A-Z

Chris

Age at interview: 68
Brief Outline: He was diagnosed with high blood pressure and diabetes aged 63. A week later he had a stroke and spent 5 weeks in a rehabilitation unit. Chris links his stroke to the stress of business failure, financial problems, being less physically active and drinking too much alcohol.
Background: Chris is a retired van driver and lives with his partner. He has one child. Ethnic Background: White English.

More about me...

Since being put on blood pressure medicine Chris feels the cold more in winter. Since his stroke Chris walks with 2 sticks and has problems with swallowing, which means it can take up to ten minutes to swallow the four pills that he takes every morning. He received help from someone at the Stroke Association to apply for disability benefits. He is now careful what he eats, drinks only a small amount of alcohol, and exercises; he tries to use his home exercise bike once a day. He doesn’t see diabetes and stroke as being related conditions.

Chris gets the impression that his male friends don’t want to know about his health problems, perhaps because of a fear that they might get similar problems themselves. He says:

 “You’ve just to make the most of what you’ve got and enjoy, probably makes you concentrate a bit more on enjoying life and making the most of what what’s happening that you’re still alive”.

Chris volunteers for a vintage car club in order to maintain “sanity.”
 

Chris doesn’t feel people want to know about him having a stroke. Although this hasn’t depressed him, he focuses on making the most of his life and enjoying what he can.

Chris doesn’t feel people want to know about him having a stroke. Although this hasn’t depressed him, he focuses on making the most of his life and enjoying what he can.

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I took quite a bit of explaining by the doctor to see exactly what had happened to me. I found, I’ve recently had a letter from my surgery asking if I’d been depressed by the stroke or diabetes and hadn’t even thought about it but philosophically, I think there’s not much you can do about it and I find that, whereas most friends are pretty sympathetic, when I explain to my friends that I walk with a limp and my voice had slightly slurred, they said, “Well, nothing had changed.” Which I thought was pretty unkind but they really, when you explain your condition to your men people in the pub and so forth, when it really comes to it, they don’t really want to know because they don’t want it to happen to them. And it’s probably best not to mention it and just carry on living your living your life as such. Actually, I certainly haven’t been depressed about it. I find that you’ve just to make the most of what you’ve got and enjoy, probably makes you concentrate a bit more on enjoying life and making the most of what what’s happening that you’re still alive. [laughs] What else can I say?
 

Chris criticises the amount of physiotherapy available to him following a stroke. He feels he should be routinely followed up every 12 months. He hasn’t spoken about the stroke with his GP, who focuses on other issues.

Chris criticises the amount of physiotherapy available to him following a stroke. He feels he should be routinely followed up every 12 months. He hasn’t spoken about the stroke with his GP, who focuses on other issues.

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As I said to you before, if I had one criticism that I think the, the local surgery should certainly, make sure that there is a bit more physiotherapy to make sure that you go to clinic or something on a bit more regular basis. I know it’s, it can be up to you but it it’s far better that they, that you’re promoted to do it and also that I think that I know that doctors are far, you know, they’ve got too much on but I would have thought that at least twelve months, once every twelve months, you should have some kind of consultation just to say, “How are you developing?” and so forth on this, rather than having to go to the surgery. But unless you go and see the doctor, make an appointment and go and see, you’re not seen as such, whereas I think it’s, you should have at least a twelve month check-up.

Okay, and is that something you’ve felt you’ve been able to raise with your GP at all or?

I haven’t I haven’t suggested it, no, no. And I had you know, I’ve had to go and see her on a couple of occasions for other things but the stroke is not mentioned at all, which is, well, I suppose that if it’s not causing you any trouble, there’s no point bringing it up but, you know, it’s mentioned as such.
 

Chris found benefit from voluntary schemes at his local hospital which involved more health checks. He found this increased his confidence in the management of his conditions.

Chris found benefit from voluntary schemes at his local hospital which involved more health checks. He found this increased his confidence in the management of his conditions.

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If I could ask any messages you might have for other people who are living with more than one condition, any advice or messages for them?

Well, I think one of the things that, certainly with our local hospital that that not only with what you’re doing, but there’s two or three schemes that are volunteer, you know, which you can volunteer for and if you’ve got the time yet they’re worth, I think they’re well worth doing, because you meet cardiologists and things which doing what I’d said earlier on, like a health check, which certainly I had for the first fourteen months. And it did mean me having to go to the local hospital, you know, two or three extra times but they reviewed how your blood pressure was and also that sort of gave you a bit more self-confidence, you were going in the right direction. You might last a few more years yet sort of thing and to make the most of you know, the, you’ve had a serious condition and you luckily, have survived it and that you’ve got to make the best of what’s left sort of thing.
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