Vice rips the clothes off undressed

Undressed UK

A certain person (rather not say at the moment) sent me a link to the vice piece about undressed… of course its going to be so snarky but also funny, so I had a read. Here’s some highlights…

Surprisingly it is not. Undressed feels like an odd peek 20 or 30 years into a dystopian future, when couples are picked via a database of their likes, dislikes, genetic inclination and blood, marched by armoured police into designated romance rooms, and instructed to kiss and undress. Congress and children follow. The state has abolished the concept of natural love. Big Brother is watching you. Big Brother is watching you fuck.

Ok yes I can see a Black Mirror episode with these as one of the storylines. You only have to fast forward whats happening in Tokyo with the local government paying bars to put on dating nights.

…watch First Dates and all the girls who have come down to Manchester for it are thrown by the idea of eating a meal with another human being. Is this 2016, now? Is it so savage out there that girls can’t even get a date? Do we communicate exclusively through dick- and tit-pics, now, never having to meet? Has technology thrown us so low?

They are litteraly writing the Black Mirror episode.

Watch enough reality TV and you will see that the motivation people have for going on it splits neatly into three:

  • They are an idiot;
  • They want to be famous;
  • They have a weird mental blockade caused by some damage in their past, emotional or physical or otherwise, and they need – deeply need – to work this through by going on television, somehow television is the only thing that can cure them, they need to hold their nose and dive into the icebath of TV, and like Jesus it will cure them;

I had a good laugh at this one…

My motovation didn’t fit into any of these 3. I am curious and as you will read in my blog post once I can post it, and to be reading previous ones. I kind of pushed myself into it as it would be a interesting experiment.

Some could/would say mybrushwithdeath might have something to do with it and sure I would agree. However I don’t have a weird mental blockade and certainly don’t want it cured on TV (not that I believe it anyway). Regular readers know how much I hate TV culture.

Theres a lot more I want to say but I can’t right now…

My beautiful broken brain

I first heard about the documentary my beautiful broken brain via mindhacks. I then tracked it down and finally watched it. Lotje was 34 when she had the same kind of brain injury as myself. I ended up calling it #mybrushwithdeath.

Watching the documentary was unreal not only because there was so much I could relate directly to. The process of what she remembered and what she doesn’t really got me. I was in tears. There is absolutely no doubt I was incredibly lucky. The mix of reality and non-reality was frustrating to say the least, but I certainly didn’t have the big problem Lotje had with reading.

Some people will say why film it? Maybe the same people who asked why I would get on stage and do a TEDx talk about my experience? You only have to read the reviews to start to understand why, telling such a personal story is so important.

As a survivor of multiple strokes including a major hemorrhagic stroke in 1999 just 13 days after my 37th Birthday and a massive hemorrhagic stroke 2011 just before Christmas I can relate to the lady in this film, I went through and I am still going through a lot of what she had experienced from her stroke. I found this movie very good at explaining what we as stroke survivors are going through. I would highly recommend this movie to people who are interested stroke experiences and want to understand what we are going through because it is truly hard for us to explain to others what it is like to live life with our beautiful broken brains.

If I was to sum up the documantary, it would be the line from Lotje herself…

I’ve learned I’m strong, accepted my vurnability and focus on what matters…

Beautifully said…!

My 5 years since party speech

Thanks to Josh for recorded my slightly drunken speech at my 5 years since BBQ/party.

I wish I’d thought about it as there would be some stuff about the secret of luck, self confidence, pushing boundaries and breaking social norms.

Thank you to everybody who turned up and made it up to Manchester. It was a blast and I’m so humbled how many people made it, even for a short while.

Thank you all again!!!!

5 years ago, I was discharged from hospital

Ah the end is just the beginning

GREAT NEWS!   Ian was discharged from the hospital this afternoon!  He is going to Bristol for a while to recouperate with his family and asks that people leave off contacting him directly for a bit as he’s got a month’s worth of email/messages to get through already and his phone is playing up at the moment.  He hopes to be back to his usual online presence soon, but for now just wants to relax and enjoy being ‘on the outside’.  As always, thanks for all your messages and kind words, and you are welcome to continue leaving messages in the guestbook here.

