Anyone with a brain should watch this TV programme! Stroke is not the end.
I never understand people who don’t have a television. I’m a writer, I love books, I love the written word and the tactile nature of paper pages turning. However I also value good television and some is excellent. This is.
Andrew Marr is a TV presenter, writer, poet, political analyst and as we find out a frustrated artist who admits he probably lacked the bravery to attend art college as he would have loved to do.
My mother and her sister both died of strokes so for me this was of personal interest. If genetics have anything to do with it, this could be the way I go to the next plain or whatever lies ahead.
I’ve often watched Andrew Marr at his work, often presenting a variety of programmes on TV. I truly hadn’t appreciated just how badly the stroke had affected his movement and quality of life. Just holding a glass is an achievement for him.
He dives right in to all the treatments, the causes and terribly sad impacts of a stroke. He shows obvious frustration at how the treatments are to be sought out and paid for privately. However he is honest, enquiring and clear that he wants to learn, not inspire pity for his situation. He admits he worked too hard, and probably still does.
My mother’s treatment after her stroke was to be stuck in a cot-bed, to pay for it she had to sell her home. She was stuck in limbo, often not knowing who was around her, until a second stroke carried her from us. My aunt was thankfully saved this humiliation.
We all have to die of something as my dad wisely said on his death bed. However the stroke, or as Andrew says, the first stroke doesn’t always kill you, the second might. It’s how we learn to deal with the first one and its impacts that is so fascinating.
Now don’t get me wrong, this programme wasn’t depressing, not even sad.
It is an education. He shows some trepidation, and yes Scottish grit, when he revisits the room in which he’d been stuck for months after his stroke. He gives the greatest credit to his physiotherapists, which was a lovely thing to do. Usually the surgeons and consultants get all the glory.
The scientists and specialists explaining and demonstrating how the brain works, and why it sometimes doesn’t, was truly amazing. To watch the brain grow and react, wow. Please take an hour out and watch just what is going on inside your head, right now!
He is a talented artist, and is revived by immersing himself in his paintings, the work before and after his stroke is truly revelatory. Perhaps what I found so profound about his work, apart from the obvious personal interest, was how art sustains him.
Art truly can heal, whether that be in words, his daily journal was beautiful, or in images.
Please pick up a pen, encourage your children to draw and to scribble. Art is so often undervalued but don’t ignore your inner artist, it may just be what saves you.
An hour well spent
The conclusion comes from Andrew himself when he jokes with the presenter that he won’t cry, no matter how much they would like him to, as he’s from Dundee (Scotland.)
Well Andrew, your honesty, stubborn determination and lack of vanity brought me to tears. Long may you continue, thank you for bringing this subject to our screens with such clarity. Wishing you further recovery and many more paintings.
You may also like:
(A few of the services I use to bring this free content to you. I earn a small commission on some, others I just love anyway so wanted to share with you. You’re supporting my work, enabling me to continue writing and keep this website and content free to you, thank you!)
I hope I’ve inspired you, tweet me from your next coffee stop!
If you are busy out and about and you’d like my posts to your email inbox directly, please sign up for the newsletter.