Barry’s Story

“The stroke began December 2nd, 2014. 

It was a hemorrhage and a slow hemorrhage. I was not admitted to hospitable until 7 days after the bleeding started, after I presented myself at Seven Oaks Hospital and Health Sciences Centre (HSC). I had to watch my functionality along my right side decline after December 2 until I was paralyzed. They had to admit me at HSC. That’s how the stroke occurred. 

I spent approx. 2 weeks in HSC with no therapy or any help at all, just laying in the bed, until I was told I would be transferred to Riverview. And at that time being the age I am the only thing we heard about Riverview was it was a one stop hospital and I figured I was going there to die. 

I arrived at Riverview midafternoon, nervous about being there and became even more nervous when the wheeled me to my room and they had my name on the outside of the door. The doctor came in and saw me and I said to her so basically how much time do I have left. She then explained to me that this is a special stroke recovery wing which I was very relieved at hearing. 

So the thing I remember the most is the following morning going down for my physical, occupational and speech services and the therapist was René and she was a tough girl and I remember her marking down 0 after 0 after 0 after 0 with regards to my right arm and I said to her I’ve never got a 0 in my life, at least put down a 1. And she said to me well, if you start with a 0 you have no place to go but up…….and that was the start of my rehab. 

Looking back on where I was then and where I am now I recognize how I connected with other people in my situation, it’s invaluable being able to speak with other stroke people because really unless you have experienced a stroke you can’t honestly know how that person feels.  

It’s very easy to emphasize with a stroke recovery person with “I know how you feel”, but you don’t know, you don’t have a clue. When my stroke happened I had a three year old granddaughter at the time who was more advanced than I was in motor skills and speech. 

Now, I try to make myself as available as possible to do what I can to help others who are going through what I went through. I understand the importance of talking with someone who has been there – so if you need an ear, I am more than willing to talk with you.

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