Londonderry woman Jean McBride doesn’t remember anything about the day her life changed forever.
It was the 25th of November 2012. She was at her daughter’s house and became ill. Several hours later, in Altnagelvin Hospital, she was told she’d had a stroke. The hospital became her home for the next three months.
Nearly two years on, her left leg is still heavy and stiff and while she can move her left arm she cannot use her hand.
Like all stroke survivors who need it, Jean received three months’ community care after leaving hospital. But she says she would have been left with little to do afterwards without the intervention of Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke.
“Ash Dennard, the charity’s Stroke Family Support Co–ordinator, came to see me in hospital and again at home,” says Jean. “We talked about the local Stroke Scheme and I started to attend it when I got home.”
The Stroke Scheme brings stroke survivors together and provides support, activities and therapy.
“It’s good to be with people who are in the same situation as yourself,” says Jean. “They understand how you feel, and you understand how they feel.”
Stroke, however, affects more than just the individual. Jean’s husband Barry now has to do everything around the house and the couple are no longer able to go on the holidays that they enjoyed so much.
Barry has bought equipment for Jean to do exercises in the house, in the hope that it will improve her mobility. Another discovery may also help. Ash was able to identify that Jean used to love swimming, so she investigated and found the Foyle Disability Association’s swimming sessions. Ash has arranged all the forms and once a doctor signs them off Jean will be able to get back to the swimming that she loved. It’s hoped this will help the movement in her arm.
In the meantime, the Stroke Scheme has become an important part of Jean’s life. The information provided by NI Chest Heart & Stroke was also vitally important.
Find out more about the stroke support that Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke offers.