Sometimes, I sew…


This is a post I’ve tried to write many times but it never quite feels right. Change is a constant as we all know, but some of us take longer to settle into it than others. I needed to press pause on blogging for a while to have the space to do so. The not-so-new now job is moving a long and requires both mental and physical energy with a team of 24 staff looking to me for answers and direction and my desperation not to let anyone down saw me committing to too much and feeling overwhelmed. So for everyone who has emailed, twittered and messaged me thank you for your thoughts and I’m so sorry I didn’t have my s#!t together enough to respond.

So why am I finally hitting publish now, im-perfect as it feels? It’s the oldest cliche in the book – life is just too short for perfectionism. Recently, my 60-year-old vegan, bike-riding, physical-labouring, healthy as an ox father had a blood-clot which travelled to his brain causing a stroke and throwing our small family into upheaval. When I got the call I was at work – busy and stressed as usual – but it all fell away and priorities re-aligned in seconds. He was rushed into surgery at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery where they unsuccessfully tried to break up the clot before entering the High Dependency Unit. My sister in Melbourne flew back to London. Dad is okay, now.

He’s been home now for a couple of weeks and whilst we had another scare* on Monday which resulted in a night back at UCL he is on the mend. We got lucky – he can talk fine, he can walk, he’s alive. We got lucky.

Other people don’t, in the relatives room of the HDU, there were so many conversations and stories of those who had been there for many months and you wonder how and you wonder why.

Dad is a musical person, so his biggest frustration is the weakness on his left side making it hard for him to play guitar and the remaining confusion in the affected part of his brain makes listening to music frustrating. It just reminds you that your ability to indulge in your passion can all go so quickly. So, sometimes, I sew…

*Everyone should know the F.A.S.T. Test for stroke, please share it.



  • Joanne October 06, 2012

    First of all Alana, welcome back. It is an absolute pleasure to see you blogging again. But what news – I am so sorry to hear about your dad. My very very best thoughts go out to you and your family right now. Hope he gets stronger and better every day. My husband just lost a member of his family to a stroke today, it is such a sudden and terrifying thing to happen. Thanks for sharing the F.A.S.T. campaign and I hope work eases up a little for you. xxx

  • Stacie October 06, 2012

    Sorry to hear about your father, but thanks for the good tips.

  • Melizza October 06, 2012

    So very glad to have you back here. My grandparents both suffered from stroked month apart. It was a stressful and horrible time. Sadly they never fully recovered so I am very happy to read that your dad is doing better.

    Looking forward to seeing more of what you’ve been working on!

  • Reana Louise October 06, 2012

    I’m so happy to hear that your father (who sounds very, very cool) is Ok. I had to re-read your post because once I got to “had a blood clot…” I rushed through your words hoping for such good news. Good on you for taking this scary situation that reveals our human-vulnerability and turning it into something positive for you and your family xx

  • kathryn October 07, 2012

    So sorry to hear about your dad. I’m glad he’s doing better. Another stroke detection method I’ve heard of is RST.

    R – Raise their arms. Can they raise them both? At the same time? Only one? They should be able to raise them uniformly.

    S – Speak. Have them say something simple like “The sky is blue today.” Typically if someone’s just had a stroke, this will be very difficult.

    T – Tongue. Have them stick out their tongue. I would never have guessed it, but this is evidently very difficult after a stroke.

    Sending good thoughts your way….

  • Stephanie October 07, 2012

    Sorry to hear about your father, but I’m glad things are better now. Also glad to see you back in the blog world, was wondering, where you had gone 🙂

    Imperfect is great!

  • Sølvi October 07, 2012

    Welcome back darling, so sad to hear about your dad, I am so relieved to hear he is doing better. Thanks for the reminder of what is important in life. Wishing all the best to you and your family.

  • sallie October 07, 2012

    Perfection is overrated and life is swift and changing and often far too short. I’m so glad your father is doing well and hopefully time will allow him to find a way into his passion again. Thank you for these tips, and for the reminder to focus on the priorities – family. Wishing you and yours the best.

  • Ginger October 07, 2012

    Oh, Alana, I’m so sorry to hear this. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers– here’s hoping that your dad recovers quickly and is able to enjoy what he loves soon.

  • Wanett October 08, 2012

    Oh, gosh!! I’m so sorry to hear about your dad!! I’m glad his doing well. Thanks for the reminder to appreciate what we’re able to do while we can. I hope his ability to play and enjoy music returns!

  • indigorchid October 08, 2012

    I’m so sorry to hear about your dad – it is frightening to experience things like that. I’m so glad he is doing better, and best wishes for his (and your family’s) healing.

  • didyoumakethat October 08, 2012

    I’m so sorry to hear about the troubles you and your family have had – but so pleased to hear that your dad is okay. Oh my dear, you have been through the wars. Let me know if there’s anything I can do. It’s good to read you again!

  • Paunnet October 08, 2012

    I’m so sorry to read about your father, but I’m glad he’s better now. I wish all the best to your family.

  • Claire (aka Seemane) October 08, 2012

    So sorry to hear of your Dad’s health troubles Alana – I hope things improve for him over time. Best wishes, Claire 🙂

  • Amanda October 09, 2012

    So sorry to read about your Dad. I’m glad to hear that he is ok and I hope he recovers well. All the best to you and your family.

  • Brumby October 09, 2012

    Oh sweetheart, I shed a tear or two to think that you’ve been going through so much. My kindest thoughts and best wishes for a full recovery are with your Dad; thank goodness you were right there to help. We are delighted to have news, I’ve missed you do much, but hope you take all the time you need to focus on the truly important things in life! If there is ANYTHING I can do, please yell! xxx

  • Pixie October 09, 2012

    I’m so sorry to hear about your father and wish him a steady recovery! Thanks for sharing – I know the message about perfectionism is one I need to be reminded of often! And good job with the FAST tip – for some reason recently I though, “I need to look up and memorise those stroke signs”, no idea what made me think of that, but here they are. Best and be good to yourself, Alana!

  • Seraphinalina October 09, 2012

    I am so sorry to hear about your dad. Amazing how the priorities in life fall into place the minute things go wrong. I hope he has a speedy recovery.

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