Shocking note scrawled by teen as he suffered stroke at work in coffee shop

A teenager who suffered a stroke while serving coffee to customers scribbled a note to signal to colleagues something was wrong just in time.

When Barney Foster, now 22, was working in Costa he found himself suddenly unable to speak or swallow – but initially shrugged it off.

Barney had been prone to migraines throughout his whole life, and assumed he was falling ill with an intense headache.

But when he was unable to speak he knew something was up and penned the message: ‘Can’t work – can’t control anything’.

Concerned for his wellbeing, colleagues contacted his mum who rushed him to A&E at Queen’s Hospital, Burton Upon Trent, where he had blood sugars tested along with his hand-eye coordination that led medics to conclude the symptoms were connected to his history of migraines.

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After being discharged, Barney went home and later that same evening begun to suffer the most extreme head pains he’d ever felt. An extreme sensitivity to light meant the teen couldn’t even open his eyes and he decided that his diagnosis could be incorrect.

Barney said: "I looked back at the note and thought that maybe the migraine diagnosis didn't seem right after all as I've never had to do anything like that before.

"My dad then took me back to A&E in the middle of the night and the following morning a stroke consultant came to see me after expressing concerns I was unable to detect any temperature on the right side of my body.”

A consultant sent him for a brain scan that revealed a clot in his brain and confirmed he’d actually had an ischaemic stroke, which occurs when the blood supply to the brain is cut off or severely reduced. He jested: "I was definitely the youngest person on the stroke ward for sure."

An ischaemic stroke can be caused by a lump of fat in the brain or a blood clot, but in Barney’s case it was caused by a clot.

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He was started on the medication warfarin immediately which stops blood clotting as easily – he’ll be taking it for the rest of his life.

Since then, Barney has battled side-effects such as memory loss which meant he had to postpone his first year exams at university. In a memory test, occupational therapists asked him to name as many as animals as possible but he could only recall five.

He’s also learnt to manage the loss of sensation on his right side as he can’t feel pain, temperature or light touch.

Despite the enormous ordeal, Barney, who is now a podiatrist, remains positive.

He added: "All in all, I've been really well; especially compared to a lot of other stroke sufferers.

"Some people die of strokes, or are left with their lives completely changed as well as the lives of their families.

"With that in mind, I can't thank the team from Queens Hospital enough.”

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