Distorted vision

Often a stroke causes double vision, blurred vision or partial blindness. Sometimes people cannot see anything on the right or left (hemianopia), which can lead to difficulty with balance, co-ordination or recognising familiar things or people.

This is what happened to me . . .

As I lay in bed in the Stroke Unit, I tried to make sense of my surroundings, though my thought processes were very slow and I could not really see on the right-hand side.

I spent long hours counting the number of beds opposite. I thought I knew there were three of them, but I wasn’t certain. Also the number of electrical sockets and over-bed lamps opposite varied. Sometimes there were two – or three – or four – or many. Sometimes also I couldn’t tell how far away they were because they hovered in the air. Similarly, the ‘get-well’ cards of the patient opposite got jumbled up in my head and people appeared out of nowhere. It was all very puzzling.

Neither could I make sense of the ceiling. I thought the ceiling tiles must be square or rectangular but the lines that I thought should be parallel kept shifting and overlapping, receding and coming closer.

I could not speak so I could not ask about any of this.

Stroke Unit - Electrical sockets 2 (detail) (2008), graphite on paper

Stroke Unit - Electrical sockets 2 (detail) (2008), graphite on paper

The number of sockets did not seem to match the number of beds opposite mine. I could see four - or five - or two. Sometimes re-arranged themselves and sometimes they overlapped and appeared to float. I knew they shouldn’t do that but I couldn’t peg them down.

Stroke Unit - Lamps - detail 3 (2009), charcoal on paper

Stroke Unit - Lamps - detail 3 (2009), charcoal on paper

Stroke Unit - Electrical sockets 1 (2008), graphite on paper

Stroke Unit - Electrical sockets 1 (2008), graphite on paper

The number of sockets did not seem to match the number of beds opposite mine. I could see four - or five - or two. Sometimes re-arranged themselves and sometimes they overlapped and appeared to float. I knew they shouldn’t do that but I couldn’t peg them down.

Stroke Unit - Lamps - detail 5 (2009), charcoal on paper

Stroke Unit - Lamps - detail 5 (2009), charcoal on paper

Stroke Unit - Lamps - detail 10 (2009), charcoal on paper

Stroke Unit - Lamps - detail 10 (2009), charcoal on paper

Stroke Unit Lamps - (2009), charcoal on paper

Stroke Unit Lamps - (2009), charcoal on paper

I thought there were three beds opposite mine and I spent ages trying to match the lamps to beds. I thought there must be one lamp per bed but the number kept changing.

Stroke Unit - Lamps - detail 4 (2009), charcoal on paper

Stroke Unit - Lamps - detail 4 (2009), charcoal on paper

Stroke Unit - Electrical sockets 2 (detail) (2008), graphite on paper

Stroke Unit - Electrical sockets 2 (detail) (2008), graphite on paper

The number of sockets did not seem to match the number of beds opposite mine. I could see four - or five - or two. Sometimes they re-arranged themselves and sometimes they overlapped and appeared to float. I knew they shouldn't do that but I couldn't peg them down.

Stroke Unit - Ceiling tiles - (2008), charcoal on paper

Stroke Unit - Ceiling tiles - (2008), charcoal on paper

As I lay in bed in the Stroke Unit I knew the ceiling tiles should be square or rectangular … but they weren’t.

Stroke Unit - Electrical sockets 2 (detail) (2008), graphite on paper Stroke Unit - Lamps - detail 3 (2009), charcoal on paper Stroke Unit - Electrical sockets 1 (2008), graphite on paper
Stroke Unit - Lamps - detail 5 (2009), charcoal on paper Stroke Unit - Lamps - detail 10 (2009), charcoal on paper Stroke Unit Lamps - (2009), charcoal on paper
Stroke Unit - Lamps - detail 4 (2009), charcoal on paper Stroke Unit - Electrical sockets 2 (detail) (2008), graphite on paper Stroke Unit - Ceiling tiles - (2008), charcoal on paper
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