Ian and his mum have made a formal complaint to the hospital today, and Ian wrote the following about his experience last night around 10pm:

Yes 5 years ago I was discharged from Salford Hope hospital. It was quite a ordeal the last part of my recover in the hospital. I would say this is where things went wrong, as you can read in my complaint.

The first thing I did when I left?

My mortgage adviser (Billie) came to my flat with the papers to sign. She was amazing and honestly without her persistence, I most likely would have lost my great apartment at Islington Wharf.

Then I slept and disappeared down to my parents place for a week!

Of course my thank you  and thank you 2 posts capture my state/thoughts of amazement living through something most don’t. No need to do a bad version of timehop anymore.

I’ll be celebrating with friends and family this weekend… Thank you everybody! These two tweets really got me…

Oh and I had a totally surprise to see my my email I sent (I forgot many things around that time) to the UK Wired after seeing their top 100 UK people earlier in the year.

5 years ago, The best Hello world message

While on the mend, I finally wrote my first blog to the world via dictation to my family. I remember saying the words with tears in my eyes. Of course it had to be Hello World, as there was nothing more fitting. The joke about hospital food was my injection of humour, although I have to say the hospital kitchen/restaurant really looked after me while I was there. I was given quite plain food but they kept checking about my allergies all the time. Actually far more than the doctors (as you will see in the next week)

It was great being able to talk again although I still have the trach scar, which will never go away now. I couldn’t explain how much the cards and comments meant to me and my family. I was kind of overwhelmed to know I had touched so many peoples lives and they in turned felt it was worth reaching back.

I was looking forward to moving out of ICU because this about the time when I started really getting better really fast. It was like my body was just repairing its self at a rate the hospital had never seen before. Amazing when you consider the life expectancy of people who have bleed on the brain

If subarachnoid hemorrhage from aneurysm, about 50% die within the first few days in hospital. If intracranial bleed, with/without stroke, the death rate within year one approaches 60%. Figures have remained constant for years.

I am one of the very few lucky ones and believe me don’t I know it, and there is no way I will forget it


 

[Message below was dictated by Ian this evening, no internet connection in hospital]

Ian says:

‘Hello world!  Thank you very much for taking the time to find out how I am doing.  I am doing okay.  I am still in hospital, but making a positive recovery.  Thank you to everybody who has written to me and my family and thanks for writing such amazing things.

The trach tube is out and I can speak again.  The feeding tube is also out.  I had solid food for the first time yesterday–it was horrible!  Of course it was hospital food.

Thank you for all the messages to my family.  I’m on the way to recovery.’

[Ian is due to be moved out of ICU and on to the ward as soon as a bed becomes available.]


Ian is continuing to do well and they are hoping to move him out of ICU and on to the ward soon (possibly this weekend).  He was a bit tired today and slept more, but he did spend most of yesterday out of bed and sitting up.

Ian’s flatmate Tim brought his laptop in for him, but there is not a wireless connection to use so Ian will not be online yet.

Unfortunately Ian missed some visitors today because he was sleeping.  For anyone else who is visiting, please be aware you might not get to see him if he is tired, but we do appreciate you coming to visit!

They hope to put some sort of valve into the trach tube that will make it possible for Ian to speak, but I am not sure when they’ll do this.


At the moment Ian is still in the ICU.  They had thought they were going to move him to the H.D. unit, but there wasn’t a bed available, so for now the plan is for him to stay in ICU until he is ready to move to the ward.

Ian is ready to have visitors now, but in ICU this is limited to two people at a time.  If you want to come visit, please leave a message in the guestbook letting us know what day and time you plan to come (and please leave a contact number in case we need to reach you).  Visiting hours are from 1pm-9pm daily.  They are quite strict about what can be brought into the ICU due to infection control.

Ian still cannot talk due to the trach tube so it can be difficult to communicate with him.  He is finding it frustrating, but appreciates visitors coming as he is getting bored.

