This was a poem I wrote a couple of years ago now, after my nan went into hospital.

She had a mini stroke that thankfully didn’t do any damage, but she was at risk of having a full-on stroke.

Since then, she’s had surgery to lower this risk.

She’s never gained the feeling back in her neck where they damaged the nerves, though.

(This is a common side effect of the surgery.)

This poem—aptly called ‘Stroke—is a fictional conversation between two people: my nan and me.

The regular text is spoken by me, while the italics are spoken by her.

The line about checking on the nurses she actually said when she first went into hospital, and it was too funny not to use in something.

It sums up her sense of humour perfectly.

There’s also a great one-liner of hers at the end of What Happens in London: ‘Vintage? Isn’t that what I am?’

She said that when we went shopping one weekend and walked past a vintage shop.

She also likes to refer to the No Doubt version of Stand and Deliver as ‘tiddly ba-ba’, because that’s what it sounds like they’re singing to her.

Anyway, on with the poetry…

Stroke by Kristina Adams

I’m fine!


I said I’m fine.

You’re in hospital.

I’ve just come to check on the nurses, make sure they’re doing a good job.


I am. Don’t worry about me.

I do worry.

I know you do. I’m telling you not to.

That doesn’t mean I won’t. You’ve just had a—

We don’t know that. They haven’t found anything wrong with me. I’m still ticking over.

You best be.

I am.

Good. Keep ticking.