In September 2001, Sharon Stone had a near-fatal stroke and brain haemorrhage. “The pain was still so wildly intense,” she recalled.” I was put on a 24/7 drip of Dilaudid – a kind of synthetic heroin.” The mother-of-three – to her boys Roan, Quin and Laird – was drawn towards the “luminous” light, but “made a choice to survive”. In the days following her admission to hospital, Sharon “was unable to get up, stand up, or think clearly and function”.
After the medics performed an angiogram, they “found that [her] right vertebral artery, which is one of the two connecting your head to your back and spine, was torn to a fine shred”.
“I was bleeding into my face, my brain, my head, and my spine,” she had written.
Sharon was given a one percent chance of survival, but was “one of the lucky few who beat the odds”.
After the brain attack, she had a “tilted walk”, where her right leg would drag along the floor.
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“The left side of my face [was] distorted,” she remembered, and there was “no feeling from the knee up in [her] left leg”.
“I was talking, not knowing I was stuttering, not realising that the walls didn’t really have blocks of colours on them.
“I’d lost directional hearing in my right ear… my right ear was so f’ed up that I had to turn my head to the left and watch people’s lips to understand what they were saying.
“I had an incomplete sense of what was going on around me… I had lost my short-term memory.”
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The actress whose job it was to read and remember lines wasn’t able to read for another two years.
Her short-term memory issues even meant that’d she wouldn’t remember where she’d put down a teacup.
Sharon questioned if she’d ever be able to work again, but after being diagnosed with a brain seizure condition, she was put on helpful medication.
“As I sit here now, nearly two decades later, the right side of my head still hurts,” she confessed.
“This is where the brain damage is, where the scarring is.” Although her recovery has been lengthy, most of her hearing has returned and she can walk normally again.
“I have all of the feeling again in my left leg,” she said, and she no longer stutters or hallucinates.
The NHS warned that a stoke can lead to “widespread and long-lasting problems”.
Examples of the psychological impact include depression and anxiety, but there are a whole range of difficulties one might face.
After effects can include cognitive issues, movement problems, communication troubles, swallowing difficulties, visual impairments, and loss of bladder control.
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, causing brain cells to die.
This can happen rapidly, so it’s important to call 999 if you see any symptoms of a stroke:
- F – is one side of the face drooping? Is the person able to smile?
- A – can the person raise both arms at the same time and keep them there?
- S – is their speech slurred or garbled? Are they struggling to talk?
- T – time to call 999 immediately if you notice ANY of these signs
Sharon Stone is a guest on BBC One’s The Graham Norton Show, Friday April 2 at 10.45pm.