Stroke

Malcolm - Interview 59

Male
Age at interview: 67
Age at diagnosis: 64

Brief outline: When Malcolm had his stroke he initially thought that he was having an angina attack. Malcolm has other health conditions including angina, diabetes, epilepsy, sleep apnoea, and is registered blind.

Background: Malcolm is a retired transport manager. His ethnic background is White British.

Audio & video

 

Malcolm is a 67 year old retired transport manager. He had a stroke three years prior at age 64. When he had his stroke he was at home with his wife and initially mistook his symptoms for an angina attack. An ambulance was called and he was admitted to hospital. Shortly after admission he was seen by a GP and was informed that he had a stroke. Six months passed before he was discharged home. The stroke affected his right side, leaving his right leg paralyzed and his right arm with limited function. He now uses a wheel chair and has moved into a bungalow (more suitable for his functional needs).
 
Malcolm has several other health conditions including angina, diabetes, epilepsy, sleep apnoea, and is registered blind. He was diagnosed with epilepsy and diabetes in the years following his stroke. His impairments in mobility and sight are also consequences of his stroke.
 
Before he had the stroke, Malcolm had very little knowledge of the disease and was of the mind-set that it would never happen to him. Although the stroke completely changed his life Malcolm acknowledges that it is important to stay positive and “solider on.” He misses some of the activities that he used to do before the stroke (e.g., paint, write, and go for walks) but has learned to adapt (e.g., writing with his other hand). Having things to look forward to helps in his recovery (e.g., the birth of a grandchild and more recently the delivery of a new car which will provide more opportunities to get out of the house).
 
Malcolm is extremely grateful for the on-going support that he receives from his wife and family. Malcolm’s wife assists him with all activities of daily living (bathing, mobility) and has taken on tasks (e.g., painting) that originally used to be completed by him. He acknowledges that it’s hard to see his wife do things that he used to do as the “man of the house” and worries about the strain that his needs might place on her. Despite these hardships, Malcolm notes that the stroke has brought them closer together and has made their love for each other stronger.
 
In terms of formal support, he receives care (on an infrequent/ as needed basis) from a district nurse, and home visits from an optician. Malcolm describes him and his wife as independent people and prefers not to have outside help. His wife does not receive caregiver allowance since Malcolm’s pension is over the required eligibility threshold.
 
His message to health care professionals is to listen to the patient and take time to explain things properly and thoroughly. This message stems from a positive experience that he had with a health care provider. He is grateful for this positive health encounter but feels that it was not representative of the norm. His message to other people with stroke is not to let it get you down and embrace family (social) support.

 

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