JUDGING by the response on social media across the Yes movement and in the pages and online comments of The National, the news that Paul Kavanagh, author of the Wee Ginger Dug blog, had suffered a stroke caused colossal shock among independence supporters.

National columnist and tireless campaigner for independence, Kavanagh's writings and his speeches at Yes gatherings across the country have been inspirational, with his biting humour gaining him a large following among Yessers.

A stroke was the last thing he and the movement needed at this crucial time.

The news is mixed. Talking to The National yesterday from his bed in the stroke rehab ward of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow - "I'm still calling it the Southern General" - his slower speech and the fact that he is paralysed down his left side are evidence that the stroke was severe.

READ MORE: National columnist Paul Kavanagh, the Wee Ginger Dug, suffers stroke

But the very good news is that he hopes to be back to fight for the indy cause and his mental faculties are intact - "the sarcasm centres in my brain have been left unaffected," he declared.

As with most brain attacks, the stroke came on suddenly and overwhelmingly.

He explained: "I was looking at my computer and I just felt kind of dizzy, and then I took the dog out and became more dizzy. I went back up the stairs and into the bedroom and just fell onto the bed.

"I started shaking violently and I felt really nauseous. I knew something was happening but I didn't realise it was a stroke. I just thought it was food poisoning because I was being so sick."

Paul's husband Peter Bellefleur quickly called for an ambulance and described the symptoms - as is often the case with stroke victims half of Paul's face was drooping.

"They said it sounded like a stroke, "said Paul, "but I just kept saying 'I'll be fine, I'll be fine', like an idiot."

He was rushed to the Royal Infirmary and was then transferred to the stroke specialist unit at the Queen Elizabeth/Southern General from where he hopes to be moved soon to Stobhill Hospital nearer his home in the east end of the city.

Paul is aware he has had a brush with death: “At one point I did wonder if I was dying, I thought it was really bad and I’ve never felt so shite in my whole life, not even when the f***ing Tories won the election.

“But I’m still here and though I have this paralysis, the doctors think I will get some movement back though how much they can’t say. It’s early days yet, and it will take a long time.

“I will be out of action for a while, but I will be back. The big problem is that the paralysis is on my left side, and I’m left handed, so I will need to learn how to type all over again.”

Paul paid tribute to all the NHS staff who have helped his treatment so far, and made special mention of his husband Peter – “I wouldn’t be here without him” – and the other members of his family.

“My mammy’s having kittens,” he said, “and it’s a real problem that I can’t have visitors. See all these people complaining about not going to the pub? If I could use my left arm I’d punch them and say 'what are you concerned about you clowns.'”

He also wants to assure the many fans of the Wee Ginger Dug that his canine chum is being well looked after.

Paul added: “I’d also like to thank all the people who have sent me messages of support, it’s been fantastic. It really helps a lot to know people have been thinking of me.”

READ MORE: Best wishes to Wee Ginger Dug who has played unsung role in Yes movement

Then just to prove he is a fighter with humour and words, Paul revealed: “My left leg’s so useless I’ve decided to call it Michael Gove. It’s completely insensible, it doesn’t do what I tell it and it’s getting in the way of my independence.

“The worst symptom I have just now is constant nausea, but then you’d be f***ing sick if you were in bed with Michael Gove.”

He is finding it very difficult to write, and thinks it will be “a while” before he re-starts regular columns, but will be back.

“It’s a setback, but it’s a hurdle that will be overcome. I will definitely be back before the big fights we face next year.

“What a shitty year this has been, and I was a thinking that if the 2020 calendar was a map drawn by a mediaeval cartographer, we would now be deep in the territory of ‘here be w***ers’ illustrated with pictures of weird creatures such as Michael Gove.

"He could be a skiapode, a mythical creature with an enormous foot they used as a sunshade, and if it was Douglas Ross the foot would always be in his mouth.”

With the power of his words and his ability to kebab the Unionists, and make us laugh while doing it, Paul Kavanagh has become an indispensable part of the Yes movement.

We nearly lost him, but he will be back.