A Scary Month

Firstly I would like to thank everyone who has wished me well over the recent months following my stay in Royal Preston Hospital.

Following numerous consultations I have now been cleared to dive although I am still awaiting for some final blood tests before I can attend an HSE diving medical prior to returning to diving instruction.

Since leaving hospital and having time out of the water I have found a love for cycling which has help me shed just over two stone in weight and I am now the fittest that I have ever been. It also helps me run after a certain little one year old!

If any one is interested here is a copy of my hospital notes detailing my medical condition, the cause of which has yet to be determined if indeed there was a cause and it wasn’t just one of those things. It is not diving related.



An entertaining Facebook post during may stay at Royal Preston

A Prisoner In Royal Preston –

I have been overwhelmed by the amount of get well messages from the many people in Facebook land and thank you all very much.

If you are interested here is a little update of my condition.

I was having some quite serious headaches about 3 weeks ago which floored me and prompted me to visit the quack’s he referred me for an MRI Scan a week last Saturday.

On the Saturday morning the pain had got so much that I opted to go to A&E by Ambulance. This was no easy decision for me as I knew my sister Helen Turner Shepherd (Paramedic) was on duty and there was a chance she would take me in. Sure enough Helen turned up at my house just waiting to stick a canular in my arm, she decided she needed two goes. Luckily for me she was not driving the ambulance and her colleague delivered me in one piece at A&E. I have a pretty talented sister who was amazing in what couldn’t have been an easy situation for her.

Once at A&E I was then referred for an MRI scan which revelaed that I had a brain, all was fine so far.

The next step was a lumbar puncture, a needle into my spine to check for high cerebral pressure. This was done at 5 am on the Sunday morning. This wasn’t a pleasant experience made worse by the fact that the consultant brought a trainee with him to do it. Laid on your side while a consultant and trainee (sure he has a proper title) play a game of ‘left a bit right a bit’ with a big needle in your spine isn’t my idea of fun. Unfortunately the trainee (who wasn’t my favourite person by now) was no Jockey Wilson and had missed the bullseye. It was time for the pro to take over who went in with the greatest of ease and drew the fluid from my spine like he was taking candy from a baby, even though it lasted about 15 minutes. The test revealed high cerebral pressure.

The next adventure was to be transported by ambulance to Blackburn Royal to await a CT venogram scan, again I avoided my sister’s driving, things may be looking up! This involved a lot of waiting, three days, I think. The three days consisted of lots of morphine, tramadaol and anti sickness drugs. I passed the time by paying exorbitant amounts for hospital TV and visits by my very worried and unbelievably amazing wife Sally. I also had visits from my Dad and Allison Huw David who very kindly brought me some sweeties, when I say they brought me some I mean they came with them ate them and then left. Huw also brought me a Cosmopolitan!

Things were moving quite slow at Blackburn and I was getting quite frustrated and wanted answers by this point. I eventually got sent for the CT venogram and then waited another day and a half for the results. Having a wife who is medically trained really does have its benefits and she really hounded the poor staff for answers, without her I would probably still be waiting.

The results eventually came through and oh my word how quickly things started to happen. The results showed that I had an extensive clot on my brain and I needed to be transported to the neurology ward at Preston Royal. I again escaped my sister’s driving and I was at Preston Royal within three hours.

Once in Preston I had a visit from Neil Conlon who brought me a viz magazine which has kept me entertained. A motorbike magazine from Sal’s brother Edward in Colorado, USA and a mountain bike magazine from Sally. Sally and my father have informed me that I can never buy a motorbike and it may be a while before I am out on my mountain bike again! Kick a man while he is down!

On the first night at Preston at about 3am I had a bit of a funny turn which resulted in me not being able to speak for a couple of hours, I knew what I wanted to say but I could only get one word out and I can’t even remember what that was! I also had tingling in my arms and around my face, I was pretty scared. They rushed me off for a scan with me being sick all the way there and back. As quickly as the symptoms appeared they then disappeared.

Since that last episode I have gradually improved and had no more occurrences.

The condition is serious but it was caught in time and is now being treated with blood thinning injections and warfarin. Once my warfarin levels are settled they will reassess me before releasing me but it won’t be before Tuesday.

They are unsure what has caused the problem but I will be referred to haematology once I am let out for more tests.

The staff at Royal Preston are fantastic and I am in no doubt that I am in the right place.

I am fine, the headaches are much better and I am only taking paracetamol for the pain. The treatment can take up to 6 months for the clot to disappear completely but I am on the mend and will be back to normal soon. I have been informed that it could have been much worse!

My days consist of waking up to the morning chorus of four men sharing a room at around 5am, lying in bed until they bring me my breakfast around 8am. Then they take blood just after breakfast. I wander around until lunch and then visiting time followed by supper and then bed! As you can probably tell I have wifi which is keeping me entertained!

I have made friends with my fellow inmates. Tommy, who is an older gentleman and looks like Salty the Seadog and is doing his upmost to get each of the nurses into his bed but alas with no success. The guy in the bed next to me is currently working his way through all my you tube videos and my nurse is coming to learn to dive.

I am a little grumpy and really ready to leave as I am now on my 12th day. Unfortunately the diving will be on hold for me for a while but it is business as normal at Reefers and Wreckers Scuba Diving as all the amazing staff are keeping the ship afloat. I am contactable on here if you need to replenish your diving kit 🙂 PLEASE DO! I need the money for private medical insurance!

I have only wrote this for my own sanity and don’t expect anyone to read it but if you have got to the end of it then well done.

Please try not to worry about me, I am made of tough stuff and am in fine fettle!

— at Royal Preston Hospital.