I look for stories whether in books, news articles, research reports or verbally. The stories of a stroke survivor being told “there’s nothing we can do”, in spite of those words they do improve to give us all some hope.
I just finished reading “The Man Who Lost His Language: A Case of Aphasia” written by his wife Sheila Hale a distinguished writer and journalist. Her husband Sir John Rigby Hale was best known as a history professor and author specializing in the Italian, British and European Renaissance. A writer of many books on the subject. He taught and lectured all over the world. He sat as a chairman or trustee for numerous art galleries and museums. Sir John was a WW2 veteran, he served in the Merchant Marine. During college he acted in Shakespeare’s plays.
On 30, July 1992 Sir John had a stroke. After some initial confusion with the local clinic the ambulance arrived 45 minutes later. At that time British health didn’t prioritize people over 65.
Sheila Hale writes of the lack of concern for her husband. His initial doctor said there wasn’t anything that could be done for him, he went on to say Sir John would never walk or speak again. It was 10 days before he was transferred to another facility for a CT Scan. Sir John couldn’t speak, he had a mobility issue on his right-side arm and leg.
One quote from the book has to get you thinking. “One young nurse told me that whereas stroke used to be “the dead end of nursing”, the opportunity to give quality care to people who might otherwise have died or been permanently disabled was so rewarding she decided to devote her career to caring for stroke Patients.”
Another thing to think about was when Sir John finally was assigned a bed in a ward a nurse said it was the stroke bed, in the far corner of the ward.
The story of Sir John’s stroke had some similarities to my dad’s stroke in that they removed my dad’s blockage and sent him home not much follow up or any kind of therapy.
The early 90’s wasn’t a very good time to have a stroke in Canada or Britain. As Sheila Hale wrote, “Doctors were of the mind that there wasn’t much they could do for stroke patients. Much of this was also the unknown and what they thought they knew that stroke damage was irreversible.” It was also pointed out that doctors preferred to specialize in fields where there was a reliable chance for success with better recoveries.
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