Ryan Thomas paid a sweet tribute to his friend Chris Fountain as he continues to recover from a mini-stroke.
Back in August, 35-year-old Chris was hospitalized when he suddenly started talking “like a toddler” and later discovered he had suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA) as a result of blood clotting in his brain.
Reflecting on his friend’s recovery, Ryan, 38, revealed he aspired to be like Chris and “looked up to him as a friend”.
‘He’s someone I want to be’: Ryan Thomas shared a sweet post with former Corrie co-star Chris Fountain after the actor suffered a mini-stroke
Alongside a picture of the couple together when Chris was in hospital, Ryan wrote: “Shortly after this picture was taken three months ago Chris was told he had had a stroke and the reason I’m posting this is for sheer bravery and determination to emphasize from this man!
“When someone tells you you’ve had a stroke, you automatically think the worst, but they quickly turned that emotion into a massive positive and have never looked back since.
“He’s the healthiest I’ve ever seen, inside and out! constantly challenges himself to be “the better someone I want to be and look up to as a friend.
“I always say my wealth is my friends and @fountain1987 is a true example of that ❤️ [sic].’
Traumatic: Chris was hospitalized after the incident on August 11, after which he spoke ‘like a toddler’ (pictured earlier this month)
Ryan concluded: “Finally please guys remember these 4 words F – droopy face. A – Arm weakness, S – Speech difficulties, T – Time to call 999
“These 4 words may have saved Chris’ life
‘I love you brother ❤️ Thanks for always being there xx [sic]’.
The couple became firm friends while performing together on Coronation Street, and Chris recently opened up about the depression he suffered after being dropped from the soap.
Last month, Chris opened up about his health scare and revealed he realized something was seriously wrong after waking up to find he couldn’t articulate his speech.
Speaking that morning, he explained: “I woke up in the morning to a phone call from my mother. While on the phone I tried to say something but I couldn’t remember what I said and it didn’t get through. I said I would call her back and couldn’t exactly say.
“I tried to identify things in my house, like a towel, but couldn’t say what I was thinking, my brain and mouth weren’t on the same page.
“The thing that made it more obvious to me is that I picked up a book and tried to read it, it worked in my head but not out loud.”
Terrifying: Former Coronation Street star Chris says he lost the ability to speak and ‘feared for his life’ after suffering a mini-stroke two months ago
He then continued: “Physically, I felt fine, but as I sat with the nurse it became very difficult to speak, I was embarrassed and I was panicking and scared.
“They kept me in hospital for a CT scan which was clear and then they kept me overnight and tested me for an MRI scan.
WHAT ARE MINI-SHOCK WARNING SIGNS?
A transient ischemic attack (or TIA) involves a temporary lack of blood flow to the brain, causing temporary dizziness, confusion, tingling, and numbness in the arms.
You should call 999 if you suspect you may have a TIA.
- vision changes
- Dysphasia (difficulty speaking)
- balance problems
- an altered level of consciousness
- an abnormal sense of taste
- an abnormal sense of smell
- Weakness or numbness on just one side of the body or in the face, determined by the location of the blood clot in the brain
Chris said of his shock: “The doctor said the word stroke and even though it was a small stroke I looked at him when he said it and I was like why did this happen, will it happen again?
“It was like someone had pulled a rug from under my feet. I keep fit and got an incredible health boost last year.
“I found out I have a hole in my heart, apparently it’s pretty common and many people won’t realize it, but the clot has traveled through the heart to the brain.”
Despite the horrific experience, Chris explained that he felt happy, saying: “As traumatizing as it was, it could have been so much worse for me. I could have lost my arm and my face could have fallen off.
“For the first few days after I was discharged from the hospital, I stumbled a bit over my words and became irritable.”
The actor – best known for his earlier role as Tommy Duckworth on “Corrie” – later discovered he had suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA), commonly referred to as a mini-stroke, as a result of blood clotting in his brain.
He told The Mirror: “When the doctors confirmed I had a TIA and said the word stroke I just couldn’t believe it, there was a moment of pure panic for fear of what it means for the rest of my life.
“Would I have another one? Would the next one be even worse and I wouldn’t be able to use my arms or legs anymore? I was really scared and just burst into tears.”
Chris was eventually transferred to The Royal London Hospital, where he underwent further tests for five days before being released into the care of his concerned family.
He added: “Doctors said they saw damage to the left side of my brain, where your cognitive abilities are controlled.
“What’s scary is if I hadn’t called 911 when I did and got to the hospital so quickly, I don’t know if that clot had gone to the wrong place in my brain, I could have died. That clot was like a ticking bomb in my head.’
Doctors have since found that the clot was triggered by a small, previously undetected hole in his heart that allowed blood to flow to his brain – meaning he’ll need surgery to close it.
The actor is now working with a speech therapist and says his ability to speak has almost completely returned but still has trouble reading aloud.
But he insists he will use the experience positively and is now determined to “live life to the utmost”.
He said: “When you go through something like this, you realize how fragile life is, it can be snatched away from you at any moment.”
If you have any questions about TIA or would like to speak to someone, call the TIA Helpline on 0303 3033 100.
Old times: The actor played Tommy Duckworth on Coronation Street but was fired from the soap in 2013 after videos of him rapping about rape surfaced online