Our good friend, ‘hidden history’ researcher and author Graham Hancock, had a major health scare last Monday, suffering a series of severe grand mal seizures that resulted in a week of medical treatment during which he was “at the gates of death”. This episode follows on from a major seizure a few months earlier, which was originally diagnosed as a transient ischaemic attack (a “mini stroke”) due to atrial fibrillation of the heart.
However, it turns out that diagnosis was completely wrong, which was only discovered last week in the wake of these far more severe seizures. On his Facebook page, Graham tells that…
…although I do indeed have atrial fibrillation which can indeed cause strokes (the blood pools and clots in the heart), it turned out that the diagnosis I had been given was completely wrong. This was discovered in the early hours of Monday, 14 August, when I suffered further, far more severe grand mal seizures here at my home in Bath, UK. Again I was rushed to the ER and then to the intensive care ward. Again the medical staff, now at the Royal United Hospital (RUH) in Bath, were completely brilliant, caring and engaged with my case far above and beyond the call of duty. Again their intervention saved my life.
This time the seizures were multiple and recurrent and my beloved wife Santha was taken aside by the neurologist who advised her to prepare herself for my death or, if by chance I survived that I would be so badly brain damaged that I would effectively be a “vegetable”. They put me in an induced coma, intubated on a ventilator for 48 hours. Eventually they were able to withdraw the tube and start me breathing for myself again. It was Wednesday 16 August, late afternoon, when I began to return to some form of consciousness baffled to see that Sean and Shanti, two of my grown-up children, had flown from Los Angeles and New York to be with Santha at my bedside together with Leila and Gabrielle, two more of our grown-up children who live in London. For quite some time I couldn’t understand what had happened, why I had a catheter in my bladder, why my brain was so foggy.
Little by little consciousness increased. I was moved to the neurology ward and on Thursday night, 17 August, much to my relief, the catheter was taken out. All day Friday 18th I remained in the neurology ward, very wobbly but able to totter to the toilet with the aid of a stick. By Friday night I was feeling much better. Finally, Saturday, I was discharged and came home.
Tests carried out established pretty clearly (although there is still some mystery over what exactly is going on) that the seizures were not caused by blood clots deriving from my atrial fibrillation, but rather by long-term over-use of a migraine medication called sumatriptan, delivered by injection; I was taking up to a dozen of these shots a month and have been doing so for more than 20 years.
Graham notes that this terrible experience has at least helped him grasp more fully that “the borderline between life and death is poignantly thin, fragile and permeable. We feel firmly fixed in our lives but any of us may cross over at any time. Sometimes we come back. Sometimes we don’t.” Words to live by – we should all make the most of every day we are here, and be as good as we can be to our fellow humans.
Our best wishes go out to Graham, Santha and family, after what most have been a traumatic week, and all the best for a speedy and full recovery.
(And, after a post about some not-so-nice news, here’s a chaser to sweeten it a little: Graham and Robert Bauval have just posted a video of their climb, 21 years ago, to the top of the Great Pyramid on the spring equinox, 1996. A testament to the fact that Graham has very much lived his days to the fullest!)