Stroke

David - Interview 61

Male
Age at interview: 62
Age at diagnosis: 54

Brief outline: David experienced two strokes in 2003 in addition to two episodes of pneumonia. The stroke, which affected his mobility, balance, and ability to drive, led to an early retirement from his job as a monitoring officer for the local council.

Background: David is a 62 year old retired monitoring officer. He experienced two strokes in 2003. His ethnic background is White British.

Audio & video

 

David experienced two strokes two weeks apart in 2003 in addition to two episodes of pneumonia. When he experienced his first stroke he felt lightheaded at work and returned home. He told his wife that he was not feeling well so she called for an ambulance. Hospital tests later confirmed that he had had a stroke. Two weeks later he suffered a second stroke which he described as a near death experience that changed his life completely. The strokes affected his speech, vision, ability to walk, the use of his right arm and caused deafness in one ear. He also suffers from diabetes.
 
He was in hospital for approximately 4 months (in general hospital and then a specialised stroke unit). His care in a specialised stoke unit was quite favourable in comparison to care in a regular hospital ward (fewer beds in each room, bright modern decor, and extra lighter supports including volunteer visitors). His transition home came as a bit of a shock (very different from the structure of hospital care) as he quickly realised that things that were once simple were now very difficult (e.g., tying shoe laces and making tea). After returning home he received 6-8 weeks of physiotherapy and home support. He does not have any formal services in place now, but does attend a local swim program. He used to attend a Stroke Survivors Unit but ceased participation due to costs and lengthy travel time. He has regular contact with his GP for stroke follow-up and diabetes care.
 
His stroke led to early retirement from his job as a monitoring officer for the local council, a difficult change because he loved to work. At the same time, he is grateful to have survived the stroke and acknowledged that things could have been worse. David has made considerable progress in his recovery due in large part to his supportive wife and daughter as well as his will and motivation to get better. He has regained his speech, some mobility (i.e., no longer confined to a wheelchair), and continues to make progress. He enjoys cooking, travelling, reading, and spending time outside in his garden. These hobbies help him cope with the changes that were brought on by his stroke.

 

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