5 years ago… my BBC colleagues wrote

@jas's picture of Herbkim

In my last post I wanted to include this picture of Herb Kim talking about me at Thinking Digital 2010. Still not heard what he actually said (could have been slagging me off or something *joke*) but I’m thankful for what he did do, as I was due to close down BBC Backstage on stage.

It of course never happened till much later of course.

Looking at the work/BBC angle was quite interesting. I have always said my work, personal and play lives are intermixed, and I like/prefer it that way. What happened while I was gaining consciousness says it all…

I saw this blog a long while later after I came out of hospital. I hadn’t realised the open and close battle (best word I can think of) which was kind of happening.

My parents once they received the call from Adrian came straight up to be with me. But my dad kept returning to Bristol for a house move was being finalised. So my mum reached out to Sarah (ex-wife) who recently moved near Manchester. She helped setup the carringbridge site after using it with her brother when he had fallen off something in 2009. Sarah was so supportive and contacted all of my old friends she still had emails for to tell them what had happened.

While this was happening Adrian, Tim and others were trying to keep things quiet by only telling people that needed to know. To be fair I would have done the same and they had no idea about Sarah and my mum spreading the word. The hodge also setup a form to collect responses from friends which was lovely and I thank him for doing so…

but this was trumped by the Carringbridge site Sarah and my parents setup.

I gather looking at the Twitter responses, there was a lot of wonder and doubt about what had happened. With information circulating from my mum and Sarah. I guess it became clear that the BBC needed to say something more official than tweets. I gather this isn’t normal but hey nothing about me and what happened is business as usual.

Adrian/Ant wrote…

This is just to let you know that unfortunately Ian Forrester, Senior Development Producer of BBC Backstage was taken ill last week and is now recuperating in Hope Hospital in Salford.

At the moment he is in a serious but stable condition and is being well cared for by the staff at Hope and his family.

For those who want to pass on their messages the Message for Ian Google form is here.

[Edit 04/06/10] Now that Ian’s family have set up the Caring Bridge site we’re recommending that people wanting to drop him a line use that channel instead.

Flowers aren’t allowed in ICU, but cards are, and can be sent to:

Ian Forrester
c/o Intensive Care Unit
Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
Stott Avenue
Salford
M6 8HD

We will keep you updated when we hear anything more but until then we hope that you can have Ian in your thoughts and let his other close friends know.

Dr Adrian Woolard

[In Ian’s hopefully short absence I’ll be looking after this blog- Ant Miller]

5 years ago, while I was lying in a bed

view from my bed

Its amazing to read back through the caringbridge entries my parents made (with Sarahs help). I had planned to post or tweet them at the time but I thought better of it, plus I have no idea what happened in the first 2 weeks (my last blog post doesn’t even close to whats about to happen). So here’s what happened in week 3, while I was in hospital in the early days.


Good news today!  The doctors do not think there will be further surgery because the angiogram was ‘clear’.  We think this means the bleeding has stopped.  They are planning to try to wake Ian up tomorrow.

Lots of messages and cards are coming in and we appreciate them all.  At the moment, visiting is limited to close friends and family.  We will let everyone know when he is able to receive more visitors.


I spent most of the afternoon and evening with Ian today.  They have taken him off the medication that was keeping him asleep and his condition is fair.  He’s opened his eyes and is able to communicate with me by nodding.  He is still on the ventilator but he is starting to breathe naturally.  They want to keep the ventilator in for the moment in case he isn’t responding properly.

He had tears in his eyes while I was reading all the get well messages to him.  So far he will only open his eyes when I ask him to, but he will not do it for the nurses.

At the moment it is still just family allowed to visit as Ian gets very tired quickly.  His dad and sister will be back with him tomorrow, and we hope to see some more improvement.


Ian’s dad, his sister and I have been to see Ian today.

Ian is off the ventilator and sedation drugs.  He is breathing on his own with oxygen.  He is still drowsy, but recognises everyone and is able to respond to instructions and understand us.  He is opening his eyes a lot wider and for longer today.

