Conservatives’ MP reveals stroke

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Per-Kristian Foss, a Member of Parliament and one of the Norwegian Conservative Party’s most high-profile politicians over the past three decades, has revealed that he suffered a stroke just after New Year. The veteran politician said he’d never been sick before, and it was a very frightening experience.

Per-Kristian Foss has been making speeches all his life, but now needs speech therapy after a stroke.. PHOTO: Høyre

“I was scared,” the 61-year-old Foss told TV talk show Fredrik Skavlan on this week’s Skavlan program due to air Friday evening on Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “This is the first time I’ve been sick, and you wonder if life is over with this, and there’s all these thoughts going through your head.

“Fortunately the doctors and nurses knew what they were doing. They promised to get me back with medication and training.”

Foss is getting back to work now but he’s still undergoing therapy to improve his speech. Many of the muscles in his tongue were hit by the stroke, even though Foss described it as relatively mild.

Foss, who’s openly gay after publicly revealing his homosexuality around 10 years ago, said he woke up on the morning of January 2 and couldn’t speak clearly. He had also lost feeling in one of his legs.

“My husband told me ‘you’re slurring your words, speak properly,’ and I couldn’t,” Foss said. He described his speech as being “like I’d just been to the dentist, or had a potato in my mouth,” he told Skavlan.

He went to the doctor and was sent to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a stroke. He’s been undergoing rehabilitation since.

“I’ve lived a whole life and lived from speaking,” said Foss, who’s known for his rhetoric as a politician and has served as Norwegian finance minister. It was difficult for Foss, who had never had a day of sick leave since he arrived at Parliament in 1981, to suddenly be ordered to stay home for two weeks.

“I was so active, and felt I could still handle issues, but had to stay home,” he told Skavlan. “That wasn’t easy.”

Now he’s back and looking on the bright side. The stroke could have been much worse and he also discovered, though the speech therapy with a logoped, that he had some speech impediments already. “I spoke too fast,” he said. He’s getting help with that, now, too.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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