On 2nd February, the day after Amanda’s stroke, the neurosurgeon summarised her prognosis.
Looking back, he was gently introducing us to this whole new world using his wide experience to carefully make no promises, no assumptions, no guarantees.
Knowing where the bleed had caused the damage, he accurately predicted Amanda’s reading and writing difficulties and also prepared us for the possibility that her recovery might plateau around the 6 month mark.
That’s just a week away from now.
This week we got a comprehensive report from the speech therapist who has been visiting for the past 3 weeks. This gives Amanda’s current situation the proper medical terminology, backs up the neurosurgeon’s accurate predictions from 6 months ago, and also endorses my own observations. There were no surprises, and it gives us a clear pathway to work on fixing the gaps in her brain which still make her call circles squares and yes, bananas are still more often than not blue!
The 6 month plateau is an easy trap to fall into. It’s the point where a level of routine and normality have set in at home. Acceptance of the situation is a dangerous comfort zone to stop and take a breather in and I would guess many people do just that. But with this new report, and the physio and occupational therapists booked in for weekly visits for a few months yet, there are new challenges still to overcome.
We might be on the plateau, but it gives us a clearer view of the road still ahead
I’ve joined a couple of Facebook groups which support people recovering from strokes. They are American – based as are most of the members. I’m struck by how the US health system allows people to recover and rehabilitate up to the point where they, or their medical insurance can no longer afford it.
So many people seem abandoned to the care and skill of their unprepared or unwilling family.
After 15 years of living in New Zealand this has been our biggest test of the free health system it provides. Much like the UK, care, equipment, medicine and expertise is free, and with the exception of having to pay for the initial ambulance, no expense has been spared, both in Amanda’s intensive care, ongoing care back in Nelson, and rehab now she is at home.
Her second trip to see the neurosurgeon in Wellington in a few weeks time, like the first, is paid for, for both of us to fly over, with a taxi door-to-door at each end.
As people complain in the UK about the NHS, or in the US about their health system and even here in New Zealand with stories of cancelled operations and underfunded ICU’s, we have been extremely lucky with the quality and consistency of the service which initially saved Amanda’s life, got her back on her feet (literally) and continues to work to help her get back to where she wants to be.
Don’t listen to that 6 months plateau. I did and it didn’t happen but I kind of accepted this was it at 6 months and came complacent and probably hindered my recovery for a bit. I’m 9months post stroke and recovery for me is still progressing quite fast I feel. Keep moving and trying. Different strokes for different folks. Everyone is different. Positive attitude goes a long way.