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Some stroke encounters


swilkinson

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On Saturday I went to the Combined Stroke Groups morning tea. I have stepped back from the Stroke Recovery group that Ray and I belonged to “WAGS” in the last six months but got a reminder email from one of my friends who belongs to that group and then a phone call to ask why I was neglecting to meet up with my good friends there. So I decided to go back to meet up with them again and was glad I did. Friends from all the different parts of our life are a gift and I should never stop being thankful for that group of people.

 

The guest speaker was a Professor of Neurology and he talked about the various methods of rehabilitation and how the type of rehabilitation a stroke survivor needs is reviewed in a stroke unit and ideally a program tailored to that individual. I don't need to tell you all that the theory is marvellous but the application of that method outside of teaching hospitals is less likely to happen. He spoke until the time was up so luckily no-one could tell him their ideas on that subject as I think some of the replies may have been harsh, particularly from those who had had a very different experience during their own recovery.

 

It was good to see so many friends I had made there, sad to think that some have passed on or are now in nursing homes and unable to attend. Time moves on, I have been a member of that group since 2006 so a lot has happened to them and to me in that time. It is sad to see some of the older caregivers struggling now with the caring role. I know how much the last few years of looking after Ray exhausted me so can empathise with them. Just being a part of that group is a boost to them, the men still go to Scallywags ( lunch and a chat) once a fortnight and the Carers monthly lunch group still gather.  Unfortunately I can't go to that as it is on the same Saturday as our Market day at church.

 

I have been trying to meet up with my 83 year old friend who looks after her son at least once a week and at least chat to her for a while. She is really slowing down now and showing her age and I feel for her as sooner or later her son will have to go into care and that will break her heart. But for a lot of people like my friend there isn't a lot of support from other family members so little relief from the caregiver role. Her other son looks after his wife who has cancer so he is not unwilling but unable to help as much as he would like to. Her daughter lives in another state and does come to see her two or three times a year but that is nowhere near enough.

 

I went out to Broken Hill to visit Trevor for ten days and came back home last Tuesday.  The first four days Alice was with us and then we had a few days at home.Trevor worked a few hours most of those days. I have had many trips now to Broken Hill so there is not much I haven't seen there. I always enjoy walking a few houses up and seeing the shingle-back lizards at the home of a lady who volunteers for WIRES, one of the organisations that helps injured wild life. Shingle-backs are slow so an easy target on the open road. She had over 30 adults and many young lizards in her back yard. She said she is not allowed to release them until mid-August as they sleep most of winter and then she has to make sure they are eating before releasing them.

 

This visit we did go to a few Art Galleries. There was a n exhibition of works by Outback Artists at the Regional Art Gallery and I really enjoyed that. I was surprised that the “receptionist” had a blue tee shirt and old paint speckled trousers on but he pointed out which exhibits he was sure we would want to see. He was right and I really enjoyed the diversity of paintings of the wonderful red soil and brilliant blue skies in so many different styles. Afterwards he told us he was actually the installer and the receptionist had gone home to prepare for the special opening that night. We were lucky to be there on that day I think.

 

Then we drove down to Adelaide, a seven hour drive from Broken Hill. I wanted to go and visit my older son and his partner and family there as his partner has had what was at first called a series of Tias and then a small stroke. She has recovered quite well with the exception of some slowness of thought, massive fatigue issues and a real loss of confidence. She walks like an old lady now (her words) although she is in her early 40s and I can see she is upset because after three months she knew she still didn't have the energy to go back to full time work and so lost her job. We did talk a little about my experience with Ray with strokes and I hope that helped. Not much more I can do for them being so far away except keep in touch.

 

It is still wintery here but I can tell by the longer days and the frantic activities of the birds that Spring is now not far away.  That is something to be happy about.

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I'm glad you have the opportunity to catch up with old friends I always say when I meet new stroke survivors at my asthma with my volunteer work is so nice to meet you by would have been nicer under other circumstances

Have a beautiful day

Jay

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