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“Most of the people on the ward with me were a lot older than me” Recovering from stroke at 27

“It was quite a few months before I could properly come to terms with what had happened to me – it took a lot of processing.”

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James Mattress, a hospital porter who suffered a stroke at the age of 27 has shared how his dad found him collapsed on the bedroom floor.

James’ dad had immediately recognised the symptoms of stroke as his son was going in and out of consciousness, as well as having slurred speech. 

James would be rushed off to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn for treatment, which is also the hospital he works at.

It was here that a scan would reveal a dangerous blood clot and James would be vastly transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge for to undergo thrombectomy treatment.

Three years on, James is now 31 and has returned to work, after working on his speech and mobility throughout his rehabilitation.

He is now able to work four days a week, thanks to the support of his father, the Stroke Association and the stroke ward at the Queen Elizabeth hospital.

Speaking to the Eastern Daily Press, James says: “I absolutely love being able to work in the same place that helped save my life.

“It was quite a few months before I could properly come to terms with what had happened to me – it took a lot of processing.

“Most of the people on the ward with me were a lot older than me, probably 65 or above, so it’s strange to think it happened to me so young.”

Currently James suffers from a common after effect of stroke, in the fact that he has numbness on the right side of his body, meaning he has an everyday struggle with things that require the function of both sides of the body.

On his struggles, James says: “I do not have peripheral vision in my right eye, I cannot write and I cannot drive.

“I also suffer from chronic fatigue to the point that when I get home from work, I have to go straight to bed, so it is not easy.

“I owe so much to my dad had he not found me I almost certainly wouldn’t be here now, he also took 13 months off of work to look after me through my recovery.

“From the very start, he was amazing and made sure I gradually built things up rather than doing too little. I owe him my life.”

A lot of young stroke survivors suffer from the stigma that you need to be of a certain age to have a stroke, which can sometimes lead to delays in treatments, which happened to Kate Cooke, you can read her story here.

Jade Kenny, who was only 21-years-old when she had her stroke, told SR Times that “there is a big stigma, a huge stigma against young people having strokes.” You can read Jade’s story here.

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