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Staff - Stroke Support
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About HostSue

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    Blog Moderator
  • Birthday 06/04/1947

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  • Stroke Anniversary (first stroke)
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    New South Wales
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  1. The most meaningful part of Ray's life was when he was a Fisheries Inspector with an office of his own, the years 1973 - 1983. He told the stories from that period when he first stroked, it was a lot like the Boy's Own Adventure stories. In later years as he slowly lost his distance memories I told them back to him as best I could. Memories can be happy or sad and sometimes both. Enjoy your husband's memories while he still recalls them. Sue.
  2. Getting better, doing less.

    After six weeks of convalescence, seven weeks since the operation I am finally out and about again. As the surgeon said might happen I do have some swelling in my left leg if I stay on it too long but at least I can drive somewhere, walk around for a while and then rest, which means I can do my own shopping, meet a friend for coffee or go to church again. I really do empathise now with people who do not have that ability to get around. It is not a good life for someone who has been active, I guess I could live that way if I had to. I have greater empathy for all those I meet in nursing homes with restricted mobility too. Do you have “Piecrust friends”? I now know I do. I adopted this expression for those friends who ring me and say “We must do lunch.” or “ I'll come and get you one of these days and we'll go for a drive” or “How would you like to go out one day soon?” and then never follow up on it. That has happened to me quite a bit during my convalescence. I use the term piecrust from an old saying of my Dad's: “Promises are like piecrusts, made to be broken.” Maybe they didn't think of what they said as a promise just some happy thought? But for me isolated at home they seemed like a ray of hope and then turned into broken promises. I have just sent out 18 thank you cards, to the people who did contact me by phone or email, those who sent me cards and letters, brought flowers or meals and supported me in my time of need. I had a lot of texts on my mobile (cell) even when I was in hospital and it made a lot of difference to the way I felt about life. I don't have Facebook on my phone but found a lot of wishes for my recovery on Facebook when I got home. I do so appreciate the thoughtfulness of those who express care and support when I really feel alone, one of the downsides of being a widow. And even now I still have those fair weather friends who assume all is well and never bother to get in touch except for a Christmas card. I don't get a lot of letters now, letter writing seems to have gone out of fashion but I usually write some letters this time of the year updating our family news rather than send off a Christmas card with sad news. And there is always some bad news, we all suffer the loss of old friends, people no longer the couple as we used to know through ill health and other sad events. September/October here is the peak time for deaths and for births, I always enjoy seeing my friends post pictures of their latest grandchild or in some cases great grandchildren. My good news is that my grandson Christopher has just been elected school Captain for his final year of high school. We do five years of high school here and then it is work or University the following year. And I have just had a visit from my Adelaide grandchildren for a day so that is good too. I have been signed off by the community nurses now. They have been wonderful coming three times a week to dress the wound. My graft is solid and although it will take many more months to look or feel anything like flesh it is considered “healed”. So I can walk about and drive and all would be well except I am so darned tired. I would say that the four weeks I sat down with my leg up contributed to that as I surely lost muscle in that time. Now I have to do a lot of upper body exercise as I am still in some pain and cannot really exercise my legs that much. I am hopeful of being allowed to swim when summer comes. I did have some help with housework during my convalescence which has been handy but I feel now it is time for me to get back to whatever the new normal turns out to be. The weather has been changeable, most of last month was very cold at night but some days recently have been hot and humid already. It was wonderful that some of those were in the school's Spring break. My Adelaide grandchildren have been able to swim in the local pool, walking distance from the apartment their mother lives in now. The state of my garden is precarious as we haven't had much rain this Spring. There has been no sudden rush of Spring flowers unfortunately and although the orange tree blossomed it did not set fruit. The more common garden plants like geraniums seem to be flourishing but the ferns hate the dry and even the bromiliads are showing signs of stress with many trumpets browning off. I love my garden so hate to see this happening. It is a disaster for local farmers of course,while just a minor nuisance for me. So now I need to slowly get back into life, for a while it may be a little restricted and probably less exciting than before. I am 70 so have lived a good long life, with many happy memories I just need to maybe slow down a bit. Everybody says they are pleased to see me back attending the organisations I belong to. But I do hope no-one is too disappointed if I do less in the church now. I really need to pace myself more but have no intention of putting everything aside as I love to be out among my pleasant acquaintances and friends again. I will just be less of a social butterfly. Of course our lives get busier from now on as we do the run down towards Christmas and there is much to do. I just need to remind myself that it isn't me who has to do it all.
  3. Personality changes in our stroke-affected loved ones are hard to cope with. Maybe if he will not seek medical help or conseliing you could go and get help yourself? No advice really but wanted to show my support. (((Hugs)))
  4. I came to Australia from England with my parents and sister at the age of seven. I didn't need to become a citizen as I had permanent resident's status but when I decided to do so in 1988 it seemed like a great thing to do, to become an Australian like my husband and children. I was touched by the ceremony too. It is good to part of a country you love. Congratulations to your mother Asha, you are right to be proud of her.
  5. They are all very pretty, you must be very creative, I just love the use of old and new materials to make a thing of beauty. I always tried to reuse and recycle rather than throw things away. too many things are discarded in our world when they could be passed on to someone who like you could make something else out of them..
  6. Sounds like a reasonable start to the experience of blogging Alan. Thank you for joining the Blog Community, I hope you find blogging therapeutic. I think Ray's first stroke was very similar to yours, left side affected. Of course he went on to have others which fortunataly is not what everyone does. I hope with treatment this is your first and last.. Sue.
  7. Fantastic blog!!!! Hip hp hooray, another blogger to brighten our community. I want a huge happy dancing figure to post right here.Well this is close. Thank you for telling your story to another and hopefully as you say making him feel les alone in his struggles. You are a CHAMPION! Sue.
  8. OOOPS!

