In 2007, I visited my GP to have a medical for a taxi license driver’s badge. During the medical I had my blood pressure tested and, without me knowing at the time, my life changed the moment the doctor informed me of my blood pressure results.

Had I realised at the time that my blood pressure being at such a dangerous level would put me in the position I am now, but would also change the lives of my wife and everyone around me, I would have done something about it. Or so you’d think. But no; I’m a man. Most of us men think we are indestructible, but listen to me very carefully: we are not. We are delicate, vulnerable and easily broken - to the point of no return, in some cases.

My advice to you, whether you are a man or a woman, is to get yourself checked and look after yourself. It may be as easy as shedding some weight or taking one tablet a day, but the other option is tough. Trust me; spend a day in my shoes. See what my life is like now, with only one functioning hand, walking with a stick and my self-employed career as an ADI (Approved Driving Instructor) over. I have a life of being reliant on others; my life is certainly not over, and I do have a great deal to be grateful for, but it could be different. lt could have been different so easily - as yours could be too, if you do the right thing.

So, why I write my e-book, Tiny Steps will be Better than None? While in hospital, I spoke to the staff about coming back to hospital, when I was well enough, to talk to the stroke survivors about their stay in hospital. I wanted to give back and pass on my wisdom that I had picked up during my time in hospital, to answer questions that I asked. I hoped to be a sounding board for their worries and concerns.

But I never got round to it, which is why I chose to write it down. I would like my fellow survivors to read it, so that later on they too can visit survivors to pass on their wisdom. Use this book as a guide as a template; it’s difficult to know what to say to a stranger in hospital, once you’ve covered the food and how wonderful the staff are. I know many do go back and chat; it’s something I have not got around to doing yet, but it’s on my list.

John Murphy
Tiny Steps will be Better than None