I was on my way to pick up my son from work on the night of July 4, 2016 when I had my stroke. I have no memories of the next few months, but my family tells me I briefly woke up in Emergency at Lions Gate Hospital. I was moved to ICU and after a couple of days they operated on my brain for six hours. I was unconscious for several weeks, but eventually I was able to start moving my fingers and toes. My throat became infected and swollen, so they had to do a tracheal intubation.
I was eventually moved up to the Neurological ward in the Neurological Critical Care Unit and after a few more weeks they transferred me to a bed in the regular Neurological ward. After some time they started moving me out of bed with a lift and putting me in a tilt wheelchair for part of each day. They also used a machine to help me stand up and I took my first steps since my stroke while still on the ward. They determined that I wasn’t ready to go to the GF Strong Rehab Hospital and moved me to Evergreen House care facility next to the hospital on October 5 of the same year, which was four days before my birthday.
Friends from my workplace raised about $10,000 to hire a private physiotherapist to help with my recovery. She was really great and she helped me to begin transferring from my bed to my wheelchair without a lift and to do many stretching and strengthening exercises to help my affected side. She also helped me to learn to stand and walk again. At around this time, I started learning to walk in the pool in an adapted swimming class at the Karen Magnusson Pool. They would wheel me into the pool and then help me stand up and walk in the water. I also turned in my tilt wheelchair time and exchanged it for a self propelled chair. I got so good with this chair that the staff at Evergreen called me “The Flash”.
In January of 2017, I began going to Stroke Club every week. We made an effort between my private physio and those in Evergreen, to get me ready for GF Strong. I began to practice on stairs with a couple of in house physiotherapists. By the time a doctor came to evaluate me in the summer of 2017, he said I was doing too well and couldn’t go there. Instead he said I could go over to the hospital three times a week from Evergreen to attend the Intensive Rehab Out Patient program (IROP) for six weeks. I had a couple of seizures during that summer, but otherwise I continued to improve.
That fall, I turned in my wheelchair for a two and then a four wheeled walker and began taking my first trips home. At first they were day trips, but soon became overnight trips which lasted longer and longer. Early that winter I switched to a cane and by December 21, 2017 I was released from Evergreen to go home permanently. Freedom at last. Once home I began attending the Neurological Rehab Out Patient program at Lions Gate Hospital (NROP). This lasted for several months and as a result, I began to walk in the house without the use of any aids.
When I first got home, I could only walk to the end of my block and back. Soon I was extending this and now I can go on my own and I do several walks a day for a total of a few kilometers most days. By the summer of 2018, I stopped using the cane and started using my walking sticks. In the fall of 2018 I started attending mall walking and going to an adapted swim class at Delbrook Pool every week.
I will be starting a volunteer position at a daycare centre in August as well as attending a Watercolour painting class and a cribbage drop in group. I received a pedometer from the mall walking group last fall and on Friday June 14, 2019 my pedometer read 651 kilometers. I am thankful for all the help I’ve had along the way and for all the friends I’ve made during my journey. I’d also like to thank my family for helping me through this challenging struggle.
~ by Janet Moore