Man thanks stroke service for helping him achieve his stroke recovery goals
As part of Stroke Awareness Month, Christopher Watterson from Woodborough, Nottinghamshire, is sharing his experience of a stroke and how it left him thinking what the future would bring. With the support of the Trust’s Community Stroke team, and Christopher’s fantastic motivation, he is now on the road to recovery.
A stroke happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, killing brain cells. Damage to the brain can affect the way your body works, and it can also change how you think and feel. There are more than 100,000 strokes in the UK each year with around one in four strokes happening to people of working age.
Christopher, 61, was alone in his house when he experienced a stroke. His wife, son and daughter were out for the afternoon and he was unable to call for help.
Before the stroke, Christopher, was a legal executive in residential and commercial property. He was an active man who enjoyed cricket, rugby, walking and bike riding.
“I’d been for a bike ride in the morning just like any other day” explained Christopher. “I was upstairs at the time of the stroke. I dropped my phone and laid on the bed until my wife returned home. I was frightened to move and could not call for help. I felt numbness in my right arm and leg and weakness, slurred speech and a right facial droop.
Christopher was in hospital for just over two weeks and then referred to the Trust’s Community Stroke team where he had intensive therapy input from occupational therapy, physiotherapy and a rehab Support Worker which meant that he was seen daily.
Jasmine and Emma from the Trust’s stroke team said “We identified that Christopher had weakness of his right arm and leg, sensation changes throughout his right side, which resulted in his ability to mobilise and participate within activities of daily living. He also had support from the START Service (a short-term care team) to progress with his personal care needs.
“The goals that were set for Christopher were very much patient led and we also wanted to ensure these were realistic and achievable. These included to regain independence in his mobility and activities daily living, in order to support his dignity by not having to rely on others for personal tasks such as toileting and washing and dressing needs.”
Christopher added: “The reasons for my stroke include hypertension caused by stress at work which led to excessive alcohol consumption. I’ve had to learn how to walk again which restricts how I get around the house and stops me from going outdoors. The stroke initially affected my speech which has now resolved but because of my facial droop I dribble food without knowing it. It has also affected how tired I feel. I was left thinking what was the future going to bring. However, I was able to concentrate on getting better and to deal with things as they come.
“I am fortunate that I have the support of my family to help me recover with my wife taking on the role of being his carer and support from my children. I think my wife has been affected emotionally with not only being my carer, but working, looking after the house, children and finances.
Jasmine said: “Occupational therapists gave Christopher a sensory and active upper limb programme which enabled him to return to using his right upper limb to enable him to do personal care task and meal preparation. They are now working with Christopher to achieve his main goal of returning to work and driving.
“Physiotherapy has also helped him to progress from a rotunda transfer aid to now walking independently unaided both indoors and outdoors. He can now complete stairs without support and has returned to sleeping upstairs. He is now focusing on progressing his outdoor mobility and to re-integrate back into the community. This involves returning to his leisure interests such as playing sports.”
Christopher said about the Community Stroke team: “They have been very helpful and encouraging in my recovery. They have helped me achieve my goals in a speedy manner and I like that they keep me focused and guide me in the right direction which is imperative. Without their help I may not have got to where I am today.”
The intensive input and fantastic motivation from Christopher to progress in therapy has enabled him to significantly recover from his Stroke.
Emma and Jasmine said: “We believe that Stroke recovery and rehabilitation is about guiding and supporting the individual in achieving their goals and returning to activities of daily living. We also worked collaboratively with Christopher and his family and were able to build a great therapeutic relationship where they felt comfortable in sharing any worries or fears they were feeling, and we were able to provide value support to keep them motivated.”
Christopher’s short-term aim is to progress his walking further outdoors and be more independent to take away the pressure from his wife and family. By the end of the year, he would like to be able to complete a 3-mile walk
For more information on our Community Stroke Team visit: www.nottinghamshirehealthcare.nhs.uk/community-stroke-south-nottingham-county or for more information on stroke visit: www.stroke.org.uk