I did a talk at the Science STROKE Art Conference at Manchester Town Hall last thursday.
I try to speak as honestly and personally as possible because real stories of real peoples lives are the most powerful so i spoke my dads stroke and how it affected him and his family because Stroke doesn’t just impact on the person who has the stroke but all those close to them.
I spoke about how i became a carer at the age of six of how we as a family cared for him, dressed him, washed him and picked him up when he fell and my dad liked a few guinness with his Diazepam so fell a lot.
There was no stroke association when my dad had his stroke, just horrible day centres where old men dribble and older woman maniacally and dementedly shouted the names of their long lost husbands “CHARLIE, CHARLIE ARE YOU THERE CHARLIE” so my dad lost himself and dealt with his depression with alcohol.
There were some great speak speaker at Science STROKE Art conference – i loved what Dr Chris Steel said about the treatment of stroke survivors when he was a young doctor and the way they’d be sent to a Geriatric ward and receive no treatment whatsoever, just drugs. Thank god that so much has changed and that survivors are living lives to the full after stroke and that is so evident with some of the poetry classes i do with stroke survivors.
I loved Pieter Egriegas talk about his experience of life after stroke and music was amazing as is his book. But my favourite talk was by Dame Nancy Rothwell. Professor Rothwell is President & Vice-Chancellor at The University of Manchester and she spoke so positively about the research currently taking place into treatment for stroke survivors that could fundamentally change and improve their lives after stroke. The key to reducing the the effects of stroke is speed of treatment so get to know the symptoms
- Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile or their mouth or eye may have drooped
- Arms – the person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift one or both arms and keep them there because of arm weakness or numbness
- Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake
- Time – it is time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms
Stroke is no longer something that old people suffer, my big strong dad was 40 and i’m meeting 20 year old stroke survivors on a weekly basis. I think it is amazing that so much good research is taking place and that organisations like the Stroke Association are representing the views, opinions and needs of stroke survivors.
may is action on stroke month and there’s loads of interesting things going on http://www.sciencestrokeart.co.uk
check em out