Nicholas Dykes, someone I have known for many years, and who is the author of several excellent novels - as well as essays such as this pugnacious and scholarly piece about Karl Popper - emailed me the other day to make it clear that his absence from the airwaves did not mean that he was no more.
Over to you, Nick:
Sorry I haven’t been in touch. I had something called a subarachnoid haemorrhage, a rarish kind of stroke, at 6.30 am on Sunday 24 November, falling on the floor in front of my wife and making horrible noises in my throat. Happily she’s good in a crisis and with the help of a kindly neighbour had me in an ambulance pdq. I was taken first to Hereford, then to a new Hospital in Birmingham, the Queen Elizabeth, where I was operated on next day. The NHS has its moments.
I had 2 operations. Then I got pneumonia. Then I got an infection of the brain called ventriculitis. Some cheery medic said at one point I’m lucky still to be here. I was in and out of Intensive Care, five weeks in hospital altogether, then had to go back in again with a mini stroke called a TIA just a few days after being let out.
Anyhow, I’m home again now and recovering slowly. I was weak as a kitten to begin with, slept a lot, and had great difficulty with my balance — very wobbly walking. Things are better now but my short-term memory is not too good. Happily, my speech is alright and I have not been left with any physical disabilities other than weakness, which should improve. I do have a handsome scar on my forehead however, it looks as though someone hit me with a axe.
My poor wife Rachel had a miserable time for weeks, not knowing how I’d be from day to day and with tubes sprouting all over my body. As for me, I was largely unconscious and remember very little! When I first woke up and was told what had happened, all I said was: ‘what a bugger!’
The best of recoveries to you, Nick.