An Irishman's Diary
Q: Is there a difference between a left-side stroke and a right-side one?
A: Yes, right-sided strokes tend to be bigger, because the right side controls most major functions in the body politic. But left-side strokes are by no means uncommon, and can be equally unpleasant when they happen.
Q: Can a right-side stroke cause partial paralysis on the left?
A: It appears so.
Q: Does this sometimes prevent the left from doing, as it were, the right thing?
Q: Can the effects of a stroke disappear completely overnight?
A: Yes, in one famous case in West Dublin, a stroke caused newly-planted trees to appear in a housing estate on the eve of a by-election. This was expected to result in the success of Candidate A. But in fact, Candidate B was elected. Then the trees were removed as well. The stroke left no apparent after-effects whatsoever.
Q: Can health service stake-holders do anything to prevent strokes happening?
A: Maybe. If you have a stake, you could try driving it through the heart of gombeen politics at a crossroads around midnight and then decapitating the body and burying the head separately, having stuffing garlic in its mouth. But really, you’d be better off leaving that sort of thing to professionals.
Q : Is there a useful acronym for a list of questions by which people can identify a stroke and know what to do?
A: Yes, it’s called FAST and it goes as follows: F: Face. Has a politician’s face changed suddenly, causing him to wink in a knowing manner or to make a gesture, with the addition of a finger pressed to his lips or nose, suggesting the need for silence? A: Arms. Have other people’s arms developed a habit of slapping the politician’s back, or scratching it, for no apparent reason? S: Speech. Is the politician experiencing speech difficulties, such as a speech in which his junior minister gets through a whole confidence-motion debate without mentioning his name? Conversely, have you heard the politician asking anybody: “You won’t forget that come polling day now, will you?” T: Time. If the answer to any of the above is Yes, there may be grounds to believe that the politician has pulled a FAST one. In that case, it’s time to call your nearest newspaper. Don’t delay. Our stroke specialists are waiting to hear from you now.