My husband had a stroke…

With Sue Buckle
THERE IS A PIC COMING TO GO WITH THIS TOO SO LEAVE A SPACE

Janice who’s the wife of a client of mine at Just Better Care, tells us of her struggles to come to terms with living with her husband after a stroke left him unable to speak clearly, and with little function in his right arm and hand. His walking has also been affected, and he now walks slowly with a stick. Here’s her story…

“My husband had a stroke about nine months ago. After being in hospital he was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital and then came home after many months away. I was very apprehensive about his return – I’m not a nurse and have had no previous experience with anyone who has had a stroke.

I spent a lot of time at the rehabilitation hospital and went with him to his therapy sessions. It’s so hard not to do everything for him. I had to learn to be patient and allow him to try to do things for himself.  I learnt to help him to shower and get dressed, and that different styles of clothing are easier for him to put on himself.  My husband always wore trousers and shirts, so getting used to him wearing stretch track pants and t-shirts took some time!

Accepting help was very difficult but I find that having some respite care gives me a chance to recharge my batteries. My husband’s moods can be difficult to deal with – he has a lot of emotions that have cropped up after his stroke, so I have to be able to deal with these. Of course he’s grieving – it’s a necessary step towards accepting life after a stroke. I’ve always been so independent but one of the biggest things I’ve learnt is to say ‘yes’ when offered help. Sometimes a friend comes and spends time with him, while other times I pay for a care worker.  

My greatest advice to anyone else in my situation is to take care of yourself. Don’t feel selfish – it’s important to keep up friends and activities, and also my physical fitness. I joined my local Stroke Support Group and have met others in my situation. Over a cup of tea, we compare stories and often have a good laugh.

I’m often sad and frustrated that this has happened to us when we’ve worked so hard all our lives and have only just retired. We can’t enjoy all the same things that we did previously. However, life is always full of challenges. Our life is still filled with friends and family, and loads of laughter. Humour is the best defence when you’re carrying a heavy load!”

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Sue Buckle is a registered nurse and director of Just Better Care Hills District.

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