A-Z

Interview 16

Age at interview: 56
Brief Outline: He had a stroke due to a clot at the age of 55 which stroke caused initial paralysis on his left side. Current medication' ramipril, bendroflemethiazide (blood pressure), lipitor (cholesterol), aspirin, dipyridamole (antiplatelet).
Background: Is a married father of 2 adult children and a retired civil servant. Ethnic background' White/Scottish.

More about me...

This man had his stroke at the age of 55 he is now 56. His stroke was due to a clot in the right side of his brain. A few years earlier he had a heart attack and he feels that the stroke was due to his continued unhealthy lifestyle including smoking, not taking up opportunities to have medical checks and forgetting to take his medication. He has changed his lifestyle and now regularly takes his ramipril and bendroflemethiazide for high blood pressure, lipitor to reduce cholesterol and aspirin and dipyridamole to prevent another clot forming.

The stroke initially caused paralysis in his left arm and leg. He was very motivated to get mobile again and with the help of physiotherapy in the hospital and the community rehab team he set himself walking goals. He can now walk with the aid of a stick and a strap to stop his foot dropping. He bought a mobility scooter which allows him to get further a field and was also able to get back to driving after going to a special assessment centre. His left arm function has not recovered and he feels that he should have concentrated on this more when he was in the hospital.

Before the stroke he had taken early retirement and looked after the house while his wife continued to work. His initial worries after the stroke where getting back to looking after the house and walking his dog. During his recovery he found it helpful to keep a diary of the small achievement that he made. He has been able to return to doing many of the things that he wants to do but misses things like DIY and gardening.

Since the stroke he feels he has become more emotional but recognises that this is all part of the stroke. His friends and family have been very supportive.

 

He woke in the morning feeling like he had slept awkwardly on his leg but the feeling did not...

He woke in the morning feeling like he had slept awkwardly on his leg but the feeling did not...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
It was just an ordinary Thursday morning. I woke up, out of bed and my left leg felt as though it was numb, you know, I was lying the wrong way all night on it and I got up and I was, I got to the toilet, it was OK. I still had this numbness. Came down the stair, sat down on the couch, put the news on, as I do, and I seemed to be OK. When I went up to get clothes on and the, the numbness was still there, really bad this time, so I had to sit down and I knew something was going on then. Tried to get back up again and used my left arm and my left arm just gave way. 

Then I said, 'There's really something wrong.' I shouted on my wife. She came down and I told her all the symptoms. I knew myself. I had a good idea that I'd had a stroke. My wife phoned 999, right away got the ambulance, they came out in about 6, 7 minutes, they confirmed it was either TIA or a stroke and I went into hospital. My wife phoned my daughter and my son and they followed in the car. I was taken right away in the hospital and the doctors wanted to give me all the tests, you know, and it was more or less, as I thought it was, a stroke. The initial shock of it on myself was pretty bad. I never felt my life threatened. I never felt that. 

 

At first he was frightened about the impact of the stroke but was reassured if a little surprised...

At first he was frightened about the impact of the stroke but was reassured if a little surprised...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Eventually I was moved from the Outpatients depart up to a ward where I was very, very upset at the time. I mean, I didn't know what was happening to myself. The nurses were very good. They did good but at the same time, I was confused. I was more or less confused than anything else and worried and, dare I say, frightened because, you know, my life had' I know then my life had changed from what it was. It was going to change dramatically and these things kept going through my head, how I would cope, you know, my wife, my daughter and my son. I mean, we had a routine. I retired early and I was more or less a house husband. My wife was still working but I was, I was enjoying my life. I had a dog to take out, things like that. My, my day was full and I knew then that it had changed but how much had it changed, I had never realised until 2 or 3 days later on' that, later on that day, my wife came back in to see me and I was in no fit state to really take in what was happening then medically. The doctors were seeing me but they, they would come back and take more tests and that and eventually the next day, I was moved into Ward 1 in the hospital... then I was lying there more or less feeling very, very sorry for myself, you know, as you do and I did break down and a nurse came to me and she said, 'Look [own name], you'll just have to either get up and get on with your life or lie there for the rest of the day' and I said, 'Well', to myself I said, 'Well, I'm not going to lie here. I still have a lot to go on'. 

So I said, 'That's it, OK. Well, I'll do what I'm told by the doctors and nurses and staff' and what surprised me was the second day after my stroke that the area rehab people come to see me and they said, 'We'll be here on Monday to help you, to help yourself get dressed and washed'. I couldn't believe this. I mean, I couldn't, I could hardly move my left side of my body and they were coming to show me how to get dressed and washed and shaved, things like that. I couldn't believe it but they said, 'We'll be there on Monday' and it's a pity that they, they lost the Saturday and Sunday. The 2 days were lost but they were there on Monday. Then the physio came and they said the very same thing 'We'll have you on Monday or Tuesday down to the gym' to get me going and I said, 'Well, you've got a big job on your hands', you know, but they said, 'We'll be there'.

 

Found it hard to get help with personal care and using the toilet and said that although the...

Found it hard to get help with personal care and using the toilet and said that although the...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Thinking about your time initially in the hospital, you talked about, you know, having to get help to do things?

