Guy Lambert Returns with a Good Explanation for His Absence

Brentford West councillor reports back on a serious medical episode

Cllr Guy Lambert (picture taken before his recent illness)


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I know some people have noticed my blog has lapsed for a couple of months (I’m pleased some of my fellow Brentford councillors have filled at least some of the empty slots) so I am looking to return, but also to explain where I’ve been.

After the council meeting on 20th September, I had a serious accident on the way home. I have no memory at all of my journey back from Hounslow. I had gone home by cab (which is pretty unknown behaviour!). We’d had a couple of drinks after the Council. There’s nothing unusual to have a drink or two after meetings, and I am happy to get tiddly on occasions but it seems I got quite drunk. This is very rare for me, and as a result colleagues sent me home by taxi, when I would normally cycle – never before with any problem cycling home.

When I got out of the cab, it seems I had a fall, and lay on the street. What the cabbie did I have no idea, but luckily another cab came to the often deserted street where I had been dropped where I had been left a couple of hours earlier. Either Cabbie 2 or their customers thought this pile of flesh worth
a call to the police (many thanks). Some time later, the police appeared. They raised me from the street after a while, ran me through the tests for my drunkenness in the method I remember from films in the 50s (EG whether I could walk 5 steps in a straight line - couldn’t). The police subsequently
assisted me to reach my flat, left a note that I had been horrible (to them), and left me on my bed, fully dressed. I can only conclude they were right, but again, that will be the first time I’ve been horrible to coppers in my life and I’ve very rarely to be aggressive to anybody, (apart the odd
verbal pop perhaps at Conservatives ��)

But there was definitely more wrong with me than just the evil drunkenness, though I was more or less completely oblivious to what when on. I was only aware of any of this because I was told by various people, and have seen some of the site’s concierges’ CCTV. Colleagues noticed that I was not
working normally and – as I will forever be grateful – came to my flat on Thursday, found me in a bad state – lying on my kitchen floor, not affected by alcohol! - and the ambulance took me to Charing Cross hospital.

Here, a variety of problems were diagnosed ranging from a dislocated shoulder - that needed an operation - to the much more alarming matter of bleeding on the brain. They operated on the shoulder, and then I was moved to St Mary’s hospital in Paddington, where I’m told they are the brain experts.

I sort of surfaced in St Mary’s, with no idea why I was there and no memory of anything (such as ever having darkened the door of Charing Cross) after picking up the note from the cops on Wednesday morning. Everyone was very worried about me (a lot less than I was). I wanted my phone and my PC so I could get on with life. My daughter, who told me I had been delirious for a lot of the ‘lost’ phase (and who was an amazing nurse and mentor throughout) sensibly rationed my access to all this, though I was cross with Microsoft for my lack of work mail until I found out a few days later this had been very sensibly redirected by the council.

For reasons I don’t clearly remember I disliked St Mary’s and immediately started a campaign to move to West Middlesex, which happened quickly. I much preferred our local hospital (especially the fantastic staff we were all clapping for a couple of years ago). Apparently my mental/brain improvement was amazingly speedy, so a week later I was allowed to go home.

I was quite physically very weak and wobbly, but mentally more or less recovered other than suffering with a thing called Aphasia. This is very common apparently following brain haemorrhage and means I have lost (I hope for a short time) some words which sometimes interferes with communications (most notably with a woman I have known for years and like very much, whose name I completely blanked for a few minutes).

I was not much use for a bit. My daughter wouldn’t allow me to go out alone (as I had at least one fall) but she quickly escorted me on a wobbly walk to the Verdict where I met Lara who has been such a big person in this story: it was such a joy to reconnect with her and with many more who I met in W Middx and on the streets etc of Brilliant Brentford. Lara worked very hard during my absence, but even more importantly, really welcomed me back and felt me really valued at a time I was really at a low moment. During this convalescence, the people I have got to know here, make me feel more privileged to live here even more than I had always got used to it before the accident.

After that start back into normal life, I have gradually improved, with little triumphs over the last 4 or 5 weeks: every walks each day; making it to Chiswick on my feet; making it to Charing Cross on tube and bus; a meeting with Brentford Voice when I was planning to go as a resident but couldn’t turn into a councillor during the meeting; getting rid of the hideous sling I had been forced to wear to avoid redislocate myself for 6 weeks, 24/7; the next day getting on my bike and wobbling to The Verdict; on the way to the Remembrance service actually overtaking people walking on the pavement on Boston Manor Park where I would have been an embarrassing blockage on the footpath a couple of weeks before.

OK, enough about me, nearly. I’m feeling more or less normal, both mentally and physically, though it will make a few months to surmount the bits that are not 100%. I am very grateful to my family, friends and colleagues who have gone way beyond what I deserve in caring for me. I am grateful to what power or fluke that says I’m feeling how I am today, after had I had been less lucky in life’s lottery and ended up being seriously impaired for a long time – could have been years I’m told.

In the more Traditional Blog, well, I’m back more or less in the seat. Went to Hounslow for my first cabinet meeting ‘after the accident’ last week, a long day of Hounslow cabinet in a hotel in Chiswick on Saturday, an 8 O’clock meeting with Ruth (and about 50 others as a stand-in for Katherine Dunne at the House of Commons on Tuesday) so my stamina is not quite what it was but getting there. I’ve got my unread council emails where I want them – none, as my duty to my residents here deserve. Some of the responses were some weeks late (apologies) and if they were not responded at all that would be because they were sent on to someone who could do more about them at the time! If I’m failing you -you know where to find me. I’m not going to into what’s going on in the ward/borough as I normally would as there’s plenty of this enough, plus Lara has been doing all the work!

I hope Brentford is looking forward stoically at what comes next. We are all going to need courage and changes in the way we live, which will undoubtedly impact those who are vulnerable a lot more than expats, or those like me who have a bit of savings behind us. Let us do what we do as much kindness we can to help our neighbours, like so many helped me.

Councillor Guy Lambert

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September 9, 2022

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