The Unexpected Side of having a stroke: Being Heard

A lot of times when people think and talk about what it would be like to have a stroke, only the obvious aspects are included in the conversation. Things like weakness, and memory issues are discussed while topics about the emotional, or financial impact aren’t. In truth there are many different facets of having a stroke that should be talked about as many stroke survivors experience them. As a stroke survivor, it can oftentimes be difficult to be heard by medical staff and loved ones, which is the focus of this post.

This was a very unexpected aspect of having a stroke for me. I thought that people would answer my questions and listen to my concerns simply due to the fact that I was the patient and the one who had had the stroke. This expectation was quickly flattened as I ended up in the hospital and had people dismissing me at every turn. For me personally, my family and friends have been quite good at listening to my concerns, however I do know people who deal with skepticism from their loved ones. Similar to doctors, people in your life can find it hard to hear out your concerns. When it comes to family and friends, not wanting to listen can often come from a place of denial. It can be scary when someone you love is going through something as serious as a stroke. Avoidance and denial are both ways that people protect themselves from getting hurt. When someone is using this tactic when talking to you, it often comes across as not wanting to listen or understand what you’re going through which can be frustrating and incredibly hurtful.

When it comes to people not listening to your concerns, the most important thing to remember is that you know yourself and your body better than anyone else. Your body has cues and feelings when something is wrong or off that should be trusted. When doctors are unwilling to hear your concerns it is important to talk with them about this issue. Tell them that you feel unheard and that you are concerned about the way your treatment plan is going. There are certain times where doctors will continue to ignore you, and at that point it may be a good time to look into changing doctors if that is an available option. This is not always easy, however if you are not getting the proper treatment and this is slowing down your recovery, it is 100% worth it. If I didn’t go through three doctors, in order to find one who was willing to listen, I would have never gotten a brain scan and who knows where I would be. With family and friends it is important to get to the root cause of why you aren’t being heard. Whether it’s due to denial or because of stubbornness, It’s important to talk about and find a way to aid that communication. It can be extremely discouraging and even dangerous  when people don’t listen to your concerns. Always remember that you know yourself best and that you deserve to be heard, whether it be by doctors or loved ones.

Nicole Blatta

Nicole Blatta is a 19 year old Stroke Survivor. She was drawn to the Stroke Recovery Association of Manitoba through the young stroke survivor group. Nicole is a third year university student in Asper at the University of Manitoba, working towards a degree in business with a major in marketing and a minor in entrepreneurship/small business in hopes that one day she will run her own business.

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