, who had lived in Spain for over 20 years and looked nearer to 61 than 81, began to get ill. Forty years of playing golf had wrecked the cartilage in his knees so that walking became a problem. Suddenly, this active, do-everything, man was using a walking stick. The change didn't happen overnight but because he was in Spain and I was in England and we saw each other in person roughly every three months, it felt like it.

Then, he began to complain of a dry mouth. His appetite began to decline. He began to get increasingly regular upset stomachs. The doctors wanted to do an endoscopy to see what was going on.

It was too late for that. Over one weekend, his blood-pressure collapsed and he was violently ill. Although he seemed to recover briefly, a liver biopsy revealed bad news. On the evening of Monday October 9, my stepmother told me he had been diagnosed the day before with terminal pancreatic cancer. He died in the early hours of Wednesday October 11.

I guess his relatively sudden death has brought home to me my own mortality. Since then, I have consciously been having 'nothing days', I have stopped looking for things to do to fill my time and started to concentrate even more on just being grateful to be alive after all the many bullets I've dodged in my life.

Now, I am concentrating on doing stroke-awareness talks and writing this blog. As I said above, people only think about this stuff when life makes them think about it. I might not like to admit it, but I'm sure my dad's death has had that effect on me.

For that and a zillion other things over the last 53 years, God bless you, Trevor Warrillow.