Daniel McGeown, a father of three (Katie (7), Danny (4) and Chloe (5 months) from Armagh, was just 37 was put into an induced coma after he suffered a stroke after a gym work-out in May, 2014. He and his wife Leanne (32) tell their story.
We were running a hot food shop and life was good for us and our two children before Daniel took ill. He was fit and healthy man and was exercising in our home gym. But when he came out to me in the living room, he literally couldn’t get a breath or talk.
He looked like as if his tongue had swollen in his mouth as he couldn’t say any words. He couldn’t hold down a drink of Coke so at that stage I knew that something was seriously wrong.
His sister who’s a cardiac nurse came over and she called the ambulance, although there were no other signs of anything wrong. Initially there was no real panic but once he was in the ambulance that’s when he began to lose control of his right side.
When he got to Casualty it became clear he was having a major bleed in his brain. So he was put under an induced coma at Craigavon hospital. Only for that, Daniel might not be here today.
He was in hospital for weeks before he was admitted to the Regional Acquired Brain Injury Unit (RABIU). I think that the intense therapy he received there every day for four days a week really helped him.
Daniel’s speech is still a bit of a problem for him and he has not got strength or movement back in his right arm. The tiredness and fatigue is still an issue for him and there’s good days and bad days.
We are just living day to day at the moment and while life is busy with the children, it’s not just as bad now that Daniel doesn’t have as many appointments.
The stroke not only changed Daniel’s life but mine as well. We had to sell on our business and financially things have been very difficult for us.
Our third child Chloe is our miracle baby and a symbol of our love together and hope that there can be life after stroke.
Daniel adds: “People were totally dumbfounded that I had a stroke at my age. I used to love playing football but now that’s all finished, more or less. I would like to work again but I have to worry about getting myself back as normal as I can.”
Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke has been able to support the McGeown family in a number of ways, and they, in turn, now support us. The local Stroke Family Support Co-ordinator was there for Leanne and the family when Daniel first had his stroke. Since then Daniel has been on the Taking Control Self Management Course and PREP programme, and now volunteers at Armagh PREP and the Armagh Stroke Scheme.
Find out more about the stroke support that Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke offers.