Emilia Clarke felt ‘violently, voluminously ill’

Emilia Clarke offers fans a chance to have a ‘virtual dinner date’

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In a candid interview, Clarke recalled how a gym visit led to hospitalisation. “The morning of February 11, 2011, I was getting dressed in the locker room of a gym in Crouch End, north London,” she began. “I started to feel a bad headache coming on; I was so fatigued that I could barely put on my sneakers.”

The 36-year-old remembered forcing herself to get through her workout; then, when she was in a plank position, she “felt as though an elastic band [was] squeezing [her] brain”.

“Somehow, almost crawling, I made it to the locker room. I reached the toilet, sank to my knees, and proceeded to be violently, voluminously ill,” she told The New Yorker.

“Meanwhile, the pain – shooting, stabbing, constricting pain – was getting worse. At some level, I knew what was happening: my brain was damaged.”

In the 2019 exchange with the publication, Clarke revealed a woman in the next cubicle came to her rescue by putting her into the recovery position.

“Then everything became, at once, noisy and blurry,” she said. “I remember the sound of a siren, an ambulance; I heard new voices, someone saying that my pulse was weak.”

Throwing up bile, she was admitted to the emergency room of Whittington Hospital, London.

Quickly sent for an MRI brain scan, medics diagnosed Clarke with a subarachnoid haemorrhage.

The life-threatening stroke was the result of a ruptured aneurysm Clarke had at only 24 years old.

Clarke said the medical team performed an “endovascular coiling”, which involved “a wire into one of the femoral arteries, in the groin”.

She added: “The wire made its way north, around the heart, and to the brain, where they sealed off the aneurysm.”

When she awoke from the three-hour surgery, “the pain was unbearable”; her “field of vision was constricted”; and she felt “parched and nauseated”.

During her recovery period, Clarke developed aphasia, which meant she was unable to voice what she was thinking.

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When a nurse asked Clarke what her name was, “nonsense words tumbled” out of her mouth.

Clarke shared: “I’d never experienced fear like that — a sense of doom closing in.”

Eventually the aphasia passed; Clarke went on to film season two and season three of Game Of Thrones, and even appeared on Broadway.

Then, following a routine brain scan, another aneurysm was spotted, so she underwent a second surgery.

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“The recovery was even more painful than it had been after the first surgery,” Clarke said. “But I survived.”

Grateful to be alive, Clarke said she as “healed beyond [her] most unreasonable hopes”.

Working alongside SameYou, Clarke shared how the charity aims to provide treatment for people recovering from brain injuries and stroke.

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