Surviving a stroke is more than knowing what to do, if you think you are stroking out. Even if you recognize the signs of possibly having a stroke and get help immediately, you need to know how to survive the aftermath of a stroke. Whether you suffer a major or minor stroke, life as you know it will change.
Probably the first mistake most people make is the assumption that it will happen to someone else. In truth, if you have a family history of high blood pressure or strokes, you need to be proactive and follow a doctor’s advice to prevent a stroke from occurring. But, if the unthinkable does happen, you need to be prepared to deal with it and choose to regain as many of the abilities that you may have lost. For example,
· Physical Therapy
· Occupational Therapy
· Speech Therapy
· Assistive Devices
· Outreach Programs
Depending on the severity of the stroke, it can be a long road back to better health and functionality. It would be unrealistic to assume anyone would not have to go through the grieving process after such a catastrophic illness. But, if it happens to you, try not to take too long. Statistically, the progress a patient is able to make within the first year is generally the maximum gain of former abilities.
Physical therapy is vital. The treatment keeps unused muscles from atrophying and can help a stroke survivor to regain gross motor skills. Especially at first, it may be necessary to go every day. But, when frustration sets in, remember the goal. The more abilities a person regains, quality of life will improve going forward.
Occupational Therapy has nothing to do with getting a new job, unless your job is learning to live after a stroke. Basically, it is the processes of helping someone regain fine motor skills. For example, everyday activities, once taken for granted, are now difficult or impossible. Getting dressed, eating, writing, picking up objects are all activities that give an individual some independence and dignity back after a stroke.
Surviving a stroke often involves speech therapy. Like every other activity, talking requires muscles that may have been involved in the brain damage caused by the stroke. Learning to speak again is essentially retraining the brain in communication skills. It is hard work; but, it can be done.
Surviving a stroke may mean accepting disability and implementing assistive devices. For example, a person may learn to walk again, but still have difficulty balancing or picking up a foot. Crutches or a cane can help prevent a fall that can cause further injury. A shower chair or handrails in the bathroom can literally be a lifesaver.
If caregivers are required, other assistive aids are available to help them move or transport a stroke victim safely, without injury to them or their charges. If a person does not come back from a stroke to 100% of his/her former ability, aids can still improve quality of life.
After a stroke, it is a mistake to be let pride keep someone from asking for help. For example, if preparing meals is difficult, Meals-on-Wheels will deliver a well-balanced meal right to the door on a daily schedule. A lot of communities have a bus for the disabled. It can transport people who have trouble getting to doctor’s appointments, therapy sessions, and even the grocery store.
In short, surviving a stroke is hard work and adjustments will have to made, in order to live the best quality of life possible. But, it can be done. So, if the unthinkable happens to you and not the guy next door, grieve and then get busy learning to live again.