His throat is probably very sore from the ventilator, so it is a bit hard to understand him.  He can speak at a whisper, but we have told him to rest his voice for the moment.

Ian wanted to know what happened as he cannot remember falling ill; his sister has explained it to him.  He then wanted to know what the doctors said so I’ve told him about having the bleed on his brain.  He was listening and nodding to say he understood.

He is quite tired, but we are hopeful he is on the mend.


Yesterday Ian had to go back on the ventilator as there were concerns about his breathing.  I did tell the doctors his breathing is a bit laboured normally and they should take that into account.  They have also been sedating him again just to make sure he can relax and rest.  Because it is very difficult to get the ventilator in, they want to leave it in until they are certain Ian is ready to breathe on his own.

I still feel very confident that Ian is going to make a full recovery.  Today he smiled and squeezed my hand, and he laughed when we told him a joke.  He knows where he is and recognises his family.

He is still quite tired and drowsy, but I am reading him your get well messages when he is awake enough to listen.  Alvin and I had no idea how well known Ian is until we saw the messages coming from all over the world.

I am staying at Ian’s flat in Manchester and am pleased that I have figured out how to turn on his television!


Ian is making good progress today.  He was asleep for about an hour after I arrived, but then woke up and stayed awake and responsive for all the time I was there.

I held up some of his cards and messages for him to read.  Ian wrote on a piece of paper asking for an article about Google, and one had been sent to him so he got to read it (thanks to the sender!).

The doctors are hoping to to take him off the ventilator again tomorrow and see how his breathing is doing.

I was told a conference in Boston recorded a get well video for Ian.  At the moment, devices to play it for him are not allowed in ICU, but I will tell him about it and know he will get to see it eventually.

My birthday delayed but bigger things are coming

Barcamp Berlin 2

Every year I plan something a little special for my birthday but this year I’m going to delay things for a number of reasons.

  1. I’m going to Tokyo right after my birthday
  2. This year is 5 years after my brush with death and it deserves

So because of this, I’m planning something pretty big for May/June time. Would be interesting to have it the day after the general election, to go with my last memories, but thats very unlikely.

Once I know more details, I’ll share widely. But expect something which lasts all day and most of the night, so people can drop in and drop out.

Getting over the fear of rejection…

Don't be afraid of rejection ~ don't let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game!

There’s something which holds back many people from what they really want. Its the fear of rejection…

As most people know too well, the fear of rejection is a nasty fear… It can be totally inhibiting.

I could wittier on about it being a self-fulfilling prophecy, the nature of fear and what fear is… but frankly I’d rather not.

Personally I don’t claim to have the answer to the fear of rejection, I like everyone also fear rejection but deal with it in a different way.

You can watch me present on stage too but I would like to expand on the later part.

When I was lying in my hospital bed I thought a lot, maybe far too much. It was like my sabbatical (best way I can describe it?). I thought about many things. How my life was, what I had done with it and now I have a second chance what I’m going to do different.

When I finally made it to the next year’s Thinking Digital, I was at one of the workshops with talking about happiness. A couple things really hit me…

Happiest

We have 60,000 thought’s a day 95% of those are the same as yesterday… 80% of those are negative thoughts

Fear is in the mind, we build it up in our mind till its inhibiting and all consuming. Now I understand better than most about what fear can do. I was terrified of needles and I still don’t like them but I faced my fear with hyponosis. I remember years ago people asking me if I needed to have a shot to save my life what would I do… Jokingly I would reply knock myself out and then let them do it, or just take my chances. Generally I was suggesting for real, than I would consider death over having a injection.

Sounds insane but thats how bad my fear was…

Our minds are incredible, we can achieve such great things, ponder infinity, dream about the impossible, conjure technology and spread our thoughts far and wide. Our minds can literally out do the matter.

So whats this got to do with the fear of rejection (if you’ve not worked it out already). The human mind’s capacity is endless limitless but fear holds it back from its true potential.

