“I’ve been epileptic for 35 years and wear a Medical Alert wristband to that effect. It tells people what to do and who to contact if I have a fit. One day, I was taking my granddaughters to the cinema to see a Wallace and Gromit film. I set off to meet them and got as far as the bus stop. My next memory was waking up in hospital, unable to walk or talk. As a long time epileptic, I’m used to coming round from fits and checking out my faculties. The fact I was totally unable to read any of the signs on the wall told me that this was different, and I had had a stroke.
I felt terribly panicked, and was pretty sure I would lose Paula, the new woman in my life. This sent me into the depths of depression. Amazingly, Paula arrived, and lay on the hospital bed with her arms around me. I felt much better for that. Paula also got me working on my recovery and introduced me to Living with Aphasia.
They have both been a significant part in my recovery, offering friendship and support. Since my stroke, I have occasionally suffered from terribly dark moods. Just knowing the support is there has been marvellous in helping me overcome them and resume a relatively normal life.
I’m now four years on from my stroke, and although I have to accept my disabilities, constantly working at overcoming them has been so much easier with support and encouragement from LWA in general, and Barbara Chalk in particular. I’m particularly pleased to be able to read again, albeit slowly. All the skills I have worked on have slowly improved with practice, and I’m currently making an Airfix model aeroplane kit, a task that would have been unthinkable a couple of years ago. My eye/brain/hand co-ordination is continuing to improve, and I’m pretty pleased how things have turned out.
A special Thank You is due to all my new friends at LWA, whose friendship and support have been priceless in achieving my goals.
Onward and upward!”