This story of a stroke is written by Lisa Hayward who now looks after her Mum full-time after giving up her career in marketing.
The Key Things I’ve Learnt Following Mum’s Stroke
It was a Sunday morning when I called Mum, she answered after five rings, but I realised I didn’t recognise her voice. She sounded as if she was drunk and It was only 11 a.m.
As a Diabetic, my initial thought was that she’d overdone her sugar intake but I asked her what she’d eaten and it all seemed fine. I was concerned so I went over to collect her and brought her back to my house for a few days, to keep an eye on her.
One: Not Noticing the Symptoms
I found Mum half slumped in her chair, still in her PJs. Although she looked exhausted, her face was fine, and she was talking quietly and coherently – not slurring at all. I helped her up, walked her to her bedroom, sat her on the bed, got her changed, packed her bag, into the car and back to ours. Still not realising what was wrong.
It wasn’t until we sat down for lunch and we noticed that Mum couldn’t hold her knife properly; she kept banging and scraping it on the side of the plate. The lightning bolt hit – she’d had a Stroke. How could we have missed it?
Two: The Vital importance of a Quick and Excellent Medical Response
We rang 111 and, after speaking to the Team on the phone, answering their questions and explaining the situation, the Ambulance was at our door within 15 minutes. The Paramedics very quickly assessed what had happened and, after a few tests and questions, said to us that Mum had definitely ‘had an episode’, probably a TIA (Transient Ischaemic Attack also known as a Mini Stroke). The tell-tell signs were that when they asked Mum to put her arms and hands straight out in front of her, her right arm quickly lowered, she was unable to make a fist and both her right leg and hand were numb. No time was wasted, Mum was immediately whisked to Brighton County Hospital. According to Public Health England, a person loses two million nerve cells every minute they don’t receive medical treatment during a Stroke, so getting to hospital as soon as possible can really be crucial. The Paramedics and Response Team were amazing, and their speed saved Mum.
Three: Moving Forward
No two strokes or recovery are the same. Mum’s back at home making slow, but steady progress and, even though we have good days and bad days, she’s determined to make a full recovery.
The Community Rehabilitation Team has been a great support, visiting Mum and helping us get all the mobility and safety equipment fitted and installed. We’ve also had physio, speech therapy, falls prevention and Time to Talk sessions. Mum’s also enrolled on The Stroke Association’s 12-week rehab course. It’s two hours a week, spent discussing different topics associated with Strokes, healthy lifestyle choices, emotional wellbeing and diet; alongside an hour of group exercise. Mum’s been going for four weeks and thoroughly enjoys the sessions. Chatting to other Stroke patients, she’s opened up and we’ve seen a marked improvement in her mental and physical wellbeing over the weeks she’s been attending.
To contact Age Space Sussex, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01273 608544.
For more information:
- Stroke Association Recovery Service, visit: https://www.stroke.org.uk/finding-support/brighton-and-hove-stroke-recovery-service or call 0303 3033100
- Stroke Association Moving Forward Service, visit: https://www.stroke.org.uk/finding-support/brighton-moving-forward-after-stroke
- Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals, visit: https://www.bsuh.nhs.uk/services/stroke/