A regional photographer struck down by a stroke at the age of 45 has vowed to continue working for his paper.
Andrew Davies, a photographer for the Llanelli Star and South Wales Evening Post, was diagnosed as having suffered a stroke after being rushed to hospital earlier this month in the middle of the night, feeling unsteady and being violently sick.
He has told of his experience in a moving and humorous first-person piece for the title – and said he fully intended to see the silver lining of his situation.
“It took some time to process that I was 45, and had suffered a stroke – but I wasted enough time feeling sorry for myself and decided that I was going to control my life, and not the stroke,” he wrote.
“I said to myself: ‘It isn’t the manner in which you fall, it’s what you do when you get up.’
“My journey continues as I learn to walk again and get back to my love of being a press photographer.
“Of course there’s always a plus side – mine is a blue badge, park closer to the office, park for free (sometimes). Some say life is generally grey, my advice is always take your own sunshine.”
On the night of the stroke, between July 16 and 17, the father-of-one said he had gone to bed as normal, having spent the evening with his wife and daughter watching TV.
At around 1am, he awoke feeling violently sick and had to struggle to reach the bathroom as, uncoordinated and dizzy, he repeatedly bumped into walls and the bed. An ambulance arrived a short while later.
“My trip in the ambulance was like a shopping trip with my mother — high speed, lots of corners and some pretty bad singing from the driver,” he added.
He was taken to Glangwili Hospital and praised the work of the nurses, highlighting the staffing troubles and the long hours worked by the dedicated staff.
He has now been given a recovery plan so he can return to his normal life as soon as possible. He plans to continue updating readers with his progress.
South Wales Evening Post editor Jonathan Roberts said the news had come as a shock to everyone at the company.
“We thought our get well cards and flowers would cheer him up but he wanted to do something a little more positive and he suggested writing the piece about his experience and road to recovery,” he told HTFP.
“This will be an ongoing feature in the paper and speaks volumes about the kind of person Andrew is – fiercely determined, positive and a huge character in the newsroom.”
Llanelli Star editor Rebecca Davies added: “Andrew wanted to send a piece in to raise awareness that a stroke can happen at any time without warning. He also wanted to highlight the excellent care he has been receiving at Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen.
“He is such an upbeat character and his determination to beat it no matter what, does not surprise us.
“Andrew is a much loved colleague and we are all upset at what has happened. He is receiving loads of messages of support. Everyone here is thinking about him and wishing him a speedy recovery.”