How I look at the fear of rejection…

One More Thing, Steve!

Death is the destination we all share, no one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be because death is very likely the single best invention of life (…) Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life  – Steve Jobs (2005. Stanford University)

Once again while in that hospital bed, I thought about things and decided on the grand scale of my life. These moments of fear should/will not dominate my life and if so they are purely a blip in the graph. One which I won’t remember in many many years to come. With that in mind, I do things and not worry about the social ramifications as much, just telling myself whats the worst than can happen?. Don’t get me wrong I do wonder (rather than worry) but I don’t let it grow in my mind. If I want something I’ll go and get it, make it happen, make it so.

I refuse to live someones life, expectations, fears. Don’t waste your life living someones life

Better to know or to live in blissful ignorance?

23andme box

Following my brush with death I have taken a much deeper look at my family genes.

But one of the ultimate ways to know more is by signing up to 23 and me.

Although the idea freaks most people out, when you’ve been so close to death theres really little which can freak you out. So I have been considering the process quite a lot and looking through there material and some of the backstory of 23 and me.

Besides my thoughts of a world like Gattaca, I’m wondering if its better to know or live in a world of blissful ignorance? Although I do have to say blissful ignorance is part of the reason why I ended up in hospital. I do however wonder about 23 and me’s terms of conditions. There privacy statement is interesting too…

You may learn information about yourself that you do not anticipate. This information may evoke strong emotions and has the potential to alter your life and worldview. You may discover things about yourself that trouble you and that you may not have the ability to control or change (e.g., your father is not genetically your father, surprising facts related to your ancestry, or that someone with your genotype may have a higher than average chance of developing a specific condition or disease). These outcomes could have social, legal, or economic implications.

Genetic Information that you choose to share with your physician or other health care provider may become part of your medical record and through that route be accessible to other health care providers and/or insurance companies in the future. Genetic Information that you share with family, friends or employers may be used against your interests. Even if you share Genetic Information that has no or limited meaning today, that information could have greater meaning in the future as new discoveries are made. If you are asked by an insurance company whether you have learned Genetic Information about health conditions and you do not disclose this to them, this may be considered to be fraud.

We do not sell, lease, or rent your individual-level Personal Information without your explicit consent. As a general rule, 23andMe will not disclose your individual-level Personal Information to any third party, except under the following circumstances:

  • Partners or service providers (e.g. credit card processors or our contracted genotyping laboratory) process and/or store the information in order to help us provide, understand or improve 23andMe’s Services.
  • If you have consented for research, research contractors may access your individual-level Genetic and Self-Reported Information onsite at 23andMe’s offices for the purpose of scientific research, provided that all such research contractors will be supervised by 23andMe and subject to 23andMe’s access rules and guidelines.
  • If you have consented to use of your individual-level data in the Research Portal feature, qualified researchers (who must comply with certain requirements) may access your individual-level Genetic and/or Self-Reported Information for the purpose of scientific research, which could lead to commercial use.
  • We are required to do so by law or we do so in coordination with regulatory authorities (see the section below titled “Information Disclosure Required By Law”).
  • You have provided explicit consent for us to do so.

On a whole I don’t quite feel at ease with there terms of conditions or privacy statements. 23andme is a company and that worries me. If they were a charity or something like that, I would feel a slight bit better. How long will it be till they sell out on there users? You only have to look at what’s happened with Flickr to see the bizarre things that can happen.

So its not the information I’m worried about, its the way its stored and disclosed, now and into the future…

 

 

Is death the only way to change perspective?

Recently I’ve been pretty busy and again explain who am I and what makes me tick to new people. A part of the story is my brush with death which people still can’t believe when I tell them.

There is nothing like a life and death thing to bring your life into pin sharp perception.

2 things I saw which are related…

The story of Jonathan Schwartz on Triangulation and Derren Brown’s Apocalypse.

That change of perceptive I can certainly relate to… Just wondering if there is a way to shake people without the actual life and death part?

