Emilia Clarke Has Opened Up About The Paramedics That Kept Her Calm After Her Two Brain Haemorrhages
The 33-year-old's dreams had come true at the start of 2011, having completed filming the first season of the HBO series, in which she plays Daenerys Targaryen.
But then, she was struck with a subarachnoid haemorrhage - a life-threatening type of stroke, caused by bleeding into the space surrounding the brain.
In the aftermath of her first surgery she suffered from aphasia, a language impairment which meant she couldn't remember her own name. In her worst moments she 'wanted to pull the plug'.
Reflecting on the terrifying experience in PEOPLE's first ever kindness issue, Clarke said she received 'unbelievable' support from emergency services, medical staff and her family.
She said: "It was a brain aneurysm that ruptured, and it was pretty traumatic. The paramedics were unbelievable. They'd given me drugs so I was in less pain, wrapped me up like a tortilla and made me laugh the whole way to the hospital. There I was, bleeding in the brain, and there we were in this ambulance having an absolute giggle. They were so gracious.
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"There was also my mum, when she went into mum superpower in the hospital: I had aphasia and she looked at me and went, 'Yeah, I know exactly what you mean'. She made me believe she understood exactly what I was saying. It was genuinely her greatest moment.
"And every single nurse I came across was so kind. It's why I became ambassador to the Royal College of Nursing in 2018. Nurses are the unsung heroes, they're at people's most frightening moments."
While Clarke was in hospital receiving treatment, she was told she had a second smaller aneurysm that would need to be closely monitored. But by 2013, it had doubled in size and the procedure to remove it failed, resulting in a massive brain bleed which forced doctors to perform emergency surgery.
After a long and painful recovery process, Clarke of course went on to star in all eight seasons of Game of Thrones. Beyond that, she also launched her own charity earlier this year, SameYou, which aims to broaden neuro-rehabilitation access for young people after a brain injury or stroke.
She said: "The whole experience inspired me to launch my charity SameYou. People's lives are transformed completely after a brain injury, and the core of our work is recovery - it's not just the first weeks that you need help, you still need help for years.
"I wanted to match someone with a consistent person who has the answers and can hold their hand and tell them that they're not alone.
"Being there when someone is scared, confused or angry is one of the kindest things you can do."
Featured Image Credit: PA