    I accidentally created this while trying to work out for Linnie what the name was, the title of the blog or of the post. This will be just left as a bad example...lol. Sue.
  9. Steve, even though I am a widow, no longer a caregiver, I still use Strokenet to catch up with the many friends I have made here, to give an answer to a post when I think it is appropriate and I have something to give to the discussion and to keep up with my blog. I too hope others will do the same but know from experience that people come and go here, very few stay on as I have done.. It is and always has been a great site for support to me and hope it will remain so in times ahead. Thank you Steve for starting this site and for maintaining it to benefit others. Sue.
  10. I've just been rereading a lot of older blogs and replying to current ones. The wisdom in the comments sections always amazes me. If you only read the forums for the answers you are looking for and haven't read the blogs so far do start reading them now as there is a lot of wisdom them, in the blogs themselves and in the comments.
  11. Asha it is hard for all mothers to let their children take over their own lives. I know for me I still worry about my kids even though they left home many years ago. I am sure your son is learning some valuable lessons that will indeed make him a better doctor. You in the meantime are learning to cope with being an "empty nester". Enjoy your time whatever you are doing, we never know what lies ahead.
  12. Sarah I guess we've all had those weeks but it is harder for you as your car is set up especially for Gary. I don't know why these things happen so always just try to live through them and hope there are better times ahead. Sorry that your new pup has seizures, not the news you wanted or needed right now.
  13. Driving next week

