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local support group


swilkinson

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Ray and I went to our local support group WAGS today. It was a mostly business meeting as they have a lot of funding to spend. The lady survivors have formed a group and are going to have monthly lunches, this will be subsidised as the Friday Scallywags (male) group is. Scallywags starts again this coming Friday so (yippee!!) I will have some time away from Ray again.

 

The group also planned a couple of informal get-togethers, one will be a day tour, by coach, possibly late March, the other a theatre party to have lunch and then see a production of "Oklahoma" in the theatre in our biggest town. Ray agreed to go to both so I have my fingers crossed that he will be okay on the day for both events. They are also looking to take part in a couple of surveys to help gather statistics on strokes so I guess we will get a package through the mail to fill in within a week or so.

 

It was nice to catch up with some of the women from the womens weekend held in November again. Some of them rushed over to give me a hug, others hung back, probably because Sue alone is different from Sue with Ray. As we stayed on to lunch in a local restaurant we had some opportunity to interact with a few people also so got the Christmas/New Year news. It is nice to look around the room now and see twenty women I have had some deeper contact with, to remember some of the laughter and tears that accompanied that weekend.

 

The downside of the meeting was that the person who sat on the other side of me is a man with a real chip on his shoulder. We hear here of people who's stroke makes them angry, vicious tongued unpleasant people and this man is one of those. His wife left him, he was forced to go to his brother's for Christmas and she was there, she is a..... fill in some unpleasant words here. She has taken his money and is now selling HIS car. His voice was quite loud when he was telling me all this and I could see a few people were uncomfortable with it. That is the difference between here and real time. In real time you can't turn the volume down. I hope he felt better for telling me his story.

 

A dear friend of ours also goes to this group occassionally and she was there today. Her husband has just gone on kidney dialysis, too long a story to tell here. She was looking tired but was happy to say he was able to drive again now and so she has some of her freedom back. She is now acting as his caregiver, she hopes not for too long. It is hard when the one who still needs care has to ignore her own needs and battle fatigue etc to look after a spouse who has not been particularly supportive.

 

There is an upside to all of this, we have learned, Ray and I, to count our blessings. we are not always able to do this but it is a rule-of-thumb in our lives now. We are grateful that he has lived longer and more fully than was predicted after his two major strokes in 1999. We are glad that although we have had to give up a lot of activities and have taken up some that proved short term we have, on the whole, had a reasonably happy life. We are grateful for all the friends and acquaintances that have lifted our spirits and brightened our lives in some way or other.

 

One of the things the lady president (stroke survivor) said today really struck me. She said: "It is clinically proven that those survivors who join a support group do better mentally than those who don't." She went on to say that there is no proven statistical evidence for this but neurologists particularly, in questioning patients, are finding a lot of anecdotal evidence that says this is so. I thought that was very interesting.

 

Our Stroke survivors who have trained for mentoring patients in the hospital system have now done their first few interviews and enjoyed the experience very much. They feel that even though people might not be able to take in all they are told early on in the stroke healing process, having some information left with them helps them maybe at a later date to link in to some of the services they will need. This is a State Health Department sanctioned program so it is being seen as a trial for what may later become a state wide program. Our group was selected to train and trial the program because they are all under 65 and thought to have the capacity, being younger, to implement a program of this kind.

 

So there you have it. Some moments in our day, a day in our lives. Each day is worth what you trade it for a friend of mine used to say. On my bad days I hope it is not the truth. But today was a good day for Ray and for me.

 

 

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Sue, you are so lucky to have a support group for Ray, we have a support group for the Carer's but they meet on a Wednesday when we have the radio show, there is nothing for Stroke Survivors although I do see a man about town who has had the same kind of strike as Baz judging by the way he walks & is paralyzed down the same side, I always say hello to him but that is as far as I have got!! I think Baz would benefit from meeting people who have had strokes as we went to a meeting last year at Cooma 7 there was one man there but he could not talk although he could nod etc & make himself understood & Baz loved it.

I was reading your post about Christmas, Glad you had a good one!! Jean saids it was funny that you were talking about Christmas & summer, 50 kilometers down the road from us they had a white Chrismas, Yes in Australia, my daughter was devastated as we would have taken the kids to see the snow but we didn't know!!

We do get to count our blessings a lot don't we???I think we have a better appreciation of life than people who have had no stroke or tragedy in their life....Ray is lucky to have a wife like you....

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