The Shift and my own shift…

Near Death Experiences

When you have a near death experience (NDE) or I guess brush with death your meant to act or feel a certain way it would seem. I don’t seem to be acting or feeling that way (what ever way its meant to be) some suggest I might get posttraumatic stress disorder in years to come. If this is true, I’m certainly not looking forward to re-experiencing the original trauma through flashbacks.

I remember back in July last year talking to my social worker (I assume they get you one after a dramatic experience just in-case you decide to do something silly) the one and only time. He came to my flat and we talked generally about everything and how I felt. It was ok if a little weird (most of the conversation centered around my anger for the way I was treated at the hospital), but he said something which made me think.

Obviously I don’t remember exactly what he said but basically it was something like “such an experience will make you re-evaluate your life and your faith.” To which I answered… “Like faith as in God?” he answered, “…yes I turned to god when something like this happened to me for example.”

That was the last time I saw him really, not because he was bad. Just didn’t really need him. I’ve been figuring stuff out myself in my own time but to be honest I’ve not really been thinking about turning to god or anything like that. But every once in a while I come up against (for a better word) something which makes me think (not necessarily in favor of god or religion).

Bobby

This time, it was when I went to the Thinking Digital university/workshop on happie.st with Bobby Patterson. I wasn’t looking for happiness or even seeking happiness, since the near death experience I’ve come to appreciate life on a totally different level.

Its hard to explain… but I’ll try

I view life on a slightly amazed scale. The miracle of life is so precious and I’m in totally ore we even exist at all (thanks to evolution). We scuttle around and worry so much about our own problems while the rhythm of life marches on regardless.

Our brains are wildly complex and able to conjure up the greatest dreams and darkest nightmares. The mind can set you free or imprison you for life.

Its genuinely a wonder and thirst for life…

And I’m reminded of this quote… (no idea who from)

Your just a thought away from changing your life…

So when Bobby talked about happie.st and some of the thinking behind and why, it struck a cord with me and my recent thinking.

One of the many links he suggested was a link to a film called the shift by Wayne Dyer

From the creators of You Can Heal Your Life: The Movie comes a compelling portrait of three modern lives in need of new direction and new meaning. In his first-ever movie, Wayne Dyer explores the spiritual journey in the second half of life when we long to find the purpose that is our unique contribution to the world. The powerful shift from the ego constructs we are taught early in life by parents and society—which promote an emphasis on achievement and accumulation—are shown in contrast to a life of meaning, focused on serving and giving back. Filmed on coastal California’s spectacular Monterey Peninsula, The Shift captures every person’s mid-life longing for a more purposeful, soul-directed life.

I watched the shift and I thought about it. I wasn’t sure quite what to say about it.

It felt quite religious in parts but in other not so much. There’s a air of cheesy self helpness to it but actually its not as bad as it would seem to be. The hard thing is wanting to know, what its end game (as such) is? I felt looking at Wayne Dyer’s wikipedia page would help, and it did. The interesting parts included…

Although Dyer resisted the spiritual tag, by the 1990s he was altering his message to include more components of spirituality, in Real Magic, and higher consciousness, in Your Sacred Self.

My belief is that the truth is a truth until you organize it, and then becomes a lie. I don’t think that Jesus was teaching Christianity, Jesus was teaching kindness, love, concern, and peace. What I tell people is don’t be Christian, be Christ-like. Don’t be Buddhist, be Buddha-like. [cited interview]

“Religion is orthodoxy, rules and historical scriptures maintained by people over long periods of time. Generally people are raised to obey the customs and practices of that religion without question. These are customs and expectations from outside the person and do not fit my definition of spiritual.” [cited post]

I feel that should be going for this self help stuff, but I’m still feeling very uneasy about it. Some of the things from the shift are interesting but the overall tone is closer to something I can imagine someone with an agenda or religious view would have. I’ve certainly not damaged the part of my brain which deals with rational thought thats for sure. I expect Dyer if he read this and saw me, would suggest its ego talking but I certainly don’t think it is.

