Intimations of mortality

Robert McCrum on his stroke
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The Independent Online
Physically I'd been poleaxed. My left leg was immobilised, and my left arm hung from its socket like a dead rabbit; the left side of my face, which drooped badly for about a week, felt frozen, as if Mr Glyn had just given it a massive Novocain injection. I could not stand; my speech was slurred; my penis was attached to a Convene, a condom-like device that drained my urine into a plastic bag; and every few hours a team of three nurses would turn me over in bed, as if I were a slow-cooking roast. I was not in pain, but I was oppressed with an overwhelming fatigue. The smallest thing left me wanting to lie down and go to sleep, and the muscles on my left side were so weak that even sitting in a chair - which I was able to do after a few days - was exhausting.

My Year Off, by Robert McCrum, will be published by Knopf next year.

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