‘Lucky to be alive’ survivor of stroke tells his story
A STROKE survivor who is ‘lucky to be alive’ after being initially treated for an ear infection has today spoken publicly in an effort to raise awareness about the importance of spotting the early signs of a stroke.
In April this year, on Easter Sunday, Hélder Gomes (53), an employee at Roberts Garage, woke up with a ‘funny feeling’ in his ear and started to feel dizzy.
As the family were preparing to sit down for breakfast in their First Tower home, with their two daughters, Mr Gomes suddenly lost his balance and began to vomit.
His concerned wife Teresa, who thought it was out of character for him to be ill, called an ambulance which he walked into when it arrived. He was taken to the Hospital where he had blood tests and a brain scan. Neither showed any immediate concerns and Mrs Gomes said that her husband was subsequently treated for an inner ear infection.
However, a few hours later and still in hospital, his wife became increasingly worried about her husband’s deteriorating condition.
‘Hélder’s blood pressure went to more than 208 and he couldn’t even sit up,’ explained Mrs Gomes, who runs her own beauty salon in St Helier.
Without trying to worry her husband Mrs Gomes said that she immediately spoke to the doctors and told them health problems, such as strokes, were hereditary in his family.
‘At this point I was worried and called the nurse to make sure she had all of his family history, which includes brain tumours and strokes. His brother and father both died of a stroke. It was so frustrating to see that there was nothing I could do especially after being told from my niece, who is a nurse back home in Madeira, that she thought he was having a stroke.
‘That was on Easter Sunday. The MRI was not done until the Tuesday as the Monday was the Easter bank holiday. It was only then confirmed he had a serious stroke and he was lucky to be alive.’
Mr Gomes stayed in hospital for nearly a month.
‘Treatment for a stroke is time sensitive so if you suspect someone is having a stroke speak up as soon as possible. There is a lot of publicity about the four main areas to look out for but there are other warning signs too. If you suspect something is not right please get help and plead for more help if you need it,’ said Mrs Gomes.