Have you ever taken the time to speak with a stroke sufferer to understand their challenges and frustration?
Stroke Sufferer Walks The Pyrenees
The story of Bert's recovery from a stroke is one of amazement and total determination, which reflects the strength of mind he always had. His beautiful, loving wife Catherine wrote an article for the Kangaroo Valley News of Bert's achievement and absolute determination. After recovery and into adventure...
Bert walks The El Camino de Santiago, over the Pyrenees!
We are fortunate to have these beautiful people as friends, who were open to discuss the effects of their life as a husband and wife team, dealing with stroke.
The gentleman concerned in this story was an architect, his stroke 10 years ago, took away a large piece of his daily life. Apart from his right hand being affected and leaving him to be left-handed which didn’t serve him to continue working in his profession, he also lost the ability to speak.
Exploring The Stroke Mind
Our friends started out as our clients, and it was a challenge to retrain our ears to give Bert, the freedom and opportunity to speak to with us. My husband would encourage Bert to help him around their property and involve him. This also gave Peter the time to learn to understand Bert and for Bert to develop the courage to want to speak.
It is all about confidence after losing these abilities, we take for granted. Speech pathology is a huge part of rehabilitation and learning to regain balance as well. Besides all the other affects stroke patients experience.
Frustration is enormous, so to isolation. Whilst dining with our friends, I decided to explore Bert's journey with a stroke.
Bert was a very keen cyclist and he lost the ability to ride, due to loss of use of his right arm and fingers. His attempt to ride went well for a while until he was injured. So this was another loss in his life. He also enjoyed reading, but the stroke affected his eyes too much to be able to read novels.
This has been an absolute eye-opener for me and my husband. We have not experienced anyone before in our practice or personal life with a stroke. The recovery takes years for these sufferers. It takes an incredibly strong mind to fight, so they don't shrivel in spirit and give up on life altogether.
I asked Bert, "what was the most difficult aspect of recovering from a stroke?" His response was, "for people to actually know him." Either before and/or after the stroke. The change is drastic because the speech is so deeply affected. It is similar to someone trying to understand a very strong accent and grasp what is being said.
Embarrassment needs to be overcome, and rebuilding of confidence from the sufferer's aspect. But what about us unaffected on the other side? We need to learn to step out of our box. Cross to the side our sufferers and put ourselves in their shoes. To understand them and what they are going through.
We Take Movement for Granted
For a moment just stop and think of reversing your dominant hand to do the things on the other hand and see how well you would cope. Of course, you know you can change back to your dominant hand. But, if you suffered a stroke you wouldn't have that choice. Dressing, bathing, and feeding. All the simple daily activities we do unconsciously on autopilot. How much we take for granted our simple movements on a daily basis, until we lose it or it's inhibited.
Driving a car is also not an option for some sufferers. Bert, he had to wait some time till he was rehabilitated enough to drive again. Then the car needed to be modified for him as well. A stroke sufferers life has many changes, for their life to resemble some kind of normality again. Also, the family needs to learn new skills to deal and adapt to these changes as well.
It takes love to do all of these things when our body decides to throw a spanner in the works.
Love, understanding, and kindness!