Just before Christmas I had the honour to meet Paul Drake. He was in the process of turning his eventful life, and hilarious and poignant stories, into a book at the encouragement Nottingham Neuro-Rehabilitation. That team, to which Paul says he owes his life, had listened to some of his funny stories from a life in the fast lane of advertising, whilst helping Paul recover from his second major stroke.
Paul said he realised they were right after the team had arranged for him to give a lecture to the Royal Society of Physicians last year. He touched the audience, who appreciated how open and honest he was with humorous stories from the advertising world, combined with stories of excess and the dire consequences. Born in Lincolnshire, it was whilst working at Dunlop Tyres in Leicester that Paul found his love of the advertising world and moved to London when he was 19. He soon made his way to the top echelons of a big agency, being responsible for putting together exactly the advertising packages clients wanted to meet their objectives; PR, press, TV etc. Paul wasn’t dealing with small players in the business world! His work involved leading a long, intense, creative process. Getting to know people in that broad media world, often in social environments was part of the job. As Paul says, ‘Drinking was part of the job’. This started Paul’s journey to alcohol and drug abuse over many years.
Paul’s work environment, and the excesses that led to, have taken their toll on his personal life and health. His third wife Steph, about whom Paul lovingly says, ‘Is here for good’, has been with Paul through the sharp end of his major health problems in recent years. Molly, Paul’s ‘wonderful, excitable, non-barking Springer Spaniel’, was Stephs gift to Paul after his second major stroke last year saying, ‘She’ll sort you out’. Molly has no doubt helped his recovery but Paul, a man not prone to lavish praise, cannot speak highly enough of the medical care he has received in Nottingham.
Paul moved to Nottingham in the 90’s, having ‘grown very fond of it’ and says he is so fortunate to have been here during his life-threatening strokes. All the care has been ‘amazing’, from City Hospital, QMC and especially, Linden Lodge Neuro-Rehabilitation Unit, which is a 21-bed rehabilitation unit based within Nottingham University Hospital (City Hospital). Paul has recently moved house but, ‘There is no way I’d move out of Nottingham because the facilities are supreme in every respect.’
I, for one, can’t wait to read Paul’s book, which recounts well written funny stories, including a colleague not arriving at a meeting and going missing for three days after being knocked out when a wooden board fell on his head at a station and disastrous holidays that gain humour with hindsight. It also has the real-life personal and life-threatening
health consequences of alcohol and drug excesses. Paul considers himself fortunate to have lived to tell the tale and is grateful to the Neuro-Rehabilitation team, not only for his current quality of life, but also for persuading him to share his story.