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I had been retired from my position as Professor of Biomedical Science for 16 days in August 2020 before I suffered a basilar artery occlusion (figure 1). It is ironic when you consider that I had worked on brainstem control mechanisms for over four decades and here I was having mine nearly wiped mine out. I had been experiencing dizziness and double vision for a few days, which I put down to labyrinthitis. However, my symptoms deteriorated and my wife took me to the Emergency Department. It was there that I realised something was seriously wrong. I had lost my ability to swallow saliva and I was taken by ambulance to the stroke unit at the Hallamshire hospital. I was given a swallow assessment, which I failed completely, and the last thing I remember was spilling the contents of a spittoon I had been given.
Contributors All authors contributed to the preparation of the manuscript and agreed the final draft.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned. Externally peer reviewed by Robin Howard, London, UK.