Read more stories from the Browning family.
1. Please share a little about how you felt when you first realise your loved one had had a stroke?
I guess I went through the usual feelings of shock, disbelief and of course panic. Never thought that a regular 19-year-old could experience a stroke, especially not my daughter.
2. What questions, worries or concerns did you have at that time?
I was immediately concerned about the short-term impact on our daughter’s health, would she survive? Would there be any potential short term or more permanent deficits or disabilities. My previous experience of stroke was limited to the devastating impact on older people.
3. What information and resources did you receive that helped you understand more about Stroke?
I read through materials provided to us like the My Stroke Journey, discharge letters and other information sourced by my wife who is a Nurse.
4. What challenges did your loved one face during their stroke recovery?
Of course she was impacted by the traumatic event itself (i.e. paramedic response, hospitalisation, tests, resulting surgery, recovery) but also faced broader challenges associated with her age (i.e. why me? What will it mean for me in the future? Will it impact my career goals? Why aren’t my friends being more supportive? Will this stop me partying/drinking? Will this impact future relationships?).
5. Did you reach out for support and talk to others about your loved one having a stroke and was it helpful?
My main support was my wife; we always work our way through things together and it was no different this time. Her health background and previous experience meant that I didn’t need to go far for advice and information.
6. What advice would you give someone else about helping and supporting their loved ones in their stroke recovery?
Focus on the person not the condition. Don’t forget it’s about them, not you.
7. Were you aware of the signs of stroke before your loved one had their stroke?
Yes, I was aware of FAST campaign.
8. How did the stroke affect other family members?
All immediate family probably responded as expected. Younger siblings were frightened, shocked, and very concerned for their big sister; relatives overseas shocked and feeling unable to offer support. Positive impact is that all family members now more aware of stroke.
9. What information resources and or support do you think could have helped at this time ?
Education session with a specialist nurse, education session with OT, access to peer support services (face-to face, online resources, or printed materials), video for stroke victim “I’ve had a stroke, what happens next?” and one made for family members (i.e. “My daughter’s had a stroke - what happens next?”).
10. What is the biggest win and positive outcome you have seen your loved one achieve since they had their stroke, that you would share with others who have had a stroke to give inspire them and give them hope for the future?
I am so proud that our daughter returned to university to complete her Nursing studies following her stroke. She is now looking forward to starting her new graduate position on a busy paediatric ward. She demonstrated that life can, and does, go on after stroke.
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