Stroke Survivor Gerry Shares His Journey of Recovery9th May 2023
71 year old Gerry Corr suffered a stroke in January 2023 while at home with his wife, he waited until the following morning before calling his GP, explaining that he was very fatigued and his speech was slurred and rather indistinct. He was advised to ring for an ambulance immediately.
Gerry was transported to the Ulster Hospital where he was admitted for tests and treatment. He explains, “I was feeling unwell so I went to bed. I didn’t think it would be serious. I was rushed to hospital the following morning where I underwent a CT scan which confirmed that I had indeed had a stroke. Thankfully it was not a major stroke but my left hand side and my balance were affected. I stayed in hospital for a week and I was prescribed blood thinners to reduce the risk of another stroke.
“The Trust’s Stroke Team visited me and assessed me in my own home, they designed a programme specific to my needs and visited me weekly to work with me. The Physiotherapists created exercises to improve my balance and strengthen my muscles, which had somewhat deteriorated due to the stroke. They used simple routines and household tasks like eating and washing dishes to aid my coordination and showed me how to use my kitchen worktops as an aid to stabilise me when I was exercising during my recovery.
“Speech and Language Therapists worked with me to improve and control my breathing to assist me to get back to talking clearly and walking around the house without struggling. They have been so helpful, professional and empathetic. They have really helped me to work through a very difficult time and look towards the future.
“As things improved I was offered the opportunity to attend the stroke classes at the gym in Bangor Hospital and these classes have been such a great support. The camaraderie has been wonderful, everyone is in the same boat, although we all have our own individual issues.
“There are 8 of us in the class and as we all understand what we have been through, that has helped us to deal with issues like fatigue and speech problems. My confidence has grown and my speech has improved with their support and kindness, so much so that my wife and I are planning a trip to a hotel for a short break very soon.”
Strokes strike every five minutes in the UK. It can happen to anyone, of any age, at any time. It’s vital to know how to spot the signs of a stroke in yourself or someone else.
Stroke is a medical emergency. The FAST test can help you recognise the most common signs.
- Facial weakness: can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
- Arm weakness: Can the person raise both arms?
- Speech problems: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
- Time to call 999: If you see any of these signs.