    Due to he surgery I had five weeks ago and the subsequent infection I have been unable to use the car for the past five weeks. I was told I could drive if I had an emergency but it was unwise to do so before the graft was in a stable state. So for the past five weeks it has been mostly spent sitting or laying with feet raised. Then on Friday the community nurse told me the graft was healing at last and here I am, almost able to resume the life I had prior to the surgery. I say almost as there will still be a lot of things I can't do, excess bending and stretching, swimming, staying on my feet for a long period of time, tackling large numbers of stairs among them. I hope to go to church tomorrow and to meetings next week. As long as I have the chance to stop and rest instead of constant activity I should be fine. I will go to the Lions BBQ on Monday week if I am fit enough by then as I am sure the other Lions will take my place when I need to stop for a while.. This has all been a learning curve for me. I do a lot of hospital visiting and I have over time visited a lot of ladies sitting with bandaged legs due to ulcers or skin grafts and not even thought about the patience that recovery requires. After all aren't they retired and have all the time in the world now? Well I will not be so thoughtless in future but see if I can provide puzzles, reading materials or something similar to help them pass the time, because time sure goes slowly when you have to have bed rest or sit in a chair most of the time. It is a temporary disability but often under resourced, the need for support overlooked. I have had a lot of people offer help but only a few have followed through and come for a visit, sent flowers or made regular phone calls. As usual it is the loving people from Ray's Stroke Recovery group, those people who have taken time out of their own busy schedules to keep in touch with me, who have had the most compassion. We as caregivers ourselves know what is required to care for others. I am so grateful to them. My daughter Shirley and her husband and children came down to visit me for a couple of days this week. It was good to have company and time to spend with the grandchildren. Chris will lead his school council this coming year, a real honour and one with responsibilities so I heard all about that from him. My grand daughter and I spent an afternoon competing in simple games on the Nintendo Wii and giggling hopelessly when we made mistakes, as a teen she is usually a bit less enthusiastic for my company so I was glad of her response. My daughter and son-in-law did some cooking and it was great to sit down to meals with them. I do so miss the family life we once had and feel sometimes as a widow that I have little to offer in that respect. It does make a difference when Mum and Dad turns into just Mum, a woman on her own. I don't know why it should, it just does. I have been lucky in that I have had some friends come for a visit or to pick me up to take me somewhere, without that I would have gone stir crazy. I am unaccustomed to being at home for any length of time and do not like the enforced leisure. It is quiet in the neighbourhood because despite the children being home from school on the Spring break families opposite and either side of me have been away for the week so it has been much quieter than usual. Having my grandchildren here made up for that. I sometimes complain that I don't see enough of them but have appreciated how in this time of my need Shirley has taken time out of her busy life to support me. I know she has so much to do to run a busy Salvation Army Corps but she has put that aside and has really been there for me. My boys have been in communication by phone so I have been well supported in that way. I do still miss them all living close by though, it is one of he downsides of living in a country where people are so mobile and can, for various reasons, move so far away. One of the good things to come out of this is that I have been recontacted by some former friends I hadn't heard of for some time. It is part of the problem of them thinking: "good old Sue, she can always cope with whatever is thrown at her", so I think the thought that I have had an encounter with cancer, which of course melanoma is, has taken them aback and hence the contact. Sadly I have missed a couple of funerals of church members but there was nothing I could do about that. Life is what happens when we are busy making other plans - to quote John Lennon. Whatever happens the cycle of birth and death will go on. With that said a girlfriend/cousin I usually stay with in England rang me today to ask when I am coming back to England so maybe I will put another trip to England back on my wish list. We always say that in this sort of situation we find out who our friends are but I don't think that is necessarily true in my case. At my age many of my older friends are no longer driving far from home so of course they can phone but not visit. It is some of the locals who have stepped up and made sure I am okay. I appreciate all they have done for me and hope not to return the favour but instead pay it forward as I am able to. We all need help from time to time so I am sure an opportunity will arise. I don't intend to go back to full time duties at the church or in the community until I am quite sure I have the stamina to tackle the tasks. I guess all of this whole process has been a bit of a shock to me but none of us are bullet proof, we have the stroke journey to convince us of that. I am hopeful given a few more months of recuperation to be able to say: "all's well that ends well."
  14. We haven't had a lot of activity in the Blog Community for some time but activity is picking up again so remember to look at the Blogs at least once a week to find out what is happening there. There are many good blogs to choose to follow. Heather (heatherber) is relearning how to use her knee instead of her ankle after really overcompensating when she learned to run again. Ron (RonA) is back updating us on news about his wife's new light-weight chair. Asha ( achandra) is still posting blogs about her life, her philosophy of going with the flow rather than battling against life appeals to me and her blogs are always worth reading. Pam (Sassybetsy) has been in hospital and so have I so we have that in common. Sarah ( now known as SarahR formerly srademacher) is also back posting. If you always used to have a blog do go and have a look at it and see if you have some news to update us with. A blog does not have to have a long story to tell but just a few lines to tell us what is happening in your life is sufficient for a start. If you read the blogs but have never actually had a blog yourself then maybe have an attempt and see how you go, we all have a story to tell and your story may benefit someone else. It is always good to catch up on our old friends this way and to make new ones too. Sue.
  15. Hi Ron, nice to have you posting again. A few new people who are regulars here won't know you but will appreciate what you can share with them. Great you have found some equipment that makes you and your wife able to be out and about again. Sue.