Read about other peoples experiences and the obstacles that they've overcome.
Hello all, my name is Rita and I am secretary of the Freedom Stroke Group. As a carer resident in East Riding I am privileged to have been issued with a Carer Card. This card is very useful to me as it gives me peace of mind knowing that if anything happens to me when I am away from home it will give the alert that there is someone at home that needs help. This card also allows me to access many events where the carer goes free when accompanying my partner, for example the cinema, Hull Truck, Hull New Theatre to name but a few. The Carer Card is my official proof that I am a carer.
Unfortunately my carer friends who live in Hull do not have this card. The Freedom Stroke Group have brought this to the attention of Hull City Council and many of their councillors since the beginning of the group in 2012. We have continually spoken to health officials, The Carers Association, Age UK and many others, including our M.P’s, highlighting our concerns and the very real need for this card. All agreed it was wanted and should be made available however here we are 5 years later and still no card in sight for the people of Hull. I do sincerely hope that this unfair discrimination between the carers of Hull and those in the East Riding can be resolved in the near future. In the meantime the Freedom Stroke Group will continue the fight.
When My Husband had a very bad stroke it turned our family’s life upside down, not knowing were our life would was heading with all my husband’s health problems I felt isolated caring for him on my own not seeing any family members or friends. Until we started going to two different stroke groups meeting people making new friends the stroke groups helps us to be able to get out of our four walls of our home we learnt to laughter fun mixing with others who have been through the same situations as ourselves has given both my husband and myself freedom and confidence and having support and people to speak to when we feel at a low time. The group has given my husband a reason to keep fighting and life worth living and accepting has disability’s he was left with after this stroke his speech has improved to a bit better with all the encouragement from the group members and a well worth thing we did joining the stroke groups.
By Sue Oliver
It was one of those bright and sunny days, it was Thursday 12th of February. Sue had gone to work as usual at the local hospice and I was working as a lorry driving instructor. We were both nearing our 60th birthdays and had often discussed the possibility of retiring at the end of the year. So it really was, just another day.
At 10.15 my phone rang, it was an unusual number and I nearly dismissed it but something said answer this call. It was the Hospice – their next words literally stopped me in my tracks. Sue had had a stroke and was being rushed to hospital. At that time, I had no real idea what a stroke was, but I did know it was serious and possibly life threatening.
The next few hours at the hospital became a blur, Sue had no feeling nor movement on her right side. She underwent many tests and had various drugs pushed into her to try to reverse the stroke. Eventually the consultant took me to one side to explain everything. Sue had a 2cm clot and a 6cm bleed on the brain which had resulted in the stroke, brain surgery was the only option. My heart sank I couldn’t think properly nor put any logical words together. I had no idea what to do or say. Shock and emotion had taken over, I was in bits. Thankfully, most of our family were now around us and able to listen and ask questions. The operation would be lengthy and not without its risks but we expect all to go well, she is young and strong and mostly she is fighting.
Thankfully all did go well and Sue was to spend the next 6 weeks in hospital followed by a further 6 weeks in a care home. She underwent intense rehabilitation and care. Her right side slowly beginning to wake up. To this day though we still have a long way to go and Sue continues to fight.
Throughout these long weeks we had our good times and our not so good times. One occasion that has always stayed with me, was one night in the care home Sue and I tenderly kissed as we wished each other good night. As I looked deep into her eyes I knew the moment I turned and walked away she would cry. I cannot describe in any way how that hurt me so deeply. That I the man who so many years ago promised to love and care for her, had to walk down that corridor tears welling up in my eyes, pass the two on duty nurses and say – I think Sue is crying, please look after her. I left the building and sat in the car sobbing uncontrollably. The many weeks of emotional stress had built up and I could no longer control it.
For me this became a turning point. I knew I would have to be strong for both of us but I didn’t really know where to turn. All that was in my mind was, what do I need to do to get Sue home and make her life as good as I could get it. I researched everything I could find about Stroke, home adaptations, financial help, advice centres, council assistance the list goes on. The one thing I had overlooked was local Stroke groups.
6 months after Sue had the Stroke we attended our first Stroke group. We were met by many friendly smiling faces. I now felt a huge weight lift from me – this wasn’t just happening to us. Two years on Sue and I have now become regular members of 2 stroke groups, meeting weekly and monthly. We share experiences, knowledge and friendship. So, from a carers point of view, if the one thing you do today is contact a local group it will be the best thing you do today. There really are people out there that can perhaps help you, find the help you need.
It was 1992 Alan and I was celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and our first holiday away without our sons I was 45 Alan was 47, our three sons where all grown up and we had three grandchildren. Alan was a foreman electrician working away a lot but we always made time together.
I was a Teaching Assistant at a primary school and first aider with Red Cross running a First Aid group at school also helped with a walking club, I loved fell walking.
Then eighteen months later out of the blue Alan had his first stroke. I went to deliver my nephew’s birthday present alone and when I got home Alan was talking gibberish a STROKE. Our life changed from that moment I was then a carer. My first aid training got me through with some things but I was so lonely and frightened and I did not know where to turn, we had a mortgage to pay. I now had to be in charge of Alan’ health, the house bills and work, luckily my school was very understanding. We had some dark times in and out of hospital, he had three Strokes and then Epilepsy through his Stroke’s. I’d sit in the middle of the night at my computer writing down my thoughts, I felt so lost.
At fifty I learnt to drive and it gave us a freedom that we needed.
Alan and I celebrated our Golden wedding anniversary this year, 24 years after his first stroke and we had a party for all our friends.