I thought my drink was spiked at a hen party – but I was having a stroke

I thought my drink was spiked at a hen party – but I was having a stroke


A woman on a hen night, thinking she had been spiked, was actually displaying symptoms caused by a stroke.

Joanna Whitelaw, 27, was celebrating her friend’s upcoming wedding, in her hometown of Edinburgh, Scotland, when her body ‘suddenly went numb’ and her vision blurred.

Terrified, her friends rushed her out of the bar and worried her drink had been spiked.

Her boyfriend took her home, and for the rest of the night she was sick.

The next day, Joanna was able to get out of bed and go out, but knew something wasn’t right when the vision in her right eye didn’t return.

She was also experiencing pins and needles down the right side of her body – so took herself to A&E.

Three CT scans couldn’t find anything – but an MRI revealed Joanna had suffered a stroke, caused by an undiagnosed hole in her heart.

The shocking news meant she was scheduled for surgery.

Joanna, an administrator for private investors, said: ‘It was a huge shock when I was told it was a stroke.

‘I was having the best night – playing games and have a good time with friends.

‘It was until I was in the club, and I didn’t feel right and thought I’d been spiked.

‘I’m an otherwise fit and healthy person – I got to the gym and run regularly.’

Other than suddenly feeling ‘strange’, her night had been normal.

She said: ‘The lights were flashing and thought it was playing tricks on my eyes.

‘I told my friends and when we got outside, one whole side of my body felt numb.

‘I couldn’t feel my bag on my shoulder and kept asking if it was there.

‘I told my friend I was seeing two of her.’

It was later found during what ended up being a three-day hospital stay, that Joanna had a blood clot in her brain. It had travelled there from the hole in her heart.

‘I exercised six times a week, I never smoked and don’t particularly drink,’ she added. ‘I had no trigger signs or warning leading up to it.’

She thinks she’s most likely had the heart issue since birth, with it only making itself known now.

Joanna has since undergone one session of physiotherapy and is trying to regain her strength.

Joanna said: ‘Doctors told me that between three and six months after a stroke is the hardest, and it will gradually get better.

‘I still haven’t regained all of the feeling back. I’m having to re-learn things like going to the gym – feels out of body.

‘I’m really lucky I had lots of support around me.’

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