This is the story of my journey with Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke.
Imagine the following scenario….
You either go for a run or a walk every day and at the weekends you go hill walking.
You would normally work a 10 hour day starting at 7.30 each working day and you love travelling the world on holidays.
Then one day you have a stroke and this is all taken away from you. You come home from hospital in a wheelchair to sit and look at four walls.
You are able to get physiotherapy to get your weak side working again, but unfortunately this cannot go on indefinitely and you are left to your own devices. In the meantime you become depressed and upset to realise that you may never recover the full use of your limbs.
Then some light comes into your life when you get a visit from the NICHS Stroke Family Support Co–ordinator who encourages you to get out of the house and go to 2 meetings run by NICHS.
The first one you go to is a Taking Control Self Management Programme and it is here that you start to get your brain back into gear. You meet people with varying health problems and collectively you encourage each other to do more to manage your long term illness and set weekly targets which are then discussed with great gusto at the next meeting and friendships are made and you realise that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and this affects your whole well–being, your moods and you realise that if you apply and motivate yourself you can actually achieve a lot more.
The second meeting you go to is the Young Stroke Scheme where you meet fellow stroke survivors and you enjoy a cup of tea, the craic and the activities which the group leader has organised which stimulate your mind and the physical activities which encourage you to be more active.
The group meetings organised by NICHS stimulate the brain and stroke survivors gain encouragement to do more physically. It is only through meeting with others who are suffering with a long term condition that you realise how much more you can do. You are constantly challenged to do more and encourage others to do more and not be confined to sitting looking at four walls all day.
A big thank you to NICHS for turning on the light and providing a very positive and motivational approach to long term illness, dealing not only with the physical disability but the psychological problems associated therewith.
A big thank you also to the co–ordinators for the tremendous work that they do in organising meetings, activities, outings, dinners etc. because without their devotion, care and understanding of the needs of the long term ill, a lot of people would find themselves housebound.
Find out more about the stroke support that Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke offers.