Shar­ing sur­vival story

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS - By Gra­hame Whyte

Nick Wild­smith of Yar­roweyah was on a South-East 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,’’ Mr Wild­smith said.

‘‘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 straight away that I’d had a stroke.’’

Mr Wild­smith said 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 when I had the stroke,’’ 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 6000 km ride through South­East Asia which ter­mi­nated in both a haem­or­rhagic and an is­chaemic stroke.

Sur­vivor: Nick Wild­smith of Yar­roweyah was Viet­nam when he had a stroke. trav­el­ling in

Re­cov­ery: Nick Wild­smith at Bangkok Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Hospi­tal.

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