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Duncan Norvelle health: ‘I was scared’ – 80s comedian on his unsettling health condition

Duncan Norvelle, 61, catapulted to fame in the 1980s with his catchphrase “chase me”. In the intervening years, the English comedian had kept a relatively low-profile until 2012, when he made headlines for a different reason. In April of that year Duncan had a stroke. Speaking to Leicestershire Live, the comedian opened up about that time.

I couldn’t feel my left side

Duncan Norvelle

Duncan explained that he initially experienced a chronic headache.

He said: “I put the telly on for a while, but even the light from the TV seemed too bright.”

After taking two paracetamols, he went to bed to try and alleviate the pain.

After sleeping soundly for next three hours, he got up to find his glasses and his legs suddenly buckled. He fell to the floor.

He said: “I tried to stand up and I couldn’t. I couldn’t feel my left side. I couldn’t use my arm, I couldn’t put any weight on my left leg.

“I was panicking. I was scared.”

According to the NHS, a stroke is a serious life-threatening medical condition that happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.

The signs and symptoms of a stroke vary from person to person, but usually begin suddenly.

As the health body explained: “As different parts of your brain control different parts of your body, your symptoms will depend on the part of your brain affected and the extent of the damage.”

The main stroke symptoms can be remembered with the word FAST:

  • Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have drooped.
  • Arms – the person may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in one arm.
  • Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you’re saying to them.
  • Time – it’s time to dial 999 immediately if a person notices any of these signs or symptoms.

Some people, as in Duncan’s case, may experience a sudden and very severe headache resulting in a blinding pain unlike anything experienced before, expiated the health site.

Following on from his stroke, Duncan was admitted to hospital. He then had a second stroke.

“I blacked out during the first stroke,” said Duncan.

Adding: “I was conscious all the way through the second one. It was horrible.”

It seemed to go on and on, like it would never end, as everything around him went into slow motion, he said.

Duncan was initially given medication: “I took that, and I was out. Out cold. I woke up the next day in a hospital bed. I didn’t know what was happening.”

He spent the next 18 months in hospital, in Blackpool first, then Coalville Community Hospital. He has since made a good recovery and performs one or two comedy shows a month.

Treating a stroke

As the NHS explained, the specific treatments recommended depend on whether a stroke is caused by:

  • A blood clot blocking the flow of blood to the brain (ischaemic stroke)
  • Bleeding in or around the brain (haemorrhagic stroke)

“Treatment usually involves taking one or more different medicines, although some people may also need surgery,” explained the health body.

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