Saturday, October 22, 2011

Strokes


I'm away in NSW for four days with lufflump, my mum and of course sesame. The mister is at home working all weekend. We are down to visit my grandparents for my grandma's birthday. The whole family are going and lufflump has a playmate in my cousin, who is younger than him by six months. We plan on eating fresh seafood, walking on the beach, hopefully swimming and op-shopping. We are also hoping to have my grandma home for the day on her birthday. She had a major stroke in January this year and now lives at a nursing home not far from her and my poppy's home.

When we saw her for the first time after her stroke she was in the ICU, couldn't talk, smile or move. Her blood pressure was a whopping 200, but that was low compared to the almost 400 it was when she was admitted. She moved from ICU to a normal ward where she improved and was able to smile, mumble and move one side of her body. After a few weeks there she was transferred to rehab with high hopes. Unfortunately she didn't progress as quickly as once hoped so she sadly moved to the nursing home. There is still hope she will move back home to my poppy with daily help from visiting nurses.
Family in January
My poppy is fit. He's a surfer, has been all his life and will always be. My grandma on the other hand prefers to read books and do puzzles. In fact she had five out of seven risk factors for a stroke, including diabetes and high blood pressure. Regardless of that it was still a shock when it happened, no one expected it least of all my grandparents.

The shock brought with it depression for both my grandparents. For the first time in their lives they were prescribed anti-depressants. Neither could function with the separation and abrupt change of life. They have wonderful support, a great community of friends always there at the drop of a hat which has helped tremendously. Sometimes though that isn't enough. The medication has helped motivate both of my grandparents to make the steps towards bringing grandma home. 
At Grandma and Poppy's
I was looking on beyondblue for resources on anxiety and pregnancy for myself when I came across a DVD for people affected by stroke. It's a free resource which they send out to you so I'll be taking one down for my grandparents to have. I hope it helps them understand that what they are feeling, every positive and negative emotion, is normal in this situation but there are steps that can be taken to emotionally recover. If nothing else, I know the thought will be appreciated.
Playing at the nursing home
Health issues are hard to deal with and we all have to remember to look holistically at our and other's health. If we are physically unhealthy it's likely we will also be mentally unhealthy. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that and everyone can play a role in reducing the stigma, simply by being aware of that. Let loved ones know that if they are struggling there's strength in asking for help. If you see that they are struggling cook them a nice mean they can freeze, sit down with a cuppa and ask them how they are. Listen to them. Be there for them. You can be the difference.

8 comments:

  1. Great post Ames.

    It so important that it's ok to suffer from a mental illness. My problem with my PND is that I keep thinking it makes me weak, but it doesn't. It's just another form of illness.

    I'm so glad your grandparents have support from family.

    Have a great holiday :)

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  2. Its horrible to think that they have the burden of depression on top of your grandma's physical health problems. I hope your dvd helps!

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  3. I hope the dvd helps. So nice that they have support from family through such a rough time. I can only imagine how hard it must be on them both not only your grandma's stroke but the depression for both of them on top of that. x

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  4. You are worth your weight in gold Ames. x

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