Monty Don, 65, first appeared on Gardeners’ World in 2003 offering tips and tricks to fellow green-fingered fanatics. But five years after first appearing on the popular BBC series, the star suffered a mini-stroke. The self-confessed workaholic had been working 12-hour days while filming ‘Around the World in 80 Gardens, and his commitment to work clearly took its toll.
Just moments before having a stroke, Monty revealed he knew something “funny” was going on.
“I was so exhausted I did not know whether I was coming or going,” he explained to The Guardian in 2009.
“I remember waking up feeling strange and dizzy and saying to Sarah (his wife), ‘God, something funny is happening; I may be having a stroke’.”
Monty tried to get out of bed but “collapsed completely”, then for two hours he struggled to his feet.
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He said: “We weren’t thinking: this is a disaster. I said: ‘Hang on, I can move my fingers.’ I remember thinking: ‘Oh, get a grip, you’re fine.”
But his intense feeling of illness continued, and he admitted his balance still isn’t what it used to be.
It wasn’t until Sarah’s father, a qualified GP, asked, “Are you alright? You look really strange,” that Monty went to see a neurologist who confirmed he’d had a minor stroke.
He continued: “Fortunately the damage was slight and the brain can repair itself to a degree.”
What is a stroke?
While Monty’s stroke was minor, strokes are considered life-threatening medical conditions. They occur when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.
If a stroke occurs, urgent treatment is essential, as the sooner a person receives treatment, the less damage is likely to happen.
So what are the symptoms of a stroke to look out for?
The main symptoms of stroke can be remembered with the acronym FAST, according to the NHS.
Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped.
Arms – the person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in one arm.
Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you’re saying to them.
Time – it’s time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms.
If you suspect you or someone else is having a stroke you should call 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance.
For people who survive a stroke, long-term problems caused by injury to the brain may ensue.
The NHS adds: “Some people need a long period of rehabilitation before they can recover their former independence, while many never fully recover and need ongoing support after their stroke.
“Local authorities should provide free reablement services for anyone assessed as needing them.
“These services help the person recovering from a stroke learn or relearn the skills they need to live at home independently.”