Anyway, I didn’t quite know what to think at the end but I certainly felt a bit like oh well thats a shame…

I guess I’m hardly changed in certain ways but forever changed in others. I do feel like I should be more changed that I actually am, but maybe thats the fighting response holding on to what I am or something… Who knows…

One year on from my brush with death

Get well cards from 2010

It seems only yesterday when I was totally stressed out about the closure of BBC Backstage, trying to help Future Everything, buying my first flat on my own and goodness knows what else…

I assume this time last year is about the time Adrian got the call saying I didn’t have mengentis, instead I had a massive bleed on the brain and they were going to operate straight away, could he contact my parents.

It still makes me very sad that I put everyone through everything but then again I really wasn’t to know. The bleed was caused by having high blood pressure and although my size doesn’t help, its also in my family genes. Both my mum and dad have high blood pressure and to be honest I’d never really thought to ask them about it. Ever since, I’ve asked them all types of questions…

In my flat, I have had all the cards I received during my time in hospital up. It reminds me what happened and how I need to move forward. My parents would rather I had taken them down but I did say I would keep them up for a year then put them away for safe keeping. This is exactly why I’m writing this post I guess.

I know I’m one of the luckiest people on this planet. To survive a bleed on the brain (Angiogram) is one thing but to be able to walk away with little permanent damage is just something else altogether. I’m not one for religion but as my parents say, god must have been looking down on me that day.

Get well cards from 2010

The blow by blow

Over the next week the story of last year becomes a lot clearer in part due to my caringbridge site/blog, which was setup by my ex-wife Sarah, who at the time I was not on speaking terms with at all.

Ian had been feeling very unwell, and his flatmate and his boss convinced him to go to the hospital to get checked out. We were called on Monday 17th May and told Ian was in hospital. Originally they suspected meningitis. However, all we know at the moment is that he had a bleed on his brain. He had surgery that day to put a drain in and has been heavily sedated in the ICU at Salford Royal (aka Hope Hospital).

It all felt like a lot longer, it almost felt like I was in hospital months, but I guess thats the powerful drugs effecting my judgment and memory. I assume looking at the dates I was only in ICU for about 2 weeks.

I do remember this moment

I spent most of the afternoon and evening with Ian today. They have taken him off the medication that was keeping him asleep and his condition is fair. He’s opened his eyes and is able to communicate with me by nodding. He is still on the ventilator but he is starting to breathe naturally. They want to keep the ventilator in for the moment in case he isn’t responding properly.

He had tears in his eyes while I was reading all the get well messages to him. So far he will only open his eyes when I ask him to, but he will not do it for the nurses.

I could hear my mum calling my name… And I woke up in a strange place mainly of white. My mum, dad and sister were standing over me. My mum asked do I know where I am? I shook my head and she said hospital. They read out a few messages I had gotten and I fell a sleep with tears in my eyes.

The next day (Saturday)… I remember slightly more.

Ian wanted to know what happened as he cannot remember falling ill; his sister has explained it to him. He then wanted to know what the doctors said so I’ve told him about having the bleed on his brain. He was listening and nodding to say he understood.

By Monday my mum certainly knew me very well because she wrote about my recovery, she did say to me later in the year that she knew I wasn’t going to be physically disabled because my legs and arms kept moving now and then while I was under…

I still feel very confident that Ian is going to make a full recovery. Today he smiled and squeezed my hand, and he laughed when we told him a joke. He knows where he is and recognises his family.

He is still quite tired and drowsy, but I am reading him your get well messages when he is awake enough to listen. Alvin and I had no idea how well known Ian is until we saw the messages coming from all over the world.

Yes I certainly remember trying to stay awake and learn more about what was going on around me but struggling to stay awake even during guest visiting hours.

I am staying at Ian’s flat in Manchester and am pleased that I have figured out how to turn on his television!

Good for my mum… I kind of forgot how alien it must have been for her, shes so use to just turning on the TV and sound coming out. While I had it setup so all the sound on the TV is muted and comes out to the cinema amp instead. Luckily I changed the Sherwood amp to the Onyko amp sometime before otherwise it would have been impossible to work out.

