My parents blamed my bad 'hangover' on being spiked at a party – I was having a stroke | The Sun

WHEN Jessica Buckle started to complain of nausea and dizziness after a night out, her parents questioned if her drink had been spiked.

Jessica had always been prone to migraines, so thought it could be down to that.

Worried for their daughter, her parents even considered whether her drink had been spiked at the fancy dress party she had attended the night before. 

The 22-year-old from Chorley, Preston, had a stroke at 21, while celebrating the festive season with her family last December. 

But because her symptoms were not any that make up the FAST acronym (Facial weakness, Arm weakness, Speech problems, Time to call 999), most commonly associated with the condition, she didn’t realise she was having a stroke. 

On Boxing Day last year, Jessica dressed as Jasmine from Disney’s Aladdin and was excited to spend the night out at a Christmas party with fellow students.  

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But the next day, after spending the day with loved ones at her family home, she went to her boyfriend’s house in the evening and fell sick. 

As she went to lie down, she got an intense feeling she was falling downwards.  

Jessica said: “I tried to sit up but fell backwards. It felt like I was in one of those upside-down houses. I was sick for hours and kept passing out. 

“When I went to go to the toilet, I couldn’t stand up. Every time I tried, I fell back down. I put it down to being one of my really bad migraines.”

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Her boyfriend Blaydan Clish, 24, carried her to his car and drove Jessica to her parents’ home. 

“When we got there, my dad had to carry me indoors and put me to bed. 

“Mum slept next to me all night, not even leaving me to get dressed. 

“Then when I woke, I remember my parents pacing at the bottom of my bed. 

“They wondered if my drink had been spiked at the party and decided to get me checked out at A&E.” 


At hospital, Jessica was seen by a triage nurse straightaway, who realised the problem was neurological.  

“When she asked me to lift my leg up, I nearly fell off the chair. I was put to the top of the list for a CT scan. 

“Afterwards, I was given a bed while we waited for the results. 

“When the doctor arrived, the atmosphere in the room went very still. I knew it was bad news. Then he told me I’d had a stroke.  

“It felt like my heart had stopped. I just couldn’t believe it. 

“I was completely unaware that people had strokes at my age, I’d never known anyone under the age of 60 to get one. 

“Plus I hadn’t had the typical FAST symptoms you hear about.

“I started asking about the long-term effects as I had no idea how serious it was going to be for me.                             

“I was in so much pain and I even went blind in one eye for a week, which was terrifying not knowing if I’d get my sight back. 

“I stayed in hospital for nine days, during which time a hole in my heart was also discovered, something that had never been picked up before.

"Doctors told me it was the cause of the stroke.”

The hole in Jessica’s heart provided an opening for a tiny blood clot to pass across the heart and travel to the brain, causing the stroke. She is due to have surgery to close the hole. 


“When I was diagnosed, I felt very isolated and alone, and scared myself Googling about stroke. 

“I read that I may never fully recover and for a while, I believed it.”

Jessica started physio to learn to stand up and walk again. 

It continued after her nine-day stay in hospital, with a one-on-one session as well as a class session each week. 

As a final-year student at the University of Manchester, Jessica could have put her studies in medical biochemistry on hold to focus on her recovery, but she decided to persevere.

“It took me weeks to learn to walk again and I considered stopping my studies, but I decided to continue with my final year and I’m so glad I did. 

“Graduating earlier this month was such an amazing feeling and something that at one point, I wasn’t sure might ever happen.”

Now Jessica is waiting for a date for her surgery. She is doing well but since the stroke has suffered with fatigue. 

“I get tired so easily. I’m such a sociable person and want to be with friends and out with my family, but after an hour of talking I feel wiped out for the rest of the day.  

“Other than that, I am doing well, thanks to the support of my family and friends. I feel very lucky.  

“Young people need to be aware of stroke and to realise that it doesn’t just affect the older generation. 

"It has been a difficult time, but I am extremely proud of myself and thankful for the chance to finish my studies. 

"My perspective on life has changed, and I am now incredibly grateful for everyone in my life. 

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“My friends, my family, my boyfriend, I cannot thank them enough for all their support."

Stroke Association can offer support, visit

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