Andrew Marr, BBC Journalist, has had a stroke. The headlines are everywhere.
He has the dubious pleasure of gaining membership of a club which includes approximately one in six of the UK population. Obviously, I do not know how severely he has been affected. What I do know is that, even if his recovery is complete, life will never be quite the same for him again.
There will be a sense of loss. It may be loss of physical ability or stamina or it may be a much more subtle loss of a life that could be lived spontaneously, with good health and fitness taken for granted. He will grieve for that past life. Stroke is sudden, unexpected and cruel. Jonathan Dimbleby, his fellow broadcaster, is quoted as saying: “I’m very shocked that someone so energetic, fit and young should have a stroke.” That is how stroke is – age is no barrier to that one-in-six club; nor is fitness and energy.
It is shocking indeed to think of Andrew Marr with his sharp mind, obvious humanity and wide range ofinterests laid low in this way. However, so much is known about stroke, that with professional care and modern medication in this acute phase and good support during longer term rehabilitation, there is every reason to be optimistic for the future.
The consultant who treated me in Norway smiled at me in my wheelchair and said: “You have youth on your side.” This is something not often said to 55 year old men, but it gave me hope at the time, and more than eight years later, with the wheelchair a distant memory, I am glad that he helped to encourage that attitude of mind in his patient.
I wish Andrew Marr and his family much hope and strength for the future.