Mm hmm. 

I mean, thinking about maybe were you able to get up and go to the toilet or was that something you needed help with as well?

No. In the first 2 weeks, 2 weeks, yeah, I had to help, get help with a bed bottle, you know, the bottle and I had to go to the toilet, I had to get help to go there and in the toilet, cleaning myself, I couldn't do that, you know, that was, you leave all your dignity at the hospital door when you go to the hospital, you know, and don't get me wrong, the nurses were fantastic. They don't, they don't bother. I was more bothered than they were, you know, but dignity is a great thing to have and to lose it, you know, 'That's, this is not me' you know, and I was determined as soon as I could I would do these things myself, you know, go to the toilet myself and clean myself, things like that because it is a terrible thing if you're not used to it and I'm standing there and I've been doing these things, you know, I can't handle it, you know, I couldn't handle it and I said, 'It's not for me, I can't do this, I've got to get on with my life. I must'. Things like that. The, the bed bottles were OK. That was OK but nothing else. No. Not going to the toilet, no. 

 

Regrets not changing his lifestyle and attending check-ups following his heart attack and feels...

Regrets not changing his lifestyle and attending check-ups following his heart attack and feels...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
The cause of the stroke was my fault. No doubt about that. It was my fault. As I say, I had a heart attack 12 years ago. I went to the doctors and'I always felt doctors were, once they got hold of you, that was it, they never let you go. So any letters I got to come to the doctors for my, a test or whatever, I would ignore, you know, things like that. I wouldn't go to the doctors if I had a heavy cold or a heavy flu or aches or pains. I would, my doctor would be the last person I would go and see. OK. I might be frightened of doctors but it was the last person, as long as I was able to get about, I was quite happy not to go to the doctors. They did send me letters to go to the Heart Clinic. I didn't go because I was frightened again they might find something wrong. I might, stop me doing what I was doing. I wouldn't go. 

So I blame nobody but myself for my stroke, you know. I mean, I don't say it's anybody fault but my own. If my lifestyle had been better, I wouldn't have had a stroke and, as I say, now I'm doing everything I possibly can to avoid further possible trouble. I go to the doctor every 3 months for check-ups, they take my blood pressure every week through the computer, keep eating my diet. I mean, my wife the chip pan's out, the frying pan's out, things like that, you know, and I take my tablets, no more smoking. My drinking, I don't bother drinking any more. I would say if I didn't get a pint of beer again, it wouldn't bother me. Honestly. I like the company. Don't get me wrong. I'll go out sometimes on a Friday night with the lads and I like their company, I like the patter but the beer doesn't, maybe 2 pints, that's it. The beer doesn't bother me but the lads are good. And my family have been, they've been really good. 

 

He explained that as time went on his list of things he cannot do has got smaller and he hopes to...

He explained that as time went on his list of things he cannot do has got smaller and he hopes to...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Can you tell me about some of the other goals that you've perhaps achieved since coming out of hospital?

Well, one was making myself a cup of tea, making myself a lunch now, I've got an electric can opener for my soup, or I can make toasted cheese, beans on toast. That's a big thing for me. Being independent. Making my lunch. Being independent. Take the dog out for a walk now. I had to depend on everybody else taking the dog out for a walk. Go for my paper in the morning, you know. These are all things that somebody had to do for me, mainly my wife but now I can do them myself. As I say, the list of cannots has gone down, is coming down. I'm determined to, the only thing I won't be able to do, to do is DIY, although I've not given up on painting yet, you know. Not yet. 

 

He was given a choice of what to work on in physiotherapy and had mainly focussed on walking...

He was given a choice of what to work on in physiotherapy and had mainly focussed on walking...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
On the ward, I can remember I went into the gym at first, she asked me, the lady asked me, 'What do you want? Do you want your arm back or what do you want to work on first, your arm or your leg?' I said, 'Get me walking, get me walking', you know, that was my main thing. In hindsight now, I would have said both. Get me, work on both, but time is limited, their time is limited down there obviously, they're very busy and I think that's why they asked me and I'm not saying if I'd worked on the arm more and I got the arm back but I, it's hard to explain and, and I thought I would lose the leg more than lose the arm, you know, I had to have walking but the arm will come no more, you know. But get me walking. The arm's not important. I've got another arm here. But on hindsight now, it's very important. The left arm is very important to me because of how much I miss it, you know. 

 

When he came home for the weekend they moved his bed downstairs and he had to use a commode but...

When he came home for the weekend they moved his bed downstairs and he had to use a commode but...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
The things I was doing was going so well that the physio said to me, 'How about getting home for a weekend and let us see how you get on?' And I said, 'That's absolutely brilliant' but of course they had to come out and see the house and we brought the bed down the stair to the dining room, put the bed in there, they were happy with it. I got a commode home with me, things like that, and I got home one weekend, one Friday night and it was absolutely fantastic. I got a night's sleep, a good night's sleep and it was a busy weekend, people would come to see you and things like that but I enjoyed it and of course on the Monday morning, I had to go back in again. But then the rehab started again and the gym started again, so it wasn't, wasn't too bad. And I think it was about 3 or 4 weeks after my stroke they told me I could go home, you know, and providing some things were done in the house for me, you know. I said, 'Right'. So they were very pleased with the things, my wife done things in the house and that and they came out and inspected it and it was OK. So I went out and I was more or less an outpatient in the, the Physio Department for 3 or 4 weeks and then the area rehab, they kicked in and they came to the house and they were fantastic too. 

