Sharing survival story
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.