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Interview 07

Age at interview: 52
Brief Outline: He had a stroke/hemorrhage aged 47 which caused left paralysis, vision loss and epilepsy. Medication' bendroflemethiazide, celiprolol (blood pressure), atorvastatin (cholesterol), phenytoin, sodium valproate (epilepsy), paroxetine (depression).
Background: Is married with 2 adult children. He was a master plasterer but now medically retired. Ethnic background/nationality' White/Scottish.

More about me...

This man had his stroke due to a haemorrhage (bleed) on the right hand side of his brain. He had an operation to repair an aneurysm in his brain and was in intensive care for nearly 10 weeks, which he has very little memory of.

The stroke caused paralysis of his leg and arm on the left hand side of his body and loss of vision on his left side. He was in a head injuries rehabilitation unit at the local hospital where he was helped with mobility and everyday tasks such as cooking. After coming home he had some further physiotherapy with the hope of getting him walking again but this has stopped and although he can stand he can not walk more than a few steps. He uses an electric wheel chair which has given him great independence to get out in the garden, garage and out locally.

He had some care at home because of his mobility problems and to cover the time that his wife was at work. This, however, recently stopped which he finds frustrating as his wife has had to give up work.

Before the stroke one of his hobbies was cars and go-kart racing. The stroke, vision loss and epilepsy have meant him giving up his license which he found very hard particularly as he had a specialised car that he had to sell. He has since put more time into keeping birds and the garden and has taken up carpet bowling through a local head injury support group.

His family have been very supportive especially his wife. His daughter kept a diary of his time in intensive care which he found very interesting and helpful. 

 

An electric wheelchair has been excellent because it has given him independence.

An electric wheelchair has been excellent because it has given him independence.

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So you use the wheelchair now. How have you found having to use the wheelchair?

This chair is a Godsend. Well, I got one from the NHS. That's' good and then I got this one from my sister and my brother in law. It was his mother's and she died and it was just sitting in the garage, so they said, 'Look sooner lying there, could you use it?', so I got this one and just, as I say, it's great for, well, manoeuvring you see around the place here and if I want, I just go away out and go for a run round the village and I go out, I work in the garage on my plants and stuff like that. Independence it gives you. 

 

He was at work as a builder when he had his stroke and found he could not use his tools.

He was at work as a builder when he had his stroke and found he could not use his tools.

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I just didn't know. It was a very strange feeling because, and I kept trying to work my tools and they just wouldn't work and I couldn't understand what was going on because there wasn't any pain or. I couldn't think of what there was. But, as I say, I'd heard of strokes but never thinking what. But I can clearly remember getting down off the scaffolding and coming in, the ambulance putting us on the stretcher and they come in with the siren on and the lights going and what not. What will folk be thinking, you know, it's just on a building site coming in. Funny feeling.

 

Can feel temperature and pain in his leg and arm but not movement. He sometimes has to wake his...

Can feel temperature and pain in his leg and arm but not movement. He sometimes has to wake his...

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Tell me about that? How does it feel, your leg, and is your arm as well? How do they feel?

Yeah. My arms as well. You can't describe it. It's just as though it doesn't belong to you. There's no feeling. Well, there is feeling because I can feel hot and cold but I can't feel us moving it or whatever, you know. It's very, very hard to describe what the feeling is. 

How does it feel when you're perhaps in a bed? Does it feel, perhaps when you wake up?

Well, you don't, if I put my right leg on top of my left one, you can feel the heat off my, my right one because this one's always cold. The left one's always cold and my left arm, if I lie the wrong way in my bed, turn round the wrong way, if I lie on top of that, it's, I have to sometimes waken my wife to, because I can't get my arm out to, because I feel pain lying on it.

 

Found it embarrassing to have his catheter put back in by a female doctor.

Found it embarrassing to have his catheter put back in by a female doctor.

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How about in the hospital? Did you have a catheter?

Yes. Uh huh. 

How was that? Do you remember that? Having to have that or have it taken out at all?

I remember one night I pulled it out and I had to get it put back in and it was a lady doctor and I remember feeling very embarrassed about that. If I hadn't of needed it I would have said 'No, no.'

 

He has been given equipment make peeling vegetables with one hand easier.

He has been given equipment make peeling vegetables with one hand easier.

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Did you do different things?

Yes. Started doing cooking in there as well. I'd done cooking when I was at home. I done all the cooking because my wife's idea of cooking is to open a tin, which I don't mind. She laughs about it as well because I like cooking but in there, they'd come in on a Friday night, I sometimes made a meal for them coming in on a Friday night. It was just '

How did you find that with maybe not having the use of your hand?

It's a bit' well, you get a thing for holding vegetables and that but they don't tell you, they think it's just a case of putting the vegetable on and peeling it and that. It doesn't work that way. I found out now if you get big carrots and potatoes, the biggest, you can stick them on that you've no bother peeling them but it's sort of medium sized or anything like that, you have an awful job peeling them because they'll no stick on to the machine, you can't get in proper to peel them.

So is that sort of a spike that you put it on?

There's three spikes, yeah, and there's a grater in the middle. It's just a circle that sits on. 

 

Was worried his wife might leave him but a psychologist helped him understand that this was...

Was worried his wife might leave him but a psychologist helped him understand that this was...

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What sort of, you said that you had concerns that you talked to the psychologist about? Can you tell me the sort of things that you were concerned about?

Well, just about... well, virtually a cripple or whatever, because I used to be fairly active. I run marathons and half marathons and that, raft racing and that kind of stuff, done everything. And all that stopped, will the wife still be with us or what, losing the business, losing everything. That's all sort of I had left the family. That really worried, well, what will I do when, well 'We don't need him now, what, what can he do for us? Dump him.' You know, it was silly thoughts going through your head. They weren't silly at that time.

How did the psychologist help? What sort of advice did she give you?

Well, just, likes of says that's silly. Said my wife had been at the, when I was in Intensive Care, she was there every day sitting in, she didn't go home, she sat in the hospital all day with us and everything like that. But she was 'Do you think she would have done that and all that? 30 years you've been together'. But you still think, you know, it's no joy for them, I'm a cripple. Just because we've always been, everything was done together. That's what our friends say. 'You two are joined at the hip' sort of thing. Because when we done the go-kart racing, we both pushed the go-kart to start it for my son. It was all one either side, pushing the kart to get it started. Everything was just together.

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