Tuesday, and I’m wondering about Google IO 2010 and was in tears to hear about what Jeremy Keith did for me

I held up some of his cards and messages for him to read. Ian wrote on a piece of paper asking for an article about Google, and one had been sent to him so he got to read it (thanks to the sender!).

The doctors are hoping to to take him off the ventilator again tomorrow and see how his breathing is doing.

On Wednesday Ant/Adrian posted this blog post on the Backstage blog. While Thursday…

Ian’s ventilator was removed again this morning. To avoid having the ventilator back in, he has had a tracheotomy to help him breathe. This is just a temporary measure until his breathing is stabilised. The drain has been removed from his head, so now it is just the feeding tube in his nose.

I remember the tracheotomy, in actual fact I’ve still a year later got the scar from where the hole in my throat was. The Feeding tube in my nose was very strange. I remember when the nurses would change the feeding stuff to something sweeter and my nose would almost tingle as it slowly got pumped down the back of my nose.

By that weekend (last weekend of May)… I think Ross and Carly came up to see me and my mum wrote this.

Ian’s dad, sister and I have been back in Manchester with him since yesterday afternoon.

The trach tube had to be resited and Ian is still having some ventilation through that just until his breathing improves. They are reducing use of it and he is mostly breathing on his own.

Ian’s sister has been reading him messages from the guestbook which are much appreciated. However, at the moment we would still like visitors to be limited to family. Ian is having ups and downs in his recovery, but on the whole is improving. We want to make sure he rests and does not get frustrated with not being able to speak (this is temporary due to the trach tube). He is communicating with us by blinking, nodding and occasionally writing, and he does understand everything that is going on.

The messages and cards were overwhelming… They really helped me. I remember thinking I can’t believe the amount of peoples lives I’ve touched. Not being able to speak was a nightmare… my sister (bless her) came up with a system for communicating but what she missed was the fact it was based on speaking language and so required far too much effort to make it useful. My frustration was clear but I was able to somewhat laugh with Ross and Carly.

I’ll leave the walk down memory lane there for now… but its worth poping along to Thank you part 1 and Thank you part 2 which cover my thoughts and thank you’s when I left Hospital.

Time to pack away the cards

Life goes on

Now one year on, my life has totally changed around. I’m doing a lot less but also going deeper in certain areas. I’ve decided to leave the open data movement to its own momentum. I’m now full of creative ideas which I keep writing down in Evernote for future use. Some of those ideas are to do with the BBC and some to do with other aspects of my life like djing. I’m also less likely to hold on to them, which fits nicely with my need to use less brain cycles.

I’m living much more of my life publicly, trying to hold back requires effort and brain cycles so unless there’s a very good reason, I tend to share it. I’m also less guarded with information about myself, heck I’ll pretty much tell anyone about my experience with the bleed.

I also have a total new appreciation of our brains and the system which keeps it ticking over. I’ve of course taken advantage of mine to trick it into thinking giving blood and injections are not as bad as they should/could be via hypnosis. Also a better understanding of the need to stay fit, healthy and have a very positive outlook. I really hate to see life being thrown away, even more so than before.

Generally my brush with death has changed me in many positive ways and I never want to end up back where I was. Although I’m thinking about popping back into the hospital to see some of the nurses to see if the changes I complained about have actually happened or not… But thats for another blog post later in June.

Its certainly time to stop the #mybrushwithdeath thread. Archive and move on but never ever forget…

This was almost the last night of my life

About one year ago, I went to sleep after trying to stay up watching the National Elections of 2010. It must have been about 1am. I remember watching the election show on BBC one and falling a sleep a few times. So in the end I went to bed, not knowing who had won the election. Who would have thought the Liberal Democrats would have teamed up with the Conservatives to create a collation government?

When I woke up the next day, the bleed on my brain had already started to cause damage to my memory because the only thing I remember is the cleaner knocking on the door and me thinking well my flat mate will get up and let her in.

No doubt May will be a time for reflection for myself…

As always its great to be alive