London Cop and Stroke Survivor Becomes a Fantasy Author


James Horton was a young police officer in London. He was 27 and felt invincible. His partner (personal one, not police one) was about to give birth to their first child. Naturally, that's the time a life of high blood pressure caught up with him and he experienced a hemorrhagic stroke.

In this week's conversation, we James and I talk about that experience, how policing in London compares to policing in the US, how his stroke impacted his life and career, and how he came to write his fantasy novels in the Blue Swords series.*

You can listen to our conversation in the player above or in your favorite podcast app. If you don't see the player, visit the full article at http://Strokecast.com/JamesHorton.

About James

Headshot of stroke survivor, fantasy author, and London police officer James Horton. James smiles facing the camera in front of a white backdrop

From James' Amazon Author page:

James Horton left his hometown in rural Lincolnshire to join the police service in London at the age of nineteen. Serving as a police officer in several units, James has had his eyes opened to the highs and lows that comes with serving as a constable.

Suffering a stroke at the age of twenty-seven, James turned to historic action novels to help settle his mind and aid his recovery.

After his recovery, James decided to start writing his own novel, combining a career in the police and his passion of medieval stories. His first book, BLUE SWORDS, the first of The Crimes and Crests Saga has been based on true events, merged with a historic twist.

Author profits for Blue Swords, books 1&2* will be donated to the Stroke Association UK.

James would love to hear from his readers and can be contacted via his author page.

High Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure is a major cause of stroke. It caused James' stroke. It caused my stroke. It caused the stroke of many of my guests. It's easy to check because home blood pressure monitors are pretty cheap.

Many people don't check, though. And many never know they even have high blood pressure until it's too late.

And that's because it doesn't hurt.

Generally, high blood pressure causes no pain or outward symptoms while it's slowly destroying our blood vessels, as surely as the surging Colorado River destroyed the rocks in the Arizona dessert to carve the Grand Canyon. That's a beautiful thing to look at in the ground. It's not so beautiful when it's happening in our bodies.

I only found out about mine when I started getting massive nose bleeds at random. By that point, the damage that would lead to my stroke had already been done.

The American Heart Association recommends we work to keep our blood pressure below 120/80 (I'm currently right there - YAY!)

I spoke about how it causes damage in much greater detail with Dr. Nirav H. Shah in episode 47.

You can listen to that episode here:

(If you don't see the player, visit http://Strokecast.com/JamesHorton)

Here are 3 blood Pressure Monitors available on Amazon. Really, there are dozens or hundreds of options. I have no experience with these three directly, but they're a good place to start your shopping.

HoMedics Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor, Wrist*

Blood Pressure Monitor Upper Arm, Mebak Automatic Digital BP Machine Cuffs for Home Use*

OMRON Silver Blood Pressure Monitor, Upper Arm Cuff*

Chart from heart.org showing levels of hypertension

Johnny Cash -- Hurt

James talked about his experience listening to Johnny Cash's Hurt.

(If you don't see the video, http://Strokecast.com/JamesHorton)


Stroke Recovery Time Frame

There are still doctors and others who will tell a stroke survivor they have 6 months or 12 months of recovery and what they have at that point is all they'll ever get back James doctor told him he had just 12 weeks to recover.


As long as you live, you can still recover and regain function. Even years down the road survivors continue to recover. At four years post-stroke, I'm still getting finger control back.

Recovery will be fastest in the early days, sure, but it continues to be possible with hard work for years and decades after stroke.

Don't let anyone put an artificial cap on your recovery.

Hack of the Week

James talked about two things that help him with anxiety and depression.

First, get exercise. Even if it's just a little bot. Get some exercise. Get moving as best you can. It helps with health, but more importantly it helps with clearing your head.

Secondly, and in an oddly related way, is to try writing. That could be by hand, by keyboard, by voice, whatever. Writing is a powerful tool for not only enhancing your communication but also for helping you get stuff out of your head and calm your mind.

So take a few minutes to exercise your body and to exercise your pen.


(If you don't see any links, click here.)

Where do we go from here?

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast

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