 

He told the DVLA about his stroke and went for a test at a local assessment centre.

He told the DVLA about his stroke and went for a test at a local assessment centre.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Can you just explain what happened with getting your driving license back?

Well, my driving license was never, you know, taken off me. I mean, I've heard people who've had strokes and had their driving, their doctor's informed the DVLA, their own doctor informed the DVLA but it didn't happen with me. I could go out and drive if I wanted to but I couldn't physically drive but there was nothing to stop me lawfully driving but anyway I said, 'Well, I am going to do it legally'. I informed the DVLA myself about it and it was actually my area rehab nurse, she came in and told me about the, going to [local city] for reassessment. So I wanted covered. I wanted to be sure if I wanted to drive again, I'm covered, if anything happens, I'll be covered. So she got me an appoint with the, the driving assessment in [local city]. I went through and that's about a 3 hour assessment. I was surprised what that was and it was all about, the first part was all about reaction, the Highway code, questions about how I feel, my mobility, things like that and then eventually she said, 'We'll take you in a car' which I was very surprised. I said, 'I've not driven for about 6 months here'. She said, 'It's automatic. We'll take you in the hospital grounds first of all and see how you go'. So round the hospital grounds we went for about 20 minutes and she said, 'Right, we'll go into town and into [local city]', she said, 'You look OK to drive' and I was. I mean, I was very, don't get me, I was very confident driving, very confident. I went out to [local city], through [local city] and I drove no problem. So we got back and she said, 'I'm going to write to them and as far as I can see, there's no problem'. I had to get an automatic car obviously. I said, 'Right, that's OK'. So I got one back in a fortnight. I got a copy of the report for from her and she sent a report to the DVLA, the DVLA sent back to me, I sent my license back to them, they gave me a new license with how will I put it? Saying, my new license would say I can only drive automatic cars, which is no problem. So I got that back, I went shopping for an automatic car and I got one through in [city]. I sold my old car, got my car, got the automatic car and it's been a lifeline again to me. It was very good. 

 

Has found very good information on the internet. Was surprised to find out how many people have...

Has found very good information on the internet. Was surprised to find out how many people have...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Have you looked up any information about stroke?

Oh yeah. Internet, yeah. And read it big time. I've looked a lot into it, yeah. Mm hmm. 

How have you found that information that you've found?

It's very good. Very good. Yeah. Especially the preventive side, you know, how to prevent a stroke and that's been good. It's too late for me but looking at all the things now, what you can do to prevent a stroke is excellent information and, don't get me wrong, the, the post-stroke is good too. It really is good what you can do.

Can you tell me about some of the things that you've maybe found out about that you were surprised at? 

The first real surprise was how many people have strokes. That's a big, big thing. I was really surprised at that and the Different Strokes website there's a message board and that's excellent, you know. But that was a big thing, how many people have had strokes and another thing was the difference between Scotland and England. There's a big, big difference. I've read letters from England, they're people saying that they're waiting on physios to come and see them. They, they're on the waiting list for a physio and things like that and I can't understand that, understand that because up here, it wasn't a problem. Don't get me wrong. I had a fortnight's wait but they were in and they were really, really good and I had them for 7 months. But it seems down there, there seems to be a kind of waiting list or the treatment's not that good. So that's one of the things I found surprising too from the website. 

 

Was disappointed that the Different Strokes support group he attended was very focused on fund...

Was disappointed that the Different Strokes support group he attended was very focused on fund...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Well, as far as support goes, it wasn't a case of support with Different Strokes. I was kind of disappointed with the Different Strokes meeting. I mean, I went there and there was, was a, was a good turnout, a big turnout but what I found was they were more or less talking about, I was wanting to talk about my experience and get experiences back from them and there was very, very little of that. What I did get was all this fundraising ideas. That's what they wanted was fundraising ideas, you know, we'll do this and we'll do that and I wasn't wanting that. Go away to some place for the day and that's not my forte, you know, I'm kind of independent that way. I was wanting to go my own places and what not but that's what I found with the Different Strokes meetings. I was very disappointed with that. I don't go to them any more. Maybe because there was a lot of people there, you know there was one lady that I still keep in touch with. I take her to the gym twice a week with me and that's the only person that's really in the stroke group that I kind of tied to, you know what I mean. Talking to her now when I go back and forward about her stroke helps me too, you know, which she can do, she went through what I can do and what I went through and we bounce off each other and that's what I was wanting at the stroke meeting but I never got that. I only got very, very little at all. Only 4 people there that gave me information or experiences, you know, that's, that's what I went for. I wanted to meet people who had the same thing as me and see how they cope and I never got that from the Different Strokes meeting. So I'm afraid I don't go now. 

Previous Page
Next Page