Okay, people... Writing a stroke. It can fully remove someone from your work if you write it wrong, so here's some tips and tricks for writing a stroke.
A stroke is a clot or a bleed in the blood vessels of the brain. It can be caused by numerous injuries or can just happen to anyone at any time. When writing a stroke, a few things need to be followed by the author to really punch home what is happening: it can happen to anyone at any time of any age, and facial droop, slurred speech and arm drift are classic symptoms.
So, how do you write a stroke properly?
First we're going to start with some anatomy. Most strokes take place in the cerebrum of the brain (approx 2/3). This is the largest and most frontal part of the brain. Now, if the LEFT side of the brain is affected by the stroke, the RIGHT side of the body will be affected. If the RIGHT side of the brain is taking damage, then the LEFT side of the body will be affected.
Most strokes (87%) are ischemic strokes. This means that a clot has caused the stroke. How did the clot get into the brain? Where did it come from? You can have some fun with this. A deep vein thrombosis can cause a clot that gets trapped in the brain. Here's some causes of clots that you may not have thought of:
- Women on birth control who smoke
- Women on birth control who have recently been on a plane (true story)
- Long amounts of inactivity (have a detective on a long stakeout?)
- A recent injury or surgery
What are the signs of a stroke?
Sudden onset of facial droop, dizziness, headache, nausea, slurred speech, arm drift, stumbling/imbalance, and weakness.
Pick one or two of these above and you've got yourself a stroke. The facial droop and slurred speech happen in the cerebrum, if you want a brain stem stroke it would look more like trouble swallowing.
Now, what ages can have a stroke?
Any age. Any one of us can have a brain aneurysm (ie a bleeding stroke) at anytime. If you want your character to survive, I would highly suggest an ischemic stroke over a bleed.
The main difference symptom wise between an ischemic stroke and a bleed is that a bleed stroke will get worse with time (ie more nausea, more vomiting, now can't speak, etc) whereas a blockage will stay the same or get better with time.
So, now you've livened it up with a stroke. The golden time is 12 hours, so if you want your character to fully recover just have them to a hospital in that amount of time